Aidy Bryant Opens Up About Her Decision to Leave ‘Saturday Night Live’

Michael Che, with Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang on SNL
Will Heath/NBC

The Emmy-nominated actress and comedian Aidy Bryant has explained why she stepped away from Saturday Night Live after 10 years, revealing that she would have left a few years earlier if not for COVID.

In a recent interview with Variety, the Shrill star said, “If it weren’t for COVID, I probably would have left a few years earlier. But it was such a huge change. When COVID hit, it was so jarring that we were all like, ‘I’m definitely going to come back next year.'” She continued, “And then I had to shoot Shrill for half of last season, and so I missed a lot. And then it was like, ‘Well, now I should go back one more.'”

“I kept trying to seek one last normal year,” she added. “This year wasn’t the normal year that I hoped for, but it was closer to that. It was like, ‘OK, it’s really time now.’ And 10 felt like a nice, solid round number.”

Bryant began her run on the long-running sketch show beginning in season 38 and bowed out at the end of season 47. Her exit came at the same time that her SNL co-stars, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, and Kyle Mooney, announced their resignations.

Describing the moment she told producer Lorne Michaels of her decision to leave, Bryant said, “I was scared because I feel close to him and so grateful to him. I didn’t want it to come off like I was leaving angrily. I am leaving with so much love. He was like, ‘I understand, and it makes sense for you.'”

In recalling her final sketch, during the Weekend Update segment, Bryant explained, “I was worried I was going to really crack it wide open and fully be crying. It felt very joyful, and I felt incredibly fortified by having Bowen [Yang] and [Michael] Che next to me because they know me and know how considered this was for me to go.”

Saturday Night Live, Season 47, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC