Another clutch performer on NBC's late night comedy gem "Saturday Night Live" is calling it curtains.
One of the show's best impressionists and most versatile cast members, Bill Hader announced that this week's season finale will be his final episode on the series. After eight years, the actor told the New York Times that it was time to move on.
"It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point," Hader said. "It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it’s just time to go.'"
The actor has taken advantage of plenty of outside opportunities while a cast member on the show, with roles in "Superbad," "Tropic Thunder," "Knocked Up," and most recently "The To Do List", written and directed by his wife Maggie Carey. Producer Lorne Michaels praised Hader's commitment to the series and the comedy art form in general. "In terms of intelligence and talent, he was in that same tradition [as veteran players such as Dan Aykroyd]," Michaels said. "He was so completely committed to the art of it and enough a student of it that there’s something strikingly original. He didn’t explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing."
While news of his departure was rumored since February, it comes at a time when the series is losing head writer and 'Weekend Update' anchor Seth Meyers while Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis remain on the fence leaning toward the exit.
Hader has been one of the more dependable cast members on the series, particularly since Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg left at the end of last season. However, Hader feels that the show is in good hands with newer cast members such as Taran Killam and Kate McKinnon, saying, "I found myself looking up and watching the new people do their sketches. I like watching Kate McKinnon do something — there’s a joy in seeing a new move from somebody and going, 'Oh, she can do that.'"
If Sudeikis and Armisen leave the series as well, "SNL" could be headed to the doldrums of the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Do you think the series can bounce back from this rash of departures?