NEW YORK — Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson are among those quitting “Saturday Night Live,” leaving the sketch institution arguably its two most famous names after Saturday’s 47th-season finale, hosted by Natasha Lyonne.
Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney will also be leaving the cast.
The departures represent one of the biggest cast shakeups in years in a show that has seen unusual stability in recent seasons.
McKinnon, 38, won two Emmys and was nominated for nine of her 10 seasons on the show, during which her impressions included Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. His comedic chops with characters like alien abductee Miss Rafferty frequently caused castmates and guest hosts to lose him live.
McKinnon opened the show with an out-of-this-world skit and said his final goodbyes on “Earth.”
“I love you, thank you for letting me stay a while. Live from New York, it’s Saturday night,” she said at the start of the show.
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Davidson, 28, joined the cast in 2014 and appeared in eight seasons. His own oversized personality often overpowered the characters he played. His comedic comments as himself on “Weekend Update” were often his most viral tracks. And he was as known for his off-screen life — dating Ariana Grande and current girlfriend Kim Kardashian — as he was on.
“I never imagined this would be my life,” Davidson said on the show. “I appreciate ‘SNL’ for always having my back, for allowing me to work on myself and grow. Thank you Lorne for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else l was, for believing in me and allowing me to have a place I could call home with memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you.”
Bryant, 35, joined the cast at the same time as McKinnon and has been a constant in the sketches ever since, earning four Emmy nominations herself.
Mooney, 37, appeared in nine seasons beginning in 2013.