First there was the underrated Paul Brittain, dipping mid-season and, tragically, taking “Sex” Ed Vincent with him. Next came Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, two SNL giants saying good-bye in proper fashion before heading off to post-Oscar-nom-glory and “who really knows? Hopefully Hot Rod 2?,” respectively. Following in their footsteps out the door at Saturday Night Live, most had assumed, would be Jason Sudeikis, who’d already clocked nine seasons at Studio 8H (that’s counting two in the writer’s room) and had been busy turning his particular brand of charming smugness into Hollywood paychecks for the past few years now. Most recently, he’d told the L.A. Times that he’d return if he got “the opportunity to use creative muscles that … haven’t been asked of me for the first nine years. It could be some sort of title change … [It’s a] desire to give more to a place I really believe in. To stay just for the juice of being in the public eye — of [impersonating] Mitt Romney — is not enough.” But guess who’s beaten Sudeikis to the punch? Why, it’s Abby Elliott!
As Splitsider reports, Elliott — both a historically young SNL-er, having joined at the age of 21, and the show’s inaugural second-generation-er, thanks to pops Chris Elliott’s brief stint on the show — is not coming back. Word is that this was Elliott’s choice; seeing as she doesn’t have a big new project she’s jumping to, that’s slightly surprising. But she does have a grip of small roles in Hollywood flicks to her name, plus her own web series, The Assistant. Plus, as THR explains, Elliott “first indicated she wouldn’t return to the series in February when she nabbed the lead in Fox’s comedy pilot Ben and Kate, a role that was later recast with Dakota Johnson. (Fox ordered the comedy to series in May.)” So maybe Elliott had already made the decision to split and didn’t feel like going back on her word? Maybe the infamous rigors of the show — the highs of getting your sketch on the air! the lows of not getting your sketch on the air! — burned her out? Maybe she’s about to announce a new action franchise with Vin Diesel in which she plays a college professor fighting evil Illuminati forces, and we should all just sit still and wait for that to happen? Whatever the case, all the best to you, Abby. You, and your Zooey Deschanel impersonation, were always there for us.