Exclusive: Michaela Watkins 'shocked' by 'SNL' firing

Michaela-Watkins_lBitch, pleeeeze. That sums up my reaction to the news that Saturday Night Live has dropped the hilarious Michaela Watkins from the cast. In just one short year, Watkins gave birth to a slew of memorable characters and impersonations, most notably bitchpleeze.com blogger Angie Tempura and Today‘s Hoda Kotb. (Watkins’ co-star Casey Wilson was also axed.) What the heck was Lorne Michaels thinking? Dude’s not talking so I tracked down the next best thing: Michaela herself.

What was Lorne Michaels thinking?
I don’t think anyone knows what Lorne Michaels was thinking. That’s one of the exciting things about him. If he were to vanish the show would just freeze. Not a single thing would be shot because so much hinges on him.

What explanation did he give you?
The only explanation I got from him — and he’s not known to say things just to make people feel better — was that he felt deep down that I should have my own show. And I agreed. SNL was a dream come true for me. It was a fantastic year. I don’t have any regrets.

Lorne fired you because he thought you were good enough to get your own show? What am I missing here?
You tell me. I honestly don’t know. What he said is he’s trying to get what’s best for him and best for me. He said it had nothing to do with talent. And I’m just going to go on that. That was his only explanation. He’s looking at the whole mix of the show and maybe he feels that what I bring would be better served on a sitcom. They hired two new gals [Jenny Slate and Nasim Pedrad] that I think are going to be exquisite.

What was your reaction?
Shock. And sadness [because] it just felt premature. But on some level I feel like there are so many opportunities and things that I want to do in the future and now they’ll just happen sooner rather than later.

Did you and Lorne get along?
Yes. I really like him. I have a ton of respect for the man. He’s also a businessman and he thinks about things that I don’t think about and that might be reflected in this decision. I think this was more of a business decision than it was about talent. I know how much [airtime] featured players get and I surpassed my own expectations.

Have you heard from any of your former cast members?
Yes. They’ve been terrific. Last night we went out and had a farewell dinner with a lot of wine. [Laughs]

What’s next? Are you going to take Lorne up on his advice and pursue your own show?
Yes. I just want to make people laugh, and I want to do that the best way possible.

What do you think of SNL‘s decision to drop Watkins? Sound off below!

Comments (425 total) Add your comment
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  • Melissa

    This is HORRIBLE!! She was the next Kristin Wiig on the show. I looked forward to her regular segments. Lorne, you silly little man!!

    • Jaime

      And he somehow kept craptastic Casey Wilson?!?! This is weirdness…

      • ZF

        No, the article says Casey Wilson was fired, also.

      • jenn

        No, the article said he also fired Casey Wilson, who is absolutely terrible and has never once gotten a laugh out of me, so I’m for sure happy she’s gone. I don’t know how she lasted more than that half a season after the strike.

        I will miss the “bitch please” segments during Update. Running over to hulu right now to watch the last one she did with Timberlake.

      • Matt

        I was a fan of BOTH women, and it’s too bad they’re both gone now. (Yet they’re keeping the not-very-good Abby Elliott?!?)

      • Andi

        Did you not read in parenthesis that they axed Casey Wilson too. You do know that axed means fired don’t you. Pay attention please.

      • Lily

        Casey Wilson got fired too, you twit.
        though i do agree with you, she isn’t funny at all. And Michela does deserve her own show.

      • hey, Lily

        beotch puhleeze stop being mean.

    • Mathew idicula

      I kove Kristn Wiig, But Michaela Watkins was 10 times as funny as she will ever be. Bad move SNL.

    • jody smith

      Loren, Bitch Pleazzzzzzze WTF. This is either a great decision as you have made so many or everyone will again repeat after me WTF

  • Parker

    It’s not really fair to her, but she is extremely funny and does deserve her own show! Go Michaela!

