Leslie Jones, Mike O’Brien, LaKendra Tookes, and More Have Reportedly Left the ‘SNL’ Writing Staff

lesliejonesSaturday Night Live updated the “About” section of their website this week to include newly hired writers Alison Rich, Jeremy Beiler, Natasha Rothwell, Streeter Seidell, and Nick Rutherford, but even more important are some of the names that are no longer credited as full-time writers this year. According to the SNL website, season 39 writers Leslie Jones, Paula Pell, Marika Sawyer, LaKendra Tookes, and Mike O’Brien will not be officially returning to the writing staff. Sawyer has moved on from SNL to work with John Mulaney on his new Fox sitcom, Paula Pell (who has been an SNL writer since 1995) is currently busy working on her Tina Fey/Amy Poehler-starring film The Nest, and Leslie Jones has several onscreen roles in the works including one in Chris Rock’s critically acclaimed film Top Five, though it’s a shame not to see her name on the list considering her breakout Weekend Update performance last season. As for O’Brien, it was first reported that he would return as a writer, but The New York Times’ Bill Carter specified that he’ll be “mostly doing separate films this season,” which sounds more like a guest writer/pre-taped performer spot than full-time gig. SNL hasn’t officially announced this news yet, but considering the cast and crew are back at 30 Rock this week to work on the season premiere we’ll probably get confirmation in the coming weeks.

For more on Leslie Jones’s SNL work, check out our breakdown of her unforgettable Weekend Update performance and resulting backlash here, then click through to see the current SNL writing staff lineup per the SNL website.

UPDATE: Leslie Jones said on Twitter today that the news of her leaving the SNL writing staff is “not true,” though the website has still not been updated to include her name.

Head Writers: Colin Jost, Rob Klein and Bryan Tucker

Writers: James Anderson, Jeremy Beiler, Michael Che, Mikey Day, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Lorne Michaels, Claire Mulaney, Josh Patten, Alison Rich, Katie Rich, Tim Robinson, Natasha Rothwell, Nick Rutherford, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, John Solomon, Kent Sublette, Bryan Tucker (via)

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