Nasim Pedrad is officially not coming back to SNL. You may have caught a glorious glimpse of this hilarious sprite once or twice annually over the past five seasons, but she’s not returning, and that’s a good thing.
Pedrad was criminally neglected by SNL. Like, you saw her as much as you see Christmas cards from relatives you don’t relate too. Last season we saw more of new cast member Beck Bennett than we saw of veteran Pedrad. (Not that we’re saying we didn’t enjoy Bennett’s man-baby shtick.) Nasim was never able to break out. When she did manage to sneak her way into a bit, she stole the scene. Who didn’t love the confidence she exuded as self-elected classroom spokesperson Shallon? She nailed the awkward confidence of motivational speaker Heshi, and proved herself a skilled impressionist with her Arianna Huffington. Even the most die-hard Kardashian fan girl shed a tear when Pedrad mastered Kim’s vocal fry for the “Waking Up With Kimye” sketches.
Leaving Studio 8H is the right move for her. Just look at the career surge of Jenny Slate, a former SNL player who got the axe after one year. (Pedrad left on her own terms.) Slate immediately upgraded to meatier, more rewarding roles on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Girls, and Hello Ladies. Then came the release of Obvious Child, a Sundance favorite, and Slate’s reincarnation was complete. Now the comedian has her choice of scripts, late night interviews, and walk-on roles. Pedrad deserves opportunities like Slate, and she’s already landed a role on John Mulaney’s new sitcom, Mulaney.
Pedrad may have been a supportive background player during her stint with the Groundlings, but bit roles don’t work for her. She’s too funny for that. Pedrad shines when she is given the space and time to fully immerse herself in a character. Shallon is her spirit animal: Pedrad can’t be stuck tap-dancing in the scenery for a smile while other players get the spotlight. Going back to SNL is beneath her at this point, like two-week-old milk is beneath me, unless I switch the cereal-to-milk ratio. I sincerely hope that Mulaney, takes off on Fox and that Pedrad gets her due. Homegirl has some serious talent to showcase. Nasim, get that candy.
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