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Lorne Michaels on Taran Killam’s + Jay Pharoah’s ‘SNL’ Firings: ‘No Way of Explaining It’

Jay Pharoah Taran Klllam Leave 'SNL'
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Saturday Night Live will be down two veterans when Season 42 premieres on October 1, but as far as big bossman Lorne Michael is concerned, the shift is as natural as a changing tide.

In August, Taran Killam confirmed that he and Jay Pharoah had both been let go from the show after spending six years each as performers. Killam assumed it was because of scheduling conflicts, but admitted he wasn’t given a decisive answer. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporterthough, Michaels has attempted to offer one.

“I think that the lifeblood of the shows change,” he said. “I love Taran, I love Jay, I think they’re both super-talented. They’ve both been here six years. And if you don’t keep making changes you don’t change. You know? I can’t explain it any other way, because there’s no way of explaining it.”

When pressed for why Pharoah and Killam were let go within the specific lens of the show’s veterans, Michaels was a little vague. Ultimately, he could only think to compare the actors’ SNL journeys to those of legendary past performers who spent even less time on the show.

“Well, put it this way. Chevy Chase was there for a year-and-a-half,” he said. “John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were there for four years. Jimmy Fallon was there for five years. Fred Armisen was I don’t know how many years. It’s whether or not they’re — I don’t know.”

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See a clip of Killam as Donald Trump above, tell us what you think of Michaels’ justifications and be sure to tune in to the SNL premiere this weekend.

See Photos From the 40th SNL Season Premiere Red Carpet:

Next: Taran Killam Shocked By His 'SNL' Firing

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