In case it wasn’t clear from the sweet sketch that closed out the show this year: Yes, Fred Armisen really is leaving Saturday Night Live. And he kind of figured you knew that already.
“I think it’s clear,” the comedian told Splitsider in a new interview when asked if his exit was official. “I didn’t do any kind of official announcement, but I really felt like it was obvious” after Armisen’s last sketch, in which he sang an evocative tune as punk rocker Ian Rubbish. Armisen called the segment “a love letter to all the music I grew up with, and also to my friends and to SNL and to Lorne [Michaels] and to the cast.”
Armisen said that leaving the show after 11 years “felt very natural,” partially because so many of its most senior cast members — including Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Bill Hader — had either left the previous year or were set to step down this past May. And then there was Portlandia, Armisen’s IFC sketch series: “Portlandia started to pull me away more and more, schedule-wise, and I just felt like it’d be nice to focus on it a little more and go into the fall a bit more with shooting,” he explained.
All in all, Armisen seems content with the way his SNL journey ended — perhaps because, in his words, “people who have left before me…never really quite left,” instead returning frequently to visit with the remaining cast.
And though he’s moved on, he’ll always have fond memories of his time in Studio 8H: “You write until 6 and 7 in the morning, all night, and you just look like a mess, and your hair is a greasy but you’re there and the sun’s coming up and you’re in front of this computer writing and laughing really hard,” he said. “And that is something that I really will always miss, and I just yearn for it, as far as Saturday Night Live.”
Armisen’s former castmate Bill Hader revealed in mid-May that he would leave NBC’s sketch show at the end of its 2012-3013 season. Around the same time, SNL‘s current Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers said that he would stay with the show until the end of 2013, when he will take off for his next gig: hosting NBC’s Late Night. Longtime cast member Jason Sudeikis is rumored to be leaving the show as well, though his exit has not yet been confirmed by NBC.