Adam Driver - Saturday Night Live Season 44 Premiere

Saturday Night Live has two levels of cast members. Either you’re a full-fledged repertory player, or you’re a featured member of the cast, which basically means your involvement in the show is renewed on a season-by-season basis. Every season, there’s a chance that a featured player gets fired (like Luke Null recently did), or gets promoted to the regular cast. And three featured players just got that coveted promotion.

But more importantly, we just found out that Adam Driver will be hosting the 44th season premiere of SNL, and if you saw the show when he hosted for the first time, you know that this is going to be an episode you won’t want to miss.

NBC announced today that Adam Driver will be hosting the season premiere at the end of the month on September 29, and he’ll be joined by musical guest Kanye West. Last time Driver hosted we got this incredible sketch:

Hopefully we’ll get some kind of new Star Wars sketch inspired by The Last Jedi, or maybe even a sketch tied to BlacKkKlansman, especially since that movie is so unfortunately relevant and timely considering the current political climate.

Saturday Night Live Cast Promotions

Meanwhile, Vulture has confirmed that Mikey Day, Alex Moffat and Melissa Villaseñor will now be part of the regular Saturday Night Live cast after being added as featured players for the 42nd season in 2016. All three joined the show at the same time, and it’s great to see them all graduate to becoming full-fledged cast members, because each of them brings something special to the series.

Mikey Day, seen here playing basketball terribly alongside host Jimmy Fallon, is easily the most successful of these three featured players. Leading up to this promotion, Day has appeared in tons of sketches, mostly because he brings charisma and subtle comedy to every character he plays, especially when it’s just an everyman character. But he’s also skilled at physical comedy and can go over the top when required. It also helps that he was a writer on SNL for a few years before he became a featured player, and he undoubtedly deserves this promotion.

Meanwhile, Alex Moffat has spent plenty of time with Mikey Day in various two-hander appearances on Weekend Update, but easily the best is when they’re paired up with Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Moffat plays the latter Trump hellspawn, a hilarious, dimwitted and (somewhat) exaggerated version of the greasy-haired chud.

Of course, Moffat has done rather well without Day by his side by creating characters like The Guy Who Just Bought a Boat, and he’s proven to be pretty decent with impressions. Much like Day, he’s also got a penchant for bringing some extra flavor to the everyman roles on the show as well. Another deserved promotion.

Finally, Melissa Villaseñor hasn’t had quite the same amount of exposure as both Mikey Day and Alex Moffat, but her greatest skill on SNL is her fantastic range of impressions, a valuable asset on a show that constantly parodies real life celebrities and personalities from politics. She tackles everything from Sarah Silverman to Jennifer Lopez to Zooey Deschanel. She also has a killer Owen Wilson and does a fine job with singers like Gwen Stefani and Ariana Grande.

But when Villaseñor isn’t doing impressions, she also has a unique, perpetually quirky presence, mostly due to her unique default voice that sounds like it should be a character. But that’s just her real voice. Above you can see how this trait works to her advantage in making an already funny premise that much more hilarious.

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As for the rest of the featured played roster, Chris Redd and Heidi Gardner are still back this season, but they haven’t yet been given the bump to the regular cast. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if after this season they ended up getting the promotion. Heidi Gardner has especially proven to be a valuable asset with both impressions and original characters, and Chris Redd feels like a worthy successor to Kenan Thompson should he ever choose to leave the show.

Saturday Night Live returns for the 44th season on September 29.

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