    • Lori O

      If Michaela gets her own show, for her own sake, I hope it’s NOTHING like the stupid and insipid “Parks & Recreation” show that Amy Poehler is doing…or did… I don’t even know if it got cancelled or not.

      • angie

        unfortunately it didn’t get cancelled…horrible show

      • Valerie

        Parks and Rec is actually an amazing show. Start with season 2, episode 2. It was weak at first, but it’s seriously hilarious now.

      • Becky

        It’s funny to me, how people who don’t even watch a show can talk so much smack about it. I watch Parks and Rec every week and it is laugh-out-loud hilarious. And I know funny.

      • Josie

        Parks and Rec is a wonderful show!
        It did start of slow at first but it got to be absolutely hilarious.
        I can’t wait for it to come back.

  • Mark C

    Lorne is an old man stuck in a 70’s man mindset. The women are the only reason to watch SNL anymore.

    • amj

      Wow, I have to stick up for Lorne, even though I loved Michaela, Lorne obviously had a reason and SNL has been running for 30 years so he’s doing something right! I tune into SNL weekly and sometimes it disappoints but I still tune in. I see MADTv is gone even though the talent there was huge in small pockets. Maybe he is working on her behalf and will be offering her something else. Don’t condemn just yet. Afterall, 30 Rock sure turns out an audience. And, Lorne if you are looking..please keep bringing Justin Timberlake back he is awesome on that show!

    • hey, Lily

      more like, Lorne is a gay man in his 70s who hates women.

      • aaronelvis

        Yeah, because all gay men HATE women. How ignorant you are Lily…

  • Graham

    Bullsh*t. Bad move, Lorne.

  • Amanda from Michigan

    I’m bummed that Casey Wilson was fired too. She was one of the few non-stick figures on TV…and funny, too.

    • Adam Lipkin

      Yes! Casey was woefully underused, but when she was allowed to be funny, she was as good as anyone there.

      • badideajeans

        I adored Casey Wilson. And Abby Elliot is great… give her time to evolve beyond Angelina.

        What I don’t get is why Kirstin Wiig is the great lady hope for that show. She has 2 characters tops — nervous shaky voiced girl and random hot girl who is a jerk. Whenever I see that she’s the focal point of a sketch I hit fast forward immediately.

  • KT8711

    I’m livid over this. When I heard the two new girls were hired, I thought, “Great, SNL will probably promote Michaela and Casey to regular cast member, and then they’d have more than ONE woman in the repertory players.”

    But no, Lorne fired Michaela and Casey, and inexplicably kept the horrible Abby Elliot. And now, Kristen Wiig is still the only female regular player and the new ones are merely featured.

    Michaela and Casey were GOOD. And I continue to think that Abby Elliot was a nepotism hire. She barely appeared in any sketches last season and the only memorable thing she did was her impression of Angelina Jolie. She had zero resume before coming to SNL.

    Bad move, Lorne. Bad. Also, how does Kenan still have a job? Every character he does sounds exactly the same?

    • Amen

      You are soooo right! Thanks – now I don’t have to write a big long post. Abby Elliot probably got to keep her job because she took NO chances and didn’t get enough lines to prove she was bad…except for the excruciating AJ impression, wherein she pouts and asks about babies. OLD and not funny when it was new! I will miss Casey and Michaela and their quirky wackiness sooo much. :(

      • andy

        casey wilson is the worst person to ever be on SNL ever. her impression of mad men’s joan was worse than the bubonic plague

      • miss annie

        wasn’t a true Casey Fan… but I feel bad for her, but she was there much longer than she should have been- and never funny… Definitely Michaela Watkins fan! now I can go to sleep at a normal hour!- as there is no reason to try to watch! I bet Abby stayed because of who her father is; Michaela got there on pure talent! Is it age discrimination?

      • chuck

        If you think Casey Wilson was bad… you are all forgetting a chunky nugget of awful named Melanie Hutsell.

    • kellybelly

      Why was “Abby Elliot a nepotism hire”? Who is her father??

      • bhm1304

        The great Chris Elliot.

  • graeme

    She sucked on the show. As did Casey Wilson. Lorne realized what the audience did months ago. Kristen Wiig was blowing every other female on the show out of the water. They need women who can at least somewhat hold their ground against Wiig.

    • jeremy

      agreed i couldnt stand her annoying screechy voice the only thing good was the kathy lee and hoda sketches and thats just cause wiig plays klg.

      • jeremy

        plus neither one of them stood out as weekend update correspondants, which is really what makes a cast member stand out, at least to me (for instance, will forte, armisen, wiig, and hader all have numerous, hilarious characters)

    • sculliosis


    • kjs

      Well, NBC can’t pin all of their hopes just on Kristen Wiig. Sorry, but she’s not the ONLY cast member on the show and when she leaves, who’s going to take her place?

    • 2pinkdaisies

      Yay. I thought the “bitch please” sketch was rancid.

  • Jake

    HORRIBLE DECISION!! I also feel bad for Casey, I thing they passed her over and never gave her a chance to shine. Michaela did shine though and deserved to stay

  • Adam

    She was probably my favorite of the newcomers last year. As Hoda with Kristin Wiig as Kathie Lee. Fantastic, and of course as Angie Tempura. What a shame. It would be fantastic to see her own show. This woman is a joy to watch and has great comedic talents… on another note, I can’t say I’m sad to see Casey Wilson go.

  • T

    I love Michaela. She’s such a sweetheart in person. Luckily for her she’s going to be in a movie coming out next Feb. The Back-Up Plan. Oh Lorne Michael, WTF?

  • Rachel

    How the hell could he fire 2 of the funniest cast members & yet Keenan is still allowed to recycle the same horrible character in every skit – for 17 years!!!! – WTF?!

    • Geoooorge

      Casey was not one of the funniest cast members. She was dreadful. I’m sure she was a very sweet lady, but her voice made me want to dig my fingers inside my head and squish my own brain.

    • Jay

      I have no idea why Keenan Thompson is still on the show other than he is African American and they want a show of diversity? He is never ever ever funny and it annoying that he takes up space.

      • Jay

        ooh, just looked up on IMDB. Kenan is out. No more! Yay!

    • angie

      they need their token black guy

  • The Blot

    This really bugs me, and I find the firing of these two hilarious comics shocking. SNL has been seriously lacking in female cast members the past few seasons and I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just add two new featured players instead of letting go two cast members, who have proven their comedic chops, for no apparent reason. SNL needs more female cast members, not less (or the same since they are losing two and gaining two new cast members this season).

    • Lord Desslok

      Michaela should have stayed but Casey absolutely had to go. End of story.

  • ble320

    Yeah, this sucks. Sad to hear about Casey, too. I really saw these two ladies as part of the future of the show. Too bad Lorne only cares what he thinks and not about the opinions of those who actually watch the show. All the best to Casey and Michaela.

    • andy

      those who watch the show generally hate casey. michaela was good though.

    • Name

      You took the words out of my mouth. I love and miss Michaela and Casey. I know that people respect Lorne, but he really only does care about his own opinion. Nasim and Jenny were amazing, but of course Lorne had to go and fire Jenny just because she made a little mistake. I love the new cast members this year (not as much Vannessa Bayer, no offence). Anyway back to the point, Michaela and Casey will be missed.

  • Robyn

    CASEY WILSON?! Just when you think SNL can’t get any worse. And you know, I felt like it was on the upswing with this new set of funny chicks. Casey Wilson. Damn. Bad, bad, horrible, terrible move, Lorne.

  • John

    I mourn the loss of Hoda. I thought for once SNL was going to have a girl-heavy year, especially now that the modern comedy scene is teeming with female talent (take THAT, Christopher Hitchens!)

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