Andy Samberg Says ‘SNL’ Took a ‘Heavy Toll’ Prior to Exit: ‘I Was Falling Apart’

Andy Samberg is detailing his “Saturday Night Live” exit more than a decade later.

The sketch series staple joined the ensemble cast of the show in 2005. He exited in 2012 after seven years on the show. While Samberg admitted leaving was “a big choice,” he couldn’t “endure it anymore” due to the grueling work schedule.

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“I was falling apart in my life,” he said during Kevin Hart‘s Peacock talk show “Hart to Heart” (via The Hollywood Reporter). “Physically, it was taking a heavy toll on me, and I got to a place where I … hadn’t slept in seven years, basically. 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. So it’s basically like four days a week you’re not sleeping, for seven years. So I just kinda fell apart physically.”

Samberg added that after his “SNL” collaborators Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone also left the show, he took on their roles for the viral Lonely Island short films.

“I was basically left in charge of making the shorts … I never pretended like I could do without them,” he said. “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.”

Samberg, Schaffer, Taccone, and fellow “SNL” alum Seth Meyers now co-host the podcast “The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast.” Samberg shared that he also looked to other former “SNL” cast members for guidance prior to exiting the series.

“I had talked to [Amy] 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 said. “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, like, intoxicating feeling.”

Samberg added that “SNL” executives asked him to extend his contract after 2012.

“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 like mental and physical health, I have to do it,” he said. “So I did it, and it was a very difficult choice. It was hard. I didn’t like leaving.”

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