saturdaynightlivehopefuls

After 41 seasons and 808 episodes, the behind-the-scenes shuffles of “Saturday Night Live” have become somewhat predictable. Which is why, every few years, we all know that talented on-the-verge-of-stardom players like Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah (both six-year veterans) will be jettisoned in favor of new blood. While several other impressive “SNL” comedians remain (like Cecily Strong, Bobby Moynihan and Aidy Bryant), Lorne Michaels is likely studying audition tapes at this very moment in hopes of finding the next Belushi, Sandler, Eddie Murphy or Kristen Wiig.

With that in mind, we thought we’d give a shout-out to a few prospective members of the new blood. These comedians have the humor, skills and raw talent to become not-ready-for-primetime, and if “SNL” would give them the chance they  might just have what it takes.

RELATED: ‘Saturday Night Live’ airs funny, edgy ‘Racists for Trump’ campaign video

Nate Bargatze

First off, he has something none of the current “SNL” cast members possess: A dry sense of humor. Not strange (like Kyle Mooney), stoner (Pete Davidson) or manic (like Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon and others), but instead a smart, observant style. Bargatze also is southern, which would bring a unique flavor to the mix.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Bargatze gets a shot, as he performed on Jimmy Fallon’s Clean Cut Comedy Tour in 2013, worked with the “Tonight Show” host on a sitcom pilot, and has performed on “Tonight” multiple times. When it comes to Lorne Michaels, Fallon seems like he’d be a heck of a referral.

RELATED: Relive Jay Pharoah & Taran Killam’s best ‘SNL’ sketches

Erica Rhodes

With a background as an actor in indie movies and a radio talent on “A Prairie Home Companion,” this 30-year-old Massachusetts native has already established a diverse set of skills. On the surface, she seems cute and ditzy and a bit like a modern-day Betty Boop — but she can turn on a dime and show some real brains behind her act.

Rhodes has spent the last few years honing her stand-up skills, and seems like she could be a valuable player in the Gilda Radner/Victoria Jackson/Cheri Oteri mode.

Kevin Barnett

One thing “SNL” has lacked in recent years has been a true edge. Barnett could go a long way towards solving that problem, in a funny, endearing way. Over the years, he’s earned the approval of folks like Chris Rock and Mike Birbiglia, and his material in bits like “Black Wolverine” are uproarious, profane and truth-telling in the Richard Pryor/Eddie Murphy/Rock tradition.

Aunty Donna

Remember the “SNL” tradition of making funny, subversive videos? Albert Brooks used to do it, so did Adam McKay, Robert Smigel and perhaps most famously: Lonely Island. We’re kinda, sorta thinking that Mooney does it now — but since none of them are memorable, it’s hard to tell.

Instead, Michaels would be smart to check out this insane Australian comedy troupe who has been dominating YouTube with their material since 2012. First off, imagine how refreshing it would be to get some international talent into the “SNL” gene pool. Secondly, with Killam and Pharoah gone, it would be a good chance to balance out the suddenly female-dominated cast. And thirdly, watch the video below and see how easy it is to imagine this as an “SNL” breakout:

John Early

Once again, when re-stocking the “SNL” talent pool it’s important to bring in funny people with different skills than the current cast. Early is unique in too many ways to count — and hilarious in just as many. Much like the comedians above, he seems perfect for the national spotlight of “SNL,” where years of hard work could finally make him an overnight star.