Thompson discussed Gillis, Leslie Jones' exit, his new castmates Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang and Alec Baldwin's Trump impression in an interview Tuesday with The Hollywood Reporter in advance of his record 17th season on Saturday Night Live. Thompson said he was happy to see SNL writer Bowen Yang promoted to featured player, making him the first Asian cast member. “I’m just sorry it had to be splashed in drama," Thompson said, adding that he had yet to meet with Fineman, but “seems like she’s going to be a great addition.” Asked about the opportunity for SNL to turn this awkward moment into social commentary, Thompson said: “I think they already made it. They put their stamp on there — which everyone would have assumed about SNL anyway — that we don’t tolerate abuse or disrespect of anyone, racial or otherwise. It’s just not conducive to a comedy show.” Asked about Leslie Jones' departure, Thompson said: "She’s one of a kind. I’m going to miss seeing my dear friend (on a daily basis)." As for the upcoming Season 45, Thompson said: “We’re all pretty anxious to get back to it because it’s going to be a pivotal election cycle. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re going to do with Trump. I don’t know if Alec (Baldwin) is tired of it yet. It would be nice to get a cast member up there, see a new impression and change it up. I enjoyed the Baldwin times but he has like 19 jobs — and he’s about to have another kid, which is why he has all those jobs."