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“It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point,” Hader tells The New York Times. “It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.'”
Hader’s final episode is this Saturday’s season-finale, hosted by Ben Affleck with Kanye West as the musical guest.
The move comes on the heels of THR‘s report that Hader has landed his first starring role in a film. Lawless, an indie comedy being produced by Mike White and David Bernad via their RipCord Productions, will shoot this summer.
The 34-year-old SNL player, known for such memorable characters as the nightlife-loving Weekend Update correspondent Stefon, follows former castmates Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg out the door. Since leaving in 2012, Wiig has pursued a career on film while Samberg will star alongside Andre Braugher in an upcoming Fox cop comedy from Parks and Recreation‘s Dan Goor and Mike Schur.
Fellow veteran Seth Meyers also departs after the fall season to prepare for the late February launch of Late Night with Seth Meyers.
As for Hader, the actor-comedian has balanced big-screen appearances with his regular gig on SNL. He had a supporting role in the Simon Pegg–Jason Bateman comedy Paul and a cameo in Men in Black 3, for example. Hader can next be heard as a voice in DreamWorks’ Turbo.
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