Prior to the premiere of Saturday Night Live season 48, the late-night comedy show lost eight of its cast members, the biggest cast overhaul in a generation.
At the end of season 47 in May, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson opted out of the sketch series for the last time. Their departures were followed by Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari in the summer and finally Chris Redd in September.
A few weeks before season 48 premiered in October, SNL bolstered its ensemble with four new cast members who would join the show as featured players for the 2022-23 season: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.
According to standout Bowen Yang, it’s been “so seamless having the new cast members around.”
“They’re just such a burst of fresh energy and also something familiar in terms of how quickly they’ve become a part of it,” Yang shared The Hollywood Reporter. “I look around and I see Marcello, I see Michael, I see Devon, I see Molly, and I’m like, ‘Oh, these are my new friends.’ I feel like they’ve been here forever.” He added that they each also had big moments in the first few shows of the season.
Kenan Thompson echoed this sentiment, explaining that in the second half of the season, the four will already have a lot of experience. “It’s a lot, and I’m glad they have each other to come into the storm with,” he shared. THR. “They’ve navigated pretty well together.”
Mikey Day, who has been on SNL since 2013, thinks the new cast is “really cool,” but admitted it’s been an adjustment, sharing that it’s different but also exciting.
“I definitely miss my friends and seeing them every week, but all of our new cast members are really cool,” Day said THR. “[It] it feels like you bond very quickly with that show. In the summer you think: ‘We are having new children. Will it be the same?’ But then, a few days in, you think, ‘Oh ok, it’s that show again.’ So, you know, it’s fun. Every season you just keep going. You just laugh at it and everything starts to feel like the show.”
With regard to the new members, accession SNL has been an emotional experience where they have already learned a lot. Walker noted that he probably gets “foggy” about once a week thinking about being on the show. He’s also got some useful advice, which is that there’s always another episode coming, so it’s not worth taking anything for granted.
“The words I’ve lived by are to be patient and to work,” Hernandez said THR. “And I love Kenan and Colin [Jost] to be there and be the veterans who talk to you and give you good advice. So yes, I’m grateful.”
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.