'Saturday Night Live' Adds Three Featured Players

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"SNL", which won nine Emmy Awards earlier this month, has replaced three cast members: Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata. Among the returning stars is Kenan Thompson who is setting a record for the longest-serving SNL cast member with his fifteenth season on the show, eclipsing Darrell Hammond's 14-season run. Heidi Gardner, Luke Null andChris Redd will join the venerable show as featured players starting with the season premiere, which is just in four days, on September 30, with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z. He later shifted to stand-up and sketch comedy, performing for a time with a Second City touring company.

Null has done some sketches for iO Comedy Network and Gardner is a performer with the Groundlings, which is an improv troupe and school with notable alumni such as Kathy Griffin, Lisa Kudrow and Kristen Wiig.

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Null is a fresher face who has been seen on the iO stage with the team Artemis and also appeared in the Annoyance Theatre's 2016 show "The Dead Boy Scout Musical". She also lent her voice to the "Bratz" animated series and has a supporting role in upcoming film "Life of the Party" which is starring and written by Melissa McCarthy.

OH native Null also developed his skills here in Chicago, where he wrote and performed at iO and The Annoyance. His release was eventually worked out so he could join SNL.

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Finally, Deadline reports Saturday Night Live is also beefing up the writers room with seven new hires this season.

Along with hiring three new cast members, the series will be adding a string of new writers including Sam Jay, Gary Richardson, Erik Marino, Andrew Dismukes, Steven Castillo, Claire Friedman and Nimesh Patal.

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That's quite an eclectic array of writing talent to bring aboard SNL, and hopefully it helps the sketch series keep up the momentum they gained last season, which resulted in an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Sketch Comedy Series.

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