Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, And Kyle Mooney Are Leaving Saturday Night Live

Three long-time "Saturday Night Live" castmates will be exiting the show after this week's finale, according to Deadline. Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney are all set to depart the long-running live comedy series at the end of its 47th season, and they'll likely be joined by Pete Davidson.

McKinnon, whose broad repertoire of brilliant impressions and kooky characters has carried the show through its periodic lower points in recent years, has already been in the cast for a full decade. Hilarious team players Bryant and Mooney have also been around for nearly as long, joining in 2012 and 2013, respectively. And despite making one of the biggest splashes of the current roster thanks to his blunt, taboo-breaking Weekend Update appearances (and later, of course, his dating life), Davidson is actually the most recent cast edition to potentially hit the road, having joined in 2015.

Goodbye, funny people

While each repertory player's presence will no doubt be missed, this news doesn't come as a total surprise. Last year's finale seemed like a poignant goodbye for a few key cast members, but then nearly all of them returned in the fall. Each of these comedians has been working on projects outside the show, and most have even skipped episodes to work on other projects across the past two seasons. The looser, larger ensemble is a departure from previous "SNL" eras, when a typically smaller group of repertory players would be featured in every episode. No doubt the show has taken on a different, more flexible shape than it once did after having to adapt to pandemic conditions for two years.

Series creator and prolific comedy producer Lorne Michaels has his hand in many pots, including non-"SNL" collaborations with stars that often continue on beyond the series (he's executive producing Davidson's new Peacock series "Bupkis," for example). There's also a good chance we'll see some of these people again, as the show's 50th anniversary season -– which could be Michaels' last as showrunner -– will almost certainly pull out all the stops with cast reunions and surprise appearances to celebrate its historic run.

"Saturday Night Live" has one of its most robust casts to date, with 21 cast members on its roster. This means there's plenty of room for other comedians to step up and fill in the holes that will no doubt be left by McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney, and anyone else who may end up leaving after this weekend's Natasha Lyonne-hosted episode. Kenan Thompson currently holds the record for the cast member who's been on the show longest, having joined way back in 2003. Cecily Strong, Colin Jost, and Michael Che will complete the new "SNL" old guard should they stay on for season 48, as all of them joined the cast around the same time as the currently departing comedians.

The season finale of "Saturday Night Live" will air this Saturday, May 21, 2022, on NBC.