EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED: Vanessa Bayer, the longest-serving current Saturday Night Live female cast member, is exiting the venerable NBC late-night sketch comedy series after seven seasons, I have learned. Bayer, whose contract was up, joins another SNL veteran, Bobby Moynihan, who is departing after nine seasons. I hear Kenan Thompson, who is wrapping his 14th season on the show, is expected to stay on.
SNL had no comment, but Bayer confirmed her departure in a farewell note on her Instagram page, apparently with an assist from Colin Jost:
SNL is closing out its most-watched season in 23 years tonight with a season finale hosted by Dwayne Johnson with musical guest Katy Perry.
Bayer joined the cast of SNL as a featured player in fall 2010 and was promoted to repertory status two years later. Some of her most popular recurring characters on the show include Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, who appears on Weekend Update; Rebecca Stern-Markowicz, a co-host of J-Pop America Fun Time Now which celebrates Japanese culture; Rachel from Friends (which she once performed alongside Jennifer Aniston on Update); child actress Laura Parsons, and her latest creation, Weekend Update meteorologist Dawn Lazarus.
During her first season on SNL, Bayer broke through with her impression of Miley Cyrus, and has been a consistent presence on the show ever since, both in live sketches and pre-taped bits. Before SNL, she made a name for herself in Chicago as part of Second City and the long-running adult-oriented puppet show Felt.
Bayer was nominated for American Comedy Award for her work on SNL in 2014. She’s recurred on Portlandia and appeared in such movies as Office Christmas Party and Trainwreck.
Offstage, Bayer has lent her support to the Make-A-Wish Foundation — she’s a survivor of childhood leukemia, and as a teenager she and her family were sent by the charity organization on a Hawaiian vacation.
Here is Bayer as Jacob: