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Read Some New Excerpts from the Updated 'Live from New York' Book

The new and extended version of Tom Shales and James Miller's SNL oral history book Live from New York isn't out until September 9th, but in the meantime THR has released a few exclusive excerpts from the book all about the show's more recent political satire, from how Tina Fey's Sarah Palin was born to why Robert Smigel's last TV Funhouse segment was rejected to Fred Armisen and Jay Pharoah's Obama impersonations. Here's Horatio Sanz on the opposing political sensibilities of former head writers Jim Downey and Seth Meyers:

I don't think the show itself has ever let its freak flag fly in the last 20 [...]

Saturday Night's Children: Tom Davis (1977-1980)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 38 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

Whether it's John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Mitch Hedberg, or this week's tragic loss of Robin Williams, the world of comedy has a long history of assigning instant legend status to beloved comedians who die too soon. Maybe it was because he was more of a writer than SNL cast member — or that he was the lesser-known half of recurring SNL duo Franken [...]

Saturday Night's Children: Morwenna Banks (1995)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 38 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

While there are plenty of SNL cast members whose stints didn't last many episodes — see Laurie Metcalf, Dan Vitale, and Ben Stiller — British sketch and voice actress Morwenna Banks holds the record of the shortest repertory player tenure with a mere four episodes under her belt at the end of the show's twentieth season in 1995. Four episodes [...]

Saturday Night's Children: Tom Schiller (1979-1980)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 38 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

While it's true that The Lonely Island helped kick-start a new era for pretaped SNL segments, the Digital Short is far from a new concept for the show. Following the short films of Albert Brooks and Gary Weis, SNL writer Tom Schiller sometimes injected the show with artsy, often black-and-white "miniature movies." Schiller was also one of the writers to be promoted [...]

Colin Jost Addresses Weekend Update Criticism, Insists He'll Be Funnier Next Season

The New York Post ran a brief interview with SNL head writer and not-so-well-received Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost over the weekend, and aside all but confirming that he's set to return to the Update desk next season, he addressed some of the criticism that's come his way since he joined the cast back in March.

On juggling the Update gig with his job as head writer:

Even when you have two or three [new people], it's challenging. You want to learn their voices so you can write for [them]. When you have so many people … you don't get as much time to spend with the [...]

Amy Poehler: "My Whole Life Changed Once Don Pardo Said My Name"

"My whole life changed once Don Pardo said my name. I will really miss that kind and talented man."

- In a short but sweet statement for The Wrap, Amy Poehler remembers SNL's legendary announcer Don Pardo.

John Milhiser on Getting Fired from 'SNL': "It's the Way of the Game"

Scott Rogowsky's live weekly talk show at UCB Running Late taped its season 5 finale a few weeks back with guests Sasheer Zamata and John Milhiser, which also happened to be the day after Milhiser found out he wouldn't be returning to SNL in the fall. While he does say it was the year he felt "the least funny," Milhiser is a very good sport about the whole thing and says being on the show was a dream come true, even though "nobody wants to cast me as a small boyfriend or husband." Click through for another clip from Milhiser's interview as well as a clip of Zamata looking [...]

'SNL' Firing New Cast Members Displays a Show Still Deeply In Transition

Word has come down this week that SNL cast members Noël Wells, John Milhiser, and Brooks Wheelan have been let go from the show after one season, with Nasim Pedrad also leaving to work as a regular on Mulaney (a move that has long been anticipated) and Mike O'Brien's status currently in talks. Their departures don't come as too huge a shock — as we recapped at the end of last season, the three saw little screen time and had few memorable moments during the season. And while it must come as a disappointment to those actors and their fans, let's not forget that at least a third of everyone [...]

Brooks Wheelan Announces He's Been Fired from 'SNL'

The SNL changes promised by Lorne Michaels last month are beginning to trickle in with last night's news that featured player Brooks Wheelan has been fired from the show. Wheelan tweeted the news himself: "Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke… FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!"

Wheelan joined SNL as a writer last August and was hired as a featured player in September. While he delivered a few impersonations and made a couple memorable appearances on Weekend Update, the Los Angeles-based standup never found his footing in the sketch format [...]

Taran Killam Looks Back on His Time as One of the Brasky Buddies on 'SNL'

SNL's Taran Killam recently shared his most memorable moment from season 39, which was getting to play one of the legendary Bill Brasky buddies alongside Will Ferrell, David Koechner, and Paul Rudd back in December. He also does a pretty spot-on impression of the beloved Reading Rainbow sound effect.

Brooks Wheelan Talks About His Hiring and Firing from 'SNL'

"I feel like I was hired because they hired so many new cast members, and I feel like I was let go because they hired too many new cast members. So I can't really fault them. That's part of the reason I was there and that's part of the reason I was let go. … They do their own stuff and they clearly know what works."

- Standup Brooks Wheelan discusses his recent firing from SNL in a new interview with The Wrap, in which he says he's looking forward to living a more "Forrest Gump life."

Paula Pell Looks Back on Writing 'SNL' Sketches with Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri

Here's a new web extra from Late Night in which longtime SNL writer Paula Pell recalls a memory from writing one of her many Spartan cheerleaders sketches with Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, and a very obscene drawing Pell made for educational purposes.

Noël Wells and John Milhiser Also Leaving 'SNL'

Yesterday, new SNL featured player Brooks Wheelan announced he'd been fired, but that's not the only change to the long-running sketch show's cast this season. Deadline reports that fellow new featured players Noël Wells and John Milhiser will not be returning in the fall as SNL bosses have opted not to renew their contracts. Deadline adds that discussions are underway about Mike O'Brien's future on the show. O'Brien, who was an SNL writer for four seasons before being bumped up to featured player status this past season, could either wind up remaining in the cast or be bumped back to the writing staff.

The Deadline report also confirms that Nasim Pedrad, who is a [...]

The Eight Longest 'SNL' Cast Member Tenures

When Seth Meyers left SNL to host Late Night earlier this year, he was just shy of beating out Darrell Hammond's record as having the longest SNL player stint of all time with a whopping 14 seasons under his belt. Whether you view a lengthy SNL tenure as a badge of honor or sign of a performer overstaying their welcome, a glance at some of the longest-running SNL players — which mostly occupy the '90s era through current cast member Kenan Thompson — shows a group of talented impressionists, dependable utility players, and Weekend Update favorites of both the wild and low-key variety. Here's a look at the [...]