At the end of season 47 in May, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson signed off of the sketch series for the last time. Their departures were followed by Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari in the summer and, finally, Chris Redd in September.
A few weeks before season 48 premiered in October, SNL shored up its ensemble with four new castmembers, who would join the show as featured players for the 2022-23 season: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.
According to standout Bowen Yang, having the new castmembers around has been “so seamless.”
“They’re just such a burst of fresh energy and also something familiar in terms of how quickly they’ve become part of it,” Yang told The Hollywood Reporter. “I look around, and I see Marcello, I see Michael, I see Devon, I see Molly, and I’m like, ‘Oh, these are my new friends.’ I feel they’ve been here forever.” He added that they’ve each also had great moments in the first few shows of the season.
Kenan Thompson echoed that sentiment, explaining that by the second half of the season, the four of them will already have a great deal of experience. “It’s a lot, and I’m glad that they have each other to kind of come into the storm with,” he told THR. “They’ve been navigating pretty good together.”
Mikey Day, who’s been on SNL since 2013, thinks the new castmembers are “really cool” but admitted it has been an adjustment, sharing that it’s different but also exciting.
“I definitely miss my friends and seeing them every week, but all our new castmembers are really cool,” Day told THR. “[It] feels like you bond very quickly on that show. In the summer, you’re like, ‘We’re gonna have new kids. Will it be the same?’ But then, a few days in, you’re like, ‘Oh OK, it’s this show again.’ So you know, it’s fun. Every season, you just keep going. You just get in the grind of it, and everything kind of starts to feel like the show.”
As for the new members, joining SNL has been an emotional experience in which they’ve already learned a lot. Walker noted that probably once a week he gets “misty” thinking about the fact that he made it onto the show. He’s also been given a helpful piece of advice, which is that there’s always another episode, so it’s not worth taking anything to heart.
“The words I’ve been living by are to be patient and to work,” Hernandez told THR. “And I love Kenan and Colin [Jost] for being there and being the veterans that talk to you and give you good advice. So yeah, I’m grateful.”