Culture Desk

In 36th season, ‘SNL’ gets some new blood

(Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)
September 11, 2010

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“Saturday Night Live’’ is undergoing significant cast changes for the 36th season, which premieres Sept. 25. And that’s a good thing, since the show could really use more distinctive faces, especially now that Will Forte has announced his departure. This is the biggest infusion of new talent since the 2001 addition of four newbies including Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler (pictured, who’ll be hosting the season opener).

So here’s the official roster of new players:

■ Taran Killam, a member of the Groundlings who’s had stints on “Mad TV,’’ “Scrubs,’’ and “How I Met Your Mother.’’

■ Vanessa Bayer, from the iO Improv Theater, the Annoyance, and Second City.

■ Paul Brittain, also from iO Improv.

■ Jay Pharoah, a Virginia-based standup who is the first black performer to join “SNL’’ since 2003, fueling rumors that he’ll replace Fred Armisen as President Obama. His impression, which you can see on YouTube, could use some work but is nonetheless better than Armisen’s.

Jenny Slate, who joined the cast last year, will not be returning. Slate was the one who let the F-word slip — she was supposed to say “frickin’ ’’ — last year during a sketch called “Biker Chick Chat.’’