'SNL' Veterans Exit Show Ahead of Season 48 Amid Cast Exodus

The Saturday Night Live exodus continues as three more stars left the show on Thursday. Veterans Melissa Villasenor and Alex Moffat will not be back for Season 48 in the fall. Aristotle Athari, who was given very few opportunities to stand out in his first season last year, is also leaving, reports TVLine.

That brings the number of departing cast members up to seven. Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, and Kyle Mooney's exits were all announced before the Season 47 finale in May. Longtime series producer Lindsay Shookus is also leaving after 20 seasons.

Rumors that Villasenor would be leaving began in early August when the comedian shared several SNL memories on her Instagram Story. She also posted a title card reading "The End." She also announced a fall standup tour, with dates in October and November. Villasenor will also be releasing her book Whoops . . . I'm Awesome: A Workbook with Activities, Art, and Stories for Embracing Your Wonderfully Awesome Self Diary in October.

Villasenor joined the show in 2016 and was promoted to repertory player in 2018. She became a fan-favorite thanks to her incredible celebrity impressions, playing Dolly Parton, Gwen Stefani, Sarah Silverman, Jennifer Lopez, Kathy Griffin, and many more. Her Parton impression in a December 2020 episode became an instant classic "Weekend Update" bit. During the 2019 awards season, Villasenor also showed off a perfect Lady Gaga impersonation.

Moffat also joined the show and proved to be a reliable and versatile player. After Jim Carrey wrapped up his brief run as President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election, Moffat took over the role before James Austin Johnson played Biden in Season 47. He had a knack for playing smug characters, like his frequent "Weekend Update" character, "The Guy Who Just Bought a Boat."

As for Athari, he just didn't get as many opportunities to break out as fellow Season 47 rookies Sarah Sherman and Johnson did. He will always be remembered for playing Laughintosh 3000, the stand-up robot comedian he played in a November 2021 episode. Athari also had a recurring character, Angelo, but two of the character's three sketches were cut for time.

SNL Season 47 had a huge cast with 21 actors. In addition to the ones leaving, the show's cast also included Michael Che, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang, Johnson, Sherman, Andrew Dismukes, and Punkie Johnson. The season also included digital shorts from the Please Don't Destroy trio, Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy. NBC has not announced when the first Season 48 episode will air.