In true 21st-century comedian style, Brooks Wheelan announced his departure from Saturday Night Live on Monday night with a Twitter joke that's turning heads:
Had a blast and loved every second of it. I'm totally honored to be able to make this next joke... FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!
— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) July 14, 2014
The shakeup isn't exactly surprising given the recent turnover in the SNL cast. In the last two seasons, SNL has lost the likes of Kristin Wiig, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Seth Meyers, and executive producer Lorne Michaels admitted the series would be entering a "rebuilding" period.
Wheelan's firing is the first casting change to be announced since the end of SNL's 39th season back in May — but considering Michaels' comments, it seems likely that it won't be the last. SNL added eight new cast members before last season, each of whom enjoyed varying degrees of prominence and success on the show. To figure out who else might be on the chopping block, Vulture analyzed the impact of each of the eight newbies, taking into account number of sketch appearances and how integral the cast member was in those appearances.
As you can see, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are the clear winners, and Vulture foresaw Wheelan's demise even back in May. According to their research, John Milhiser seems to be next in line for a trip to the boss' office — but we'll just have to wait and see what other news comes out in the coming months. To make your own guesses in the meantime, read the rest of Vulture's analysis here. Kimberly Alters
The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks charged that the U.S. has spent the past eight years or more spying on Japanese cabinet officials, banks, and other companies, the BBC reports. The National Security Agency apparently targeted at least 35 Japanese telephone numbers, including those linked to the Bank of Japan, Mitsubishi, and government ministries and offices. The U.S. allegedly snooped on discussions on trade, climate change policy, and nuclear policies. The U.S. also allegedly got intel on a confidential briefing that took place in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's residence.
The Chinese capital, which also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, was selected by the International Olympic Committee on Friday as the official host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing will be the first city ever to host both a Winter and Summer Olympics. Almaty, Kazakhstan, was the runner-up for the 2022 Games.
Human rights activists are angry with the IOC's decision. "There is no hope that China would make any more progress on human rights than it did with the 2008 Games, and in fact things have declined radically since then under [President] Xi Jinping," John J. MacAloon, a University of Chicago historian, told the Los Angeles Times. Critics also contend that Beijing is "burdened by a host of major environmental and logistic issues, including air pollution, extreme water scarcity, and a dearth of high mountains and natural snow." Ben Frumin
On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Greenpeace USA was in civil contempt due to protesters blocking a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland, Oregon, for the Arctic. She also fined the organization $2,500 for each hour of the demonstration.
— KOIN News (@KOINNews) July 31, 2015
Throughout the day, protesters dangled from the St. Johns Bridge and activists in kayaks and canoes blocked the Fennica in the Willamette River. The goal, The Oregonian reports, was for the demonstrators to delay the ship for so long that it would lose a year of drilling work. The ship did have to turn around earlier on Thursday, but it later returned and law enforcement cut the lines of the protesters on the bridge, making a hole for the Fennica to squeeze through at around 6 p.m. The last demonstrator came down soon after. "It was tough to see the boat go through there, but every second counts," protester Razz Gormley said. "I consider this a victory." