It's been two days since Bill Hader announced his departure from Saturday Night Live, and already he's got company. The New York Post is reporting that Fred Armisen, who was said to be pondering his exit for a while now, has locked it in internally: "A source at NBC has confirmed to The Post that, after months of rumors, veteran performer Fred Armisen will ... be leaving the show." Oh, also: "Headliner Jason Sudeikis will 'probably' jump as well, the source said." If you're counting at home: That's Hader, Armisen, Sudeikis, and Seth Meyers all dunzo. Time to panic?!
But first, a moment of appreciation. In the 11 years he's been on the show, Fred Armisen has done everything. Partially, that's thanks to his indeterminate ethnic background (for the record, 1/2 Venezuelan, 1/4 German, 1/4 Japanese). Mostly, though, it's skills: Goofy, evil, sappy, clueless, female — Armisen can do 'em all. He was the go-to for dead-panning Middle Eastern dictators or Jewish New York billionaire mayors or brilliantly hacky Latin American drummer/percussionists. He turned New York Governor David Paterson into a gleefully self-aware, New Jersey–loathing maniac, and did it so well he somehow got away with blind jokes. I mean, the guy did Obama! And it was passable! In his later years, as he swallowed up more and more screen time, Armisen became, by default, a marquee name. But it wasn't like with Hader or Sudeikis; nobody was claiming Fred as their favorite cast member. Fred Armisen was one of the greatest utility men in the history of the show.
Happy Pi Day! Ang Lee's next project, Tyrant, an FX drama pilot, tentatively begins production this summer. Lee will direct and executive produce, which is great news unless you're "salty" Christopher Doyle, in whose opinion Life of Pi's cinematography was "a total fucking piece of shit." He didn't care for Lincoln, either, in case you were curious.
Kate Middleton Is Pregnant: "Royal-watchers all around the globe had been on tenterhooks for months." THAT SOUNDS UNCOMFORTABLE. "At long last, Will and Kate are expecting a little prince or princess!" While they were hoping to keep the story under wraps until Kate was 12 weeks along, and release the news on Christmas Day, it came out early when Middleton was admitted to a hospital for morning sickness. Nevertheless, "William and Kate are elated." They started trying in September, "once their Malaria medication has run its course" after their "royal tour of Southeast Asia." The holy "VIP baby leapfrogs Harry to become third in line for the throne behind William and his father." A nursery "is in the early stages" as the couple continue with their move into Kensington Palace. Get ready to hear all about the future royal baby for months from weirdo superfans.
Last weekend, the topic of the short-lived but supposedly really great (11 Emmy nominations! Conversational endorsements!) Buffalo Bill came up. I haven’t seen Buffalo Bill, and there was no time to fix that between when it drifted across the table of La Scala salads and when I hopped Griffith Park and took it to the 5 freeway where I drove “forever,” but there were only 26 episodes, so I’ll probably get around to it next weekend when I have no SNL episode to recap for you. Apparently, canceling Buffalo Bill was Brandon Tartikoff’s biggest professional regret: It showed up at the party, dazzled everybody, ate some appetizers, and breezed out the door in a cloud of little question marks asking what could have been. The gripe about Saturday Night Live is usually just the opposite — a once-beloved sketch stops by for a martini, then leaves and comes back five minutes later, just real quick, to grab its coat. Door closes, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But wait! Then it stumbles back inside, apologizing, because it just wanted to tell you one more thing that it forgot to mention earlier. You shoo it away. At midnight it returns because it wants to know if anybody’s got any cocaine. At two in the morning it wants to sleep on your sofa, and it keeps repeating the same story, except now it’s drooling and smells like the subway and you just want to beam it to the moon and import some other entertaining alien in its place. Still, a few weeks after you’ve Febrezed its odor off of your futon, you remember it with fond nostalgia (well, not always). The sketches and cast members of every golden period of SNL have to get dumped into the Lorne Michaels recycling bin eventually, but when the door shuts for good there’s a creepy feeling of uncertainty that hangs in the air, empty Solo cups of butts and booze.
Nobody panic, but SNL might be getting rocked this offseason. According to US Weekly — the most trusted name in tabloid journalism — Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis are all flying the coop.
Jason Sudeikis has joined Dog Fight, the Jay Roach-directed comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as rival candidates in a small South Carolina congressional district. This continues a string of big comedies for Sudeikis, who was originally hired as a writer only on Saturday Night Live before breaking out as a performer. Just goes to show you, professional writers: You, too, could have had a rich life of public fulfillment, if only you were are as handsome as Jason Sudeikis. Grade: B [HR]