Ahead of Saturday Night Live’s 45th season, kicking off later this month, the sketch-comedy institution has added three new featured players to its ranks, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis.
Yang joined SNL’s writing staff last season and co-hosts comedy/pop culture podcast Las Culturistas alongside Matt Rogers. Now the show’s first featured player of East Asian descent, Yang appeared in an episode last season, playing Kim Jong-un opposite Beck Bennett’s Vladimir Putin. Fineman, a Los Angeles Groundlings veteran, was named a New Face at 2018’s Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, and has appeared in comedy shows including Search Party, Jane the Virgin and Grown-ish. New York-based comic Gillis was recognized as a New Face at last year’s Just for Laughs.
Today’s additions to the SNL cast follow the departure of Leslie Jones, who announced in late August that she was leaving the show to focus on film projects and her forthcoming Netflix stand-up special. Kate McKinnon will return, thankfully, as will longest-tenured cast member Kenan Thompson, who recently told The Washington Post that staying on SNL is “the forever plan.”
SNL’s Season 45 premiere, featuring host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish, airs on Sept. 28.