'SNL' Replacements So Crazy They Might Just Work

Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Jason Sudeikis are on their way out at Saturday Night Live. Given the crowdedness but odd insularity of the comedy scenes in New York, Chicago, and L.A., finding new cast members is not the easiest task. But these are some people who could fit right in for standing out.

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Now that Fred Armisen and Bill Hader have left Saturday Night Live, with Seth Meyers and likely Jason Sudeikis soon following, the show is facing an uncertain future. Yesterday we looked at what Armisen and Hader are taking with them, so now let's look forward to think about how they can be replaced. Given the crowdedness but odd insularity of the comedy scenes here in New York and in Chicago and Los Angeles — and given that SNL often plucks people from relative obscurity — this is not the easiest task. Still, there are some people we're aware of who could fit right in for standing out. To be sure, they are odd choices, but that might be a good thing.

Cole Escola: Though he's not been terribly active of late, Escola, who had a lo-fi, homemade sketch show on Logo (where Kate McKinnon was on a show too), is weird enough to help make up for Armisen's absence. He'd also provide the show with an interesting dash of queerness — he does a lot of gay-themed comedy, and lot of his characters are middle-aged women — to the cast, which has had very few openly gay cast members in its history. (McKinnon was the first out woman.) I could see Escola doing good desk bits, which is where Armisen and Hader most frequently shined.

Charlyne Yi: Let's just make all these suggestions weird, huh? Yi is usually seen doing a particular brand of non-acting, seeming stoned or zonked or whatever, but I think she's got more range than that. An acolyte of the Judd Apatow crew, Yi might not seem like the best fit for a show that demands lots of characters and impressions and all that, but maybe it's so crazy it could work? I don't know, I just want to see her do her thing on a bigger stage. Maybe she could do Weekend Update?

Chris Kendall: A British YouTube sensation, Kendall made a name for himself filming funny, strange sketches all by his lonesome in his bedroom. He's gotten big enough to appear on several British television shows, but I'm pretty confident he could still be poached. He does accents and impressions and has a general air of Haderiness about him. Plus, how often does SNL have British cast members? It'd be something new!

Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin: The duo behind the riotously funny Ronna & Beverly podcast, Denbo and Chaffin, who had a TV show in the UK, are likely too established at this point, but it would probably be worth at least making the offer, right? If Ronna and Beverly are any indication, Denbo and Chaffin are brilliant at character work, and I'd be curious to see how their improv-y style would gel with the sketch format. It certainly worked well for Amy Poehler and many, many others! If they can't be on the show, maybe they could at least host sometime?

Keegan-Michael Key: This is probably the longest shot, but Key was so consistently funny on Reno 911 back in the day and does so well on his own Comedy Central show, Key & Peele, that it seems odd his name hasn't come up much in the past. But, uh, yeah, he does have his own show, which is often pretty great, so he might not be too eager to leave that behind. But this is SNL! They could get him, right?

Maria Bamford: Again we may have a problem of Bamford, a favorite of Adult Swim-types like Tim & Eric, being a bit too established to join the SNL repertory, but if she did agree to it I think she'd be a good addition. She has an odd, idiosyncratic standup style full of strange voices and does sketch work with a similar offbeat style. With an air of the Kristen Wiig about her, Bamford could be a nice, off-center complement to McKinnon and Cecily Strong.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.