A boundary-pushing comedian from Chicago is about to bring the weird to “Saturday Night Live.”
Sarah Sherman, who hosted the bizarre “Helltrap Nightmare” variety shows at the Hideout as her alter ego Sarah Squirm, is one of three new featured players joining the show, NBC announced Monday.
“SNL just made a HUGE mistake!!,” Sherman tweeted this morning.
Aristotle Athari and James Austin Johnson are the other newcomers.
Despite indications that the show might be losing cast veterans Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and/or Pete Davidson, NBC said all will be returning for the 47th season, starting this Saturday.
But Beck Bennett, the New Trier grad best known for his Mike Pence and Vladimir Putin impersonations, is saying goodbye after eight seasons, and Lauren Holt is out after just one season.
“Love you, SNL,” Bennett posted on Instagram. “Gonna miss you so much. Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life. I had so much fun.” He did not elaborate on why he’s leaving.
Sherman, a Northwestern grad who grew up on Long Island, had been both a fixture of the Chicago comedy since 2015 and an outlier, with her grotesque comedy of absurdity and (fake) bodily fluids. “I’m very gross,” she once told Rebellious magazine. She relocated to Los Angeles in 2019.
In recent years, “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels has been allowing cast members to take time off during the season for other projects instead of demanding a full-time commitment. That will continue. McKinnon is to produce and star in the upcoming Peacock series “Joe Exotic,” and Thompson’s NBC sitcom, “Kenan,” will return for a second season.
Thompson is the longest-running “Saturday Night Live” cast member with 18 seasons, and he told Entertainment Weekly this summer that he sees no reason to leave.
“I keep saying I’m trying to get to 20,” Thompson told the magazine. “So if they don’t throw me out of there before, I’m trying to get to 20. And then, I don’t know if it makes sense for me to leave even after that point.”
Bryant helped develop and performed in the Hulu series “Shrill,” while Strong was in the Apple+ series “Schmigadoon.”
Owen Wilson is the host of Saturday’s season-opener, with Kacey Musgraves as musical guest.