The latest season of Saturday Night Live is on track for its fall premiere on October 2. NBC's long-running late-night comedy sketch series is set to enter Season 47, and of course, it's welcoming some new cast members.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series saw a major paradigm shift over the past two years.
At the beginning of New York's mandated quarantine, SNL's titular live performances were briefly replaced with pre-recorded skits, with the cast recording individual segments from the safety of their homes while they were isolating.
Later in the year, they returned to the studio and encouraged indoor mask precautions among the cast, crew, and audience. Now, the cast and crew are ready to head back to Studio 8H again, and of course, fans can expect some new faces on their television screens.
So, who are the new cast members of 'SNL' Season 47?
Every year, the cast of SNL welcomes a new team of comedians to join their ranks. Last year for Season 46, new cast members included Punkie Johnson, Lauren Holt, and Andrew Dismukes.
For the 47th season, SNL announced the addition of comedians Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman to the cast. Aristotle is an actor and director with experience in sketch comedy shorts.
James is a Nashville comedian whose Donald Trump impersonation has previously gone viral and Sarah Sherman is a comedy writer and actor who also served as the creative consultant on The Eric Andre Show in 2020.
Who else is coming back to 'SNL' in 2021?
Many veteran cast members are returning for the new season. Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson are just a few among several other cast members set to return.
Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman have been promoted to regular cast members, with Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes returning as featured performers. Kenan Thompson is also slated to return, marking his 18th year on the show.
Fans had initially speculated departures for cast members like Cecily and Pete, but the recent announcement of returning cast members has debunked those theories.
Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost will also come back for Season 47. Other returning cast members include Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor, Heidi Gardner, and Alex Moffat.
Beck Bennett announced he is leaving 'SNL.'
In a surprise departure, cast member Beck Bennett announced that he was leaving SNL after nearly a decade on the show. In an Instagram post, he thanked SNL and the team for allowing his career to grow.
"Love you, SNL. Gonna miss you so much," he wrote. "Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life."