Pay attention if you’re planning on watching Saturday Night Live’s premiere this weekend. There have been plenty of cast changes in the off-season, so you might need a scorecard.
With Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen out and a whole slew of relative unknowns cluttering up the opening credits, executive producer Lorne Michaels has asked familiar face Tina Fey to guide his flock for Season 39’s debut. With any luck, the former SNL head writer and Weekend Update co-host will impart her wisdom, whip up a few funny sketches, sooth some frayed nerves and generally show everyone how it’s done.
But Fey can’t host the show every week, can she? So then what?
Here are five current SNL stars who need to step up in a big way to keep the haters at bay this season:
The Chicago-area comic heads into her sophomore season with a make or break assignment from Weekend Update. Strong, as widely reported, will start Season 39 as the new co-anchor alongside veteran Seth Meyers. The plan is to have Meyers stay on as her training wheels until she gains enough confidence to go it alone. Hopefully, this comes sooner rather than later, given Meyers starts his new gig as host of Late Night in February.
As talented as Meyers has been during his 12-year tenure, he needs to let the lady next to him at the news desk shine. He’ll be the bridge linking his Weekend Update with the Cecily Strong era – so he needs to be a gentleman, help her find her feet and then move aside.
With his versatile impressions - ranging from Michael Cera to Eminem – Killam can take the lead when it comes to laughs. Fans seem to respond to his off-beat sense of humour too. His writing room lip-sync of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” and the trippy “Legend of Mokiki and the Sloppy Swish” zombie dance videos both went viral.
Since joining the cast as a mid-season replacement in 2012, McKinnon has proven herself to be arguably the strongest female cast member. Her spot-on Ellen DeGeneres impersonation deserved all the attention it got, but it’s her talent for accents, her willingness to get ugly for roles and her general fearlessness in sketches that make her the show’s next big star. Give her some serious screen time.
Given all the attention a certain twerker and wrecking ball swinger has received over the past few weeks, Vanessa Bayer has a chance to go supersonic with her Miley impersonation this season. Strike when the iron’s hot, as they say – and by far the hottest time for her to break out Miley’s moves will be when the pop star herself hosts the show Oct. 5. Bayer's probably practicing her dirty dancing in the mirror right now.Follow @JamShowbiz