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Beck Bennett Is Leaving 'SNL,' But 3 New Cast Members Are Joining The Lineup

Beck Bennett, known for playing former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday Night Live, will be leaving the show in a cast reorganization announced Monday. The announcement also includes another departure, two promotions and three new hires at NBC's Emmy-winning sketch comedy series.

Bennett joined the show in 2013, playing everyone from Javier Bardem to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. He acknowledged the departure on Instagram, posting: "Thank you for 8 years of remarkable people and incredible experiences that completely changed my life. I had so much fun."

Lauren Holt, who joined SNL last season, is also leaving the show. Designated a "featured player" — the status given to newer performers who must establish themselves – Holt appeared in assorted parts, including as Pence's wife, Karen.

Saturday Night Live actually has two tiers of performers: repertory players, who are established stars and considered the core cast of the show, and featured players, who may be promoted.

Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman, who both joined the performing cast in 2019, were elevated to repertory level for this season. Yang earned an Emmy nomination this year; one of his more popular sketches involved playing the iceberg that sank the Titanic on a Weekend Update appearance. Fineman shone in a variety of impressions, including as Drew Barrymore and Reese Witherspoon.

The show also added three new performers as featured players: Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman. Athari is the second Iranian American to join the show, after Nasim Pedrad in 2009.

SNL debuts its 47th season on Saturday with first-time host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves, kicking off a run of four consecutive new shows. The rest of the cast for 2021-22 season includes repertory players Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson and Melissa Villaseñor. Featured players also include Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.

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