Saturday Night Live/Season Thirty-Four
Season Thirty-Four of Saturday Night Live premiered on September 13, 2008.
In October 2008, leading up to the US Presidential election, three half-hour specials were aired entitled Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday. The specials essentially extended Weekend Update to thirty minutes with a focus on political satire timed to the presidential election.
In addition to the specials, the season premiered two weeks earlier than usual, allowing them to squeeze in two extra regular episodes before the election and start the season with four consecutive episodes as they did when they returned post strike in the previous season. As a result, the season will have 22 total episodes—the most since the second season. The extra episodes together with the Thursday night specials will give this season more new content than any season save the first.
All cast members from the previous season returned, with the addition of Bobby Moynihan as a featured player. Weekend Update co-anchor Amy Poehler announced that season 34 would be her last after word surfaced that she was cast as the star of Parks and Recreation, a new sitcom helmed by The Office developer Greg Daniels.
Poehler said she would leave the cast either after the presidential election or the birth of her baby, whichever came first, and gave birth hours before episode 6 went live—two weeks before the election. Pretaped bits for that episode and the Presidential Bash were to be her final appearances as a regular, but she unexpectedly reappeared in the December 6 episode as Hilary Clinton and on Weekend Update. She continued to appear until the end of 2008. During Poehler's maternity leave, Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins were added as featured players. Elliot is the daughter of former SNL cast member Chris Elliott.
This season saw the departure of veteran cast member Darrell Hammond, who had been a cast member in the series since 1995, as well as the firing of two featured players, Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins for undisclosed reasons.
- Fred Armisen
- Will Forte
- Bill Hader
- Darrell Hammond
- Seth Meyers (Weekend Update anchor)
- Amy Poehler (Weekend Update anchor) (Last Show: 34x11)
- Andy Samberg
- Jason Sudeikis
- Kenan Thompson
- Kristen Wiig
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