Bill Hader leaving Saturday Night Live

Hader SNL

It was announced a few days ago that Seth Meyers, host of “Weekend Update”, and head writer for SNL for 8 seasons, would be leaving to take over Jimmy Fallon’s late night show.  Now Bill Hader, a man of many voices and faces is leaving the historic Saturday night standard.

Hader’s portrayals of Stefon, Weekend Updates quirky critic, to frenetic incarnations of James Carville, Al Pacino, Vincent Price and Julian Assange, and any number of smarmy, self-satisfied game-show hosts will be greatly missed.

After eight seasons, he decided the time had come to move on.

“It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point,” Mr. Hader said in an interview. “It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.’ ”

Hader joined the show in 2005, and became a featured performer the next season.  His characters kept him on screen more than any other cast member.  From ‘Stefon’, to the Italian talk show host, ‘Vinny Vedecci’, he showed great range in his performing ability.

Last year he was nominated for an Emmy for ‘Best Supporting Role in a Comedy Series’.  This is a very rare honor for an SNL cast member.

Lorne Michaels has compared him to an original cast member, Dan Aykroyd.

“In terms of intelligence and talent, he was in that same tradition,” Mr. Michaels said in a telephone interview. “He was so completely committed to the art of it and enough a student of it that there’s something strikingly original. He didn’t explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing.”

Mr. Hader will be a major loss for the long-running show.  Combined with the loss of Meyers, the comedic talent pool will become ‘half full’.

There are also questions about Fred Armisen.  He has been considering a move from the demands of SNL, to work on his IFC show “Portlandia”, and concentrate on a movie career.

Another cast member, who has been a staple for some time, Jason Sudeikis, has been considering a move.  He recently became engaged to Olivia Wilde, and has a growing presence in movies.

Lorne Michaels, producer and mastermind of SNL, is also the producer of ‘Portlandia’, ‘Late Night’, and soon ‘The Tonight Show’.

Hader said his decision was made because of two compelling reasons.  His friends Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg left the show last year.  In addition, he wants to move his family to the west coast.  His wife, Maggie Carey, is becoming very busy with her film career.  She wrote and directed “The To Do List”, which will be released soon, and has Hader in a major role.

Hader said he had worked on three live action films, and four animated films during the last season of SNL.  It is obvious that time and family have pushed him into a life-changing decision.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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