Saturday Night Live

‘SNL' Announces 3 New Cast Members as Beck Bennett Leaves After 8 Seasons

Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman have been added as featured players for the new season of SNL

(l-r) Beck Bennett as Mike Pence and Kenan Thompson as Ben Carson
Will Heath/NBC

"Saturday Night Live" announced its cast lineup ahead of Saturday's premiere of the show's 47th season, with long-time member Beck Bennett departing and three new featured performers added to the slate.

Bennett, who joined the show in 2013 and is most known for his portrayals of former Vice President Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced his departure on Instagram Monday.

“Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life,” Bennett wrote.

Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman have been added as featured players for the new season of SNL.

Athari, an actor and director, is most recognizable from his roles on “Silicon Valley” and Hasan Minaj’s sketch group comedy "Goatface." Johnson, a regular on the Los Angeles stand-up comedy scene, went viral last summer for his impressions of former President Donald Trump. Sherman is a writer and actress who hosted a variety show in Chicago called "Helltrap Nightmare" under the stage name "Sarah Squirm." She also appeared in an Adult Swim infomercial and more recently wrote and directed a comedy short on the COVID-19 vaccine called "Sarah Vaccine."

Some cast members whose returns were considered questionable, including Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and Pete Davidson, are all coming back.

Thompson, the longest-running “Saturday Night Live” cast member with 18 seasons, told Entertainment Weekly this summer that he sees no reason to leave.

“I keep saying I’m trying to get to 20," Thompson told the magazine. “So if they don’t throw me out of there before, I’m trying to get to 20. And then, I don’t know if it makes sense for me to leave even after that point."

However, one featured performer from last year, Lauren Holt, will not be returning for the new season.

SNL premieres Oct. 2 on NBC with actor Owen Wilson as host and country singer Kasey Musgraves as musical guest.

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