Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke… FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!
— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) July 14, 2014
Season 39 of Saturday Night Live was Brooks Wheelan’s first and last season. The Iowa native was a writer for the show and made appearances in a few sketches but never found his go-to role. On Monday, he tweeted the news that he’d been fired.
Here’s what you should know about Wheelan and why his SNL career lasted a New York minute.
1. He Was Originally Hired as a Writer, Not a Cast Member
The 27-year-old Wheelan originally was hired as a writer, but right before the 39th season began, he was added as a cast member.
Wheelan became one of seven new cast members to join the show last season. Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, John Milhiser, Noel Wells, Mike O’Brien and Sasheer Zamata were the other freshmen on the show. E! Online speculated about which other cast members would likely not have their contracts renewed. But the other newbies have established their roles on the show.
Some SNL regulars left the show this year. Seth Meyers left to host Late Night and Nasim Pedrad left at he end of the season to star in the new show Mulaney.
2. Other People Fired From SNL Have Gone on to Have Successful Careers
Wheelan’s SNL exit doesn’t spell doom for his career. Plenty of other comedians on the show have been canned in the past but moved on to other TV shows. KMBC referenced to key examples:
Michaela Watkins was let go in 2009 and shortly after became a star on the ABC hit Trophy Wife. Chris Parnell is now known for his roles in Suburgatory and Glee but was fired twice from SNL.
3. He Didn’t Have Much Experience With Sketch Comedy Entering the Show
Wheelan was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a teenager he did some stand-up comedy in his home town, then moved to L.A. and studied improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
The WCF Courier reported that in middle school, Wheelan said one of his goals was to work at SNL.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wheelan was not experienced when it came to sketch comedy, and he joked about that is his final audition. Still, executive producer Lorne Michaels added him to the cast.
4. He Never Found a Signature Role
Most characters on SNL have a role that they play regularly; for example, Seth Meyers always did the Weekend Update, and Jay Pharoah is always President Obama. But Wheelan never found his groove.
Variety said that Wheelan’s firing didn’t come as a surprise as he didn’t get much screen time anyway. Some of the other SNL freshmen found their niche in the show, but Wheelan just played random roles here and there.
One sketch involving Wheelan actually poked fun at the fact that no one really knew who he was.
5. Fans Believe that ‘SNL’ Has Gone & is Going Down Hill
I take my job very seriously. https://t.co/NLuQM8IL7b
— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) March 22, 2013
Many SNL fans say the show has only gotten worse in recent years and that the best episodes are those featuring guest appearances from old cast members.
A comment on E!‘s post reads:
SNL is only really funny when past cast members come back to host and do throwbacks to old skits and characters. The references are funnier than the skits themselves.
Whether the problem is the cast or the casting team, SNL may be in for another re-vamp.