Brooks Wheelan was a last-minute addition to the cast of Saturday Night Live, originally hired on last summer as a writer.
On Monday, after a transitional 39th season at SNL that saw its biggest cast in two decades vying for stage time, Wheelan announced on Twitter that he was one-and-done with the show.
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
The show sometimes made light of all the new cast members last season; perhaps none took it in stride quite as well as Wheelan. In a “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch during the Christmas episode, with the other cast members all showcasing impersonations, Wheelan played himself. Keenan Thompson, as Steve Harvey, questioned Wheelan’s presence in the scene. “I’m on Saturday Night Live!” Wheelan said. Thompson, as Harvey, replied: “I doubt it. You’re saying I can turn on SNL and see you on there?”
“Uh, uh, yeah! I mean, sometimes. Not a lot. But it’s cool!” Wheelan said.
After all, he was a stand-up comedian from Los Angeles who grew up in Iowa. He wasn’t a veteran sketch or improv guy. So he made what marks he could by delivering routines on Weekend Update or filling colorful roles in digital shorts. He co-wrote the “12 Years A Slave Auditions” short with Michael Che, for example. He also burst across the screen in an ad spoof for E-Meth.
Just a month ago, Wheelan showed us his set list from his final audition at the 30 Rock studios of SNL.
Wheelan wrote last month on his Tumblr: “Just found the napkin I wrote my set list on when I auditioned for the show. Kinda cool.”
Nasim Pedrad also is expected to announce her departure from the show — she’s already working on another series executive-produced by Lorne Michaels, Mulaney, which debuts this fall on FOX.
No word on any other cast changes. Those usually don’t happen until the end of the summer, anyhow.
Wheelan joins an illustrious group of comedians whose tenure at SNL only lasted one season, including Ben Stiller, Damon Wayans, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Downey Jr. and more. In the meantime, here is Wheelan offering his favorite moments to the SNL Backstage crew for YouTube.
And here are those sketches, extended.