Chicago's Chris Redd, Luke Null to be 'SNL' featured players

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Three SNL main cast members departed after the end of of last season, Bobby Moynihan after 8 seasons, Vanessa Bayer after 7, and Sasheer Zamata after 4.

Gardner and Redd have already had a fair deal of success in the entertainment industry prior to being cast on the program. However, the good news is that the Peacock Network perennial gained Heidi Gardner, Luke Null and Chris Redd for the fresh season.

The 2008 Lakota East High School graduate will be one of three new "featured players" starting Saturday, Sept. 30, when Ryan Gosling hosts the season premiere. Originally from St. Louis, Redd has been working in Chicago's comedy scene for more than eight years, leading him to land spots on Comedy Central Stand Up-Presents and most recently Netflix's pro-marijuana show Disjointed.

Gardner has been a member of the Groundlings, a longtime source of SNL hires, while also contributing to Crackle's Bryan Cranston-produced animated comedy SuperMansion. (Gardner is also cast in the upcoming McCarthy comedy Life of the Party.) Vulture rounded up a couple of amusing Gardner sketches here.

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Rounding out the trio is Luke Null, a musical comedian based out of Chicago. Besides the new cast members, "SNL" is undergoing a major shakeup behind the scenes with new writers, Sam Jay, Gary Richardson, Erik Marino, Andrew Dismukes, Steven Castillo, Claire Friedman and Nimesh Patel.

That's quite an eclectic array of writing talent to bring aboard SNL, and hopefully it helps the sketch series keep up the momentum they gained last season, which resulted in an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Sketch Comedy Series.

Jay-Z will be the musical guest for the season premiere Saturday (11:30 p.m., Channel 5, NBC).