Lauren Holt, who was a featured player last season, also isn’t returning.
The remainder of last season’s cast — regulars Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor and Bowen Yang and featured players Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson — are all set to return. Fineman and Yang have been upped to repertory players.
SNL has also added three new featured performers for the 2021-22 season in comedian Aristotle Athari, comic and actor James Austin Johnson — known for his viral impressions of Donald Trump — and writer and actress Sarah Sherman.
“Love you, SNL,” Bennett wrote on Instagram Monday. “Gonna miss you so much. Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life. I had so much fun.”
Despite Bennett’s and Holt’s departures, the coming season — which premieres Oct. 2 — will feature a largely intact cast for the second straight season. The 2020-21 season marked the first time since 2007 that the regular cast was unchanged from the prior year.
As was the case last season, several cast members who have other commitments will take time off during the season. Last year Bryant and Strong each missed several episodes while filming, respectively, Hulu’s Shrill and Apple’s Schmigadoon! Thompson and Redd at times spent part of his week filming Kenan, their NBC primetime comedy, before returning to New York for SNL.
Bennett joined SNL as a featured player at the start of season 39 in 2013 and was promoted to the regular cast in 2015. Among his notable characters were Sen. Mitch McConnell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, former Vice President Mike Pence and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.