Will Forte has just exited the cast of Saturday Night Live, according to the New York Times, which cites a source close to the show as saying his departure before the premiere of the show’s 36th season is “amicable and at the choosing of Mr. Forte.” Forte had been with the show since 2002, evolving from being that guy who inherited the thankless task of playing George W. Bush in Will Ferrell’s wake to creating several recurring characters of his own, like The Falconer, weirdo stalker Hamilton, and inept ESPN reporter Greg Stink. His most famous creation, of course, is the MacGyver-spoofing MacGruber, which just joined the rather ignoble lineage of failed SNL-to-big-screen movies this summer. When I spoke to Forte back around the time of MacGruber’s release, I asked him about the possibility of leaving SNL, and he had this to say:
“Well, I’m at the end of my eighth year, and you can’t do it forever. I have so much fun here, though. I love everybody I work with. It’s really like a family. I can’t imagine leaving. It’s weird. I know at some point I’ll have to leave, but I don’t really have any plan for that yet. Anytime you’re leaving, it’s going to be a crapshoot. You hope you have something to do afterward, but there’s no guarantee.”
The NYT does say that Forte “plans to pursue other projects,” although there’s no word on what those might be yet. Maybe now he can just be a full-time Jenna Maroney impersonator?