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SNL: With Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam out, it is Beck Bennett’s time to shine

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When ‘Saturday Night Live’, or SNL as most people know it by, returns for season 42 this fall, it will be missing two of its more well known faces. It has been confirmed that Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah will not be returning for the upcoming season of the late night comedy.

Both men had been with the show for six seasons. And both men had earned a pretty nice following, as they were generally some of the best performers on the show over those six years. Killam had emerged as the lead male of the show over the last several years. Some of his best performances came as Jebidiah Atkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Christoph Waltz and Eminem. The show will certainly miss his reliable performance week in and week out.

Jay Pharoah was the greatest impressionist I have ever seen on the show since I began watching. He did a spot on Barack Obama and Jay-Z, which are by far his two greatest characters over his six year run. Pharoah was always good for laughs when he was on screen. No one will ever forget how he impersonated nine men in a three minute span on Weekend Update this past season, including Kevin Hart, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.

Both men will move on to other projects. Killam appears set to enter the world of film, while Pharoah is making the rounds doing stand-up comedy. Fans of the show would like to wish both men luck in their future endeavors.

With their departures, someone is going to have to step up their game. Like I mentioned, Killam was essentially the lead male on the show, and Pharoah always brought the laughs. The person who should be set to take that next step and replace these two big names is Beck Bennett.

Bennett has always been a favorite of mine. He burst onto the scene years back while doing a set of commercials for AT&T. All of the commercials featured Bennett with a group of kids, and each one was funnier than the one before it. Bennett made his SNL debut in 2013 in season 39. This will mark his fourth season with the late night show.

The time is now for Bennett to become the household name. He has the talent, and he is always good for plenty of laughter. The departure of the two big names should open the door for more opportunities for the man who portrays Jeb Bush and Wolf Blitzer.

The character that Bennett may be most widely known for is Office Boss, who is a grown man who acts like a baby. Bennett has taken the character and run with it, adding more and more baby type movements to his performance every time he gets the chance to play him. Expect to see much more of Office Boss in season 42.

But Bennett should also be given a wider array of characters to play this season as well. Killam usually was tasked with playing the original characters that were not a straight up impersonation, so someone is going to need to take on that role. Between Bennett, Kyle Mooney and Jon Rudnitsy, Bennett should be given that first chance.

Mooney came on board the same year as Bennett, and the two usually work closely together. But Mooney is essentially the new version of Andy Samberg, as his best performances come in the form of pre-recorded videos instead of the live sketches. He still does a handful of live work, but Bennett is the more polished of the two.

Rudnitsky will just be entering his second year on the show. While he showed some potential last year, the seniority factor is working in Bennett’s favor. Bennett has proven his worth, and I find him better than Rudnitsky to begin with. So while they may groom Rudnitsky to take on a Killam type role at some point, Bennett will get the role first.

So the floor is yours Beck. 2016 will be the year Beck Bennett becomes a household name thanks to SNL. Maybe they can bring back a version of the AT&T commercials for him to work with, as those were downright hysterical. With two mainstays now gone, Bennett is primed to become SNL’s next star.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com