Taran Killam Explains 'Saturday Night Live' Exit, Jay Pharoah Also Quits the Show

Both Killam and Pharoah, who had been on the NBC sketch series for six seasons, are leaving ahead of the show's season 42.

AceShowbiz - "Saturday Night Live" is losing two regular players when it returns for season 42 this fall. %cTaran Killam% and %cJay Pharoah%, who both had been on the show for six seasons, are leaving the long-running sketch series. A spokesperson for NBC has confirmed their departures which were first reported by TVLine.

Killam is perhaps best known for his impersonations of %cMatthew McConaughey%, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz among others. As for Pharoah, he famously played President Barack Obama, %cJay-Z%, %cWill Smith%, %cEddie Murphy%, %cDenzel Washington% and former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson.

It's said that the two comedians are exiting the show to pursue other opportunities. In an interview with Uproxx, Killam explains what really happened. While his 7-year contract wouldn't end until next year, he learned that NBC wouldn't pick up the final year of his contract.

"I don't know fully. I don't know the other side of it," he says, "You sign for seven years, so I had one more year. I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren't going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really."

Killam is set to direct a movie, "Why We're Killing Gunther", starring %cArnold Schwarzenegger% and that would clash with the "SNL" production schedule. "I'll have two months of post-production that would have bled into the 'SNL' production schedule, so we kind of communicated that," the 34-year-old further shares. "I honestly don't know what happened on the other side, but I do know we had expressed I have work on this film and in bonding this picture, that has to get cleared with 'SNL'. And then [another offer] came up. I wasn't going to have to take any time off to do it, but it was a thing that they would have had to okay."

Instead of being upset, Killam says he has "no gripes at all." He adds, "I am so, so, so lucky to have been given the time I've been given." He admits, "I enjoyed being on the show. ... I don't know that the end of something that you've committed that much time and energy to is ever going to feel 'great.' And I think that just bodes well in both directions. Not feeling great leaving means that you were where you were supposed to be. And not feeling great leaving also means you didn't overstay your welcome. You know what I mean? Like, 'Oh, thank God I'm done with that,' and there was time wasted, you know? It doesn't feel like that."

Minus two regular players, "SNL" is expected to announce several new cast members before the new season debuts next month.

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