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Taking a Heavy Toll on Me

Andy Samberg is reflecting on his decision to leave Saturday Night Live.

While on Kevin Hart’s Peacock interview series Hart to Heart, the comedian shared why he opted to quietly exit the comedy sketch series after seven seasons in 2012.

“I was falling apart in my life,” Samberg revealed. He described the decision to leave as “a big choice,” adding that although he didn’t want to go, he couldn’t “endure it anymore.”

Samberg joined SNL in 2005. After seven years, he decided not to return following the 2011-2012 season, officially announcing his exit a few weeks post-finale.

Even though he had dreamt of being on SNL since he was 8, things started to shift when his longtime friends and Lonely Island collaborators Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone left to direct films like The Watch and MacGruber.

The Lonely Island’s digital shorts gained viral success and became iconic SNL sketches, including “I’m on a Boat” and the Emmy-winning “Dick in a Box” with Justin Timberlake. But when Schaffer and Taccone departed, Samberg was left to create the shorts on his own. “We made stuff I’m really proud of in my last two years, but there’s something about the songs that I can only do with Akiva and Jorm. It’s just how it is, we’re just a band in that way,” he said.

Samberg also discussed the demanding schedule of the show, which eventually took a toll on him physically and emotionally.

“Physically, it was taking a heavy toll on me,” Samberg stated. “We were writing stuff for the live show Tuesday night all night, the table read Wednesday, then being told now come up with a digital short so write all Thursday, all Thursday night, don’t sleep, get up, shoot Friday, edit all night Friday night and into Saturday. Basically, four days a week you’re not sleeping, for seven years. So I just kinda fell apart physically.”

Before leaving, he consulted former SNL cast members who had already exited the show, including Amy Poehler. During a guest spot on Parks and Recreation at the time, Poehler told him, “It’s pretty comfortable Samberg,” highlighting the easier schedule.

Samberg spoke about the addictive nature of being able to bring their comedic ideas to life so quickly. “I had talked to Poehler and other people that had already gone. I was like, once I go, when I have an idea, I can’t just do it,” he recalled. “The craziest thing about working there is once you get going, if you’re just in the shower and you have an idea that shit can be on television in three days, which is the most intoxicating feeling.”

When asked to stay, Samberg said it made the decision tougher: “They told me straight up, ‘We prefer you would stay,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, that makes it harder.’ But I just was like, I think to get back to a feeling of mental and physical health, I have to do it. So I did it and it was a very difficult choice.”

Samberg reiterated that he had projects lined up before leaving, including another The Lonely Island album and a movie with Adam Sandler. But he felt, “even if it doesn’t go well, I got to do the thing I wanted to do” by being on SNL. “It was hard. I didn’t like leaving.”

Samberg went on to star on Brooklyn Nine-Nine for eight seasons. He returned to host SNL in 2014 and has made five other appearances since leaving.

Hart to Heart is available to stream on Peacock.

Source: Particle News