It was rumored and now it’s true: Andy Samberg has left the building; Studio 8H, that is. Following Kristin Wiig’s emotional exit from Saturday Night Live, fellow castmate Samberg has also decided to call it quits after spending six seasons with the late-night sketch comedy. In an interview with the New York Times, the original of the Digital Short made it official. “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life,” said Samberg. “Obviously it’s not a huge shock, but I did officially decide not to come back.” He admits that leaving SNL is “one of the hardest decisions [he has] ever made.” Samberg shared that Wiig gave him insight into her decision to ultimately step away from the show, and this helped him make one. “She kept saying it just feels like it’s her time,” he said. “I connect with that. Something about it just feels like it’s the moment. My contract’s up and I did so much more than I ever thought I would ever even do.”
Though it’s certainly sad to see Samberg go, this does not spell the end for some of his most memorable characters and sketches. When asked if he would be willing to return as a host: “Well, hopefully things will work out well enough that they’ll want me.” And although “Lazy Sunday 2” served as the pitch-perfect closing to his SNL Digital Shorts era, Samberg hopes that he’ll get the opportunity to reunite with his Lonely Island crew to sporadically produce more Shorts for upcoming seasons of the show. “That’s the kind of thing that I really do hope happens,” he said.
Like Wiig, Samberg is leaving SNL to pursue a career in film; he stars in the upcoming Adam Sandler comedy That’s My Boy in theatres June 15. The only other castmember whose contract is up is Jason Sudekis; unless he pulls a Samberg and quietly leaves via an online interview, we might not get an answer until the season 38 premiere credits roll in September.
From “Dick in a Box“ to “Jizz in my Pants“ and “I’m on a Boat“, “I Just Had Sex“, “Motherlover“ and everything before, in between, and after, Andy Samberg helped launch Saturday Night Live into the digital age and contributed to the definition of the viral video. And for that he will always be remembered as one of the most influential cast members to come and go on the show. Now if that’s not high praise, I’m not sure what is.