SNL creator Lorne Michaels, 77, insists he has no plans to retire as show nears 50

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SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels has assured fans of the long-running late-night comedy and variety show that, despite the show approaching its 50th anniversary and his 78th birthday, he has no intention of calling it quits.

In an interview with the New York TimesMichaels, who oversaw many decades of the live sketch show, discussed the twists and turns it has taken in recent years.

He said the pandemic and Trump’s presidency were a time when viewers were “really scared” and that the show reflected that spirit.

Michaels said he is “proud” of the work the show did during the Trump era, including the infamous “outline” of the post-2020 election of Kate McKinnon, dressed as Hilary Clinton, addressing the audience sombrely with a rendition of Hallelujah.

Former SNL cast member Rob Schneider said the sad performance was the final nail in the show’s coffin.

‘It is over. It is over. It’s not coming back,” Schneider said of the cold opening that addressed Clinton’s shocking loss in 2016.

However, the all-powerful NBC executive admitted that it’s easier for the show when national politics are less fraught and there isn’t a century-long pandemic.

SNL's creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels (center) at the 2022 Emmys with SNL's Bowen Yang (left) and former SNL star Kate McKinnon (right)

SNL’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels (center) at the 2022 Emmys with SNL’s Bowen Yang (left) and former SNL star Kate McKinnon (right)

Alec Baldwin pictured as Donald Trump.  SNL has received praise and criticism for the hyper anti-Trump stance it took during its last presidency.  Michaels said it was a reflection of a time when people were 'really scared'

Alec Baldwin pictured as Donald Trump.  SNL has received praise and criticism for the hyper anti-Trump stance it took during its last presidency.  Michaels said it was a reflection of a time when people were 'really scared'

Alec Baldwin pictured as Donald Trump. SNL has received praise and criticism for the hyper anti-Trump stance it took during its last presidency. Michaels said it was a reflection of a time when people were ‘really scared’

“It’s much easier when everything is normal in politics and it’s just the two parties that hate each other. We’ve been through some really scary times over the past four years. Hopefully we’ll get out of it and it’s just the old scary things like depression or war,” he said.

Michaels also loses four of the show’s key players this year, in addition to four lesser-known performers, marking one of the show’s biggest exodus in years.

Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney all announced their departures at the end of Season 47, as well as Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat, Aristotle Athari and Chris Redd, who announced his departure Monday just two years ago. weeks before the 48th season premiere.

Kate McKinnon, one of the breakout stars of the past decade, announced plans to leave the show before the end of last season

Kate McKinnon, one of the breakout stars of the past decade, announced plans to leave the show before the end of last season

Kate McKinnon, one of the breakout stars of the past decade, announced plans to leave the show before the end of last season

Pete Davidson, another star of the show who has become a pop culture icon, said he would be leaving the show after several years of declining appearances.

Pete Davidson, another star of the show who has become a pop culture icon, said he would be leaving the show after several years of declining appearances.

Pete Davidson, another star of the show who has become a pop culture icon, said he would be leaving the show after several years of declining appearances.

Commenting on the massive loss of cast members, Michaels said, “This is a year of reinvention. And change is exciting.’

He also noted that one of the reasons so many cast members walked out this year is because COVID-19 had stalled their exit plans.

“The pandemic had put us in a position where no one could really leave because there were no jobs. And at the same time, if I don’t add new people every year, the show isn’t the show. New people have to come,” he told the Times.

When a large handful of exits happen simultaneously on the show, Michaels says he sees it as an opportunity to reshape its dynamic, adding that he wants it to be a show people choose to watch live on Saturday nights.

“What I want it to be is there’s a reason to see it live, because you don’t know what we’re going to do. Something big has happened in the news and you want to see how we deal with it and you know the people you hope to see deal with it,” he said.

For his part, however, Michaels says he has no plans to leave the show, with which his name has become synonymous over the years.

While it will be a few more years before SNL hits 50, Michaels explicitly told the Times, “I have no plans to retire. I am not a big person to celebrate. Even the 40th [anniversary show]in the end, the only way to get through was because I knew I was doing a show, and at some point the credits would roll and we’d be off the air.

“The 50th will be a big event. We bring everyone back from all 50 years and hosts and all that. It will be a very emotional and very strong thing.”

SNL cast member Aidy Bryant, who has had success with other projects, is also not returning for season 48

SNL cast member Aidy Bryant, who has had success with other projects, is also not returning for season 48

Fan favorite Kyle Mooney is leaving a year after his sketch partner Beck Bennett left the show

Fan favorite Kyle Mooney is leaving a year after his sketch partner Beck Bennett left the show

Aidy Bryant (left) and Kyle Mooney (right) also left the cast at the end of Season 47

Former SNL cast member Rob Schneider has been an outspoken critic of the show's political orientation in recent years.  He says it's no fun watching artists poke fun at politicians when the public knows hate feeds the impression

Former SNL cast member Rob Schneider has been an outspoken critic of the show's political orientation in recent years.  He says it's no fun watching artists poke fun at politicians when the public knows hate feeds the impression

Former SNL cast member Rob Schneider has been an outspoken critic of the show’s political orientation in recent years. He says it’s no fun watching artists poke fun at politicians when the public knows hate feeds the impression

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