Jason Sudeikis struggled to avoid giving a direct answer when Barbara Walters asked him point-blank if he’s leaving “Saturday Night Live.”
The answers Jason did give Walters, who grilled him about his “SNL” status when he appeared on “The View” on Thursday, indicate that Sudeikis can’t really seem to make up his mind between staying on the show that made him famous, or leaving to pursue new opportunities in movies and TV.
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His answers also indicated he’s not comfortable being asked about the situation either.
Sudeikis, 37, has long been rumored to be eyeing an exit from “SNL,” where he has been a regular cast member since 2005. A new round of rumors was ignited recently as “SNL” ended its season earlier this month and the show said good-bye to long-timers Bill Hader and Fred Armisen.
Their exits (only one of which — Hader’s — has been officially confirmed) revived the rumors about Sudeikis that first surfaced as long ago as spring 2012.
Back then — and again last fall when the new “SNL” season started — Sudeikis was rumored to be sticking around only through last fall’s presidential election, when he was called upon to play Mitt Romney in multiple sketches. But he wound up staying through the whole season.
Walters, 83 — always a journalist — wanted the truth about his status when he appeared on the show on Thursday.
His first evasive answer went like this: “You never leave the show,” Sudeikis said. “I really believe that. I think these last few weeks have shown that, you know, with Kristen [Wiig] coming back to host, Maya [Rudolph has] been back …”
“Yeah, but …,” interjected Walters.
“And then, you know, it never leaves you,” Sudeikis said, implying that if he leaves the cast, he’ll be welcome back any time, though that’s not at all a certainty for him or any other former cast member. “You take it everywhere. Will I be working there in the fall?” he asked — answering Walters’ question with a question.
“That’s what I’m asking you,” she replied politely.
“I feel honored to be getting hard-balled by you,” he said uncomfortably, though the question was hardly a “hardball” question.
“I don’t know,” he said finally. “I sincerely don’t know at this point.”
“Haven’t made up your mind,” Walters said helpfully.
“Yeah,” said Sudeikis, who then contrived an excuse related to the other cast members who are leaving “SNL.” “I gotta deal with saying good-bye to some near, dear friends that are definitely leaving and get that out of my head and go on vacation a little bit and mull it all over.”
“I hope you’ll stay,” Walters said, ending this line of questioning.
“I appreciate that,” answered Sudeikis, who sounded relieved. “If you’ll stay, I’ll stay! How about that?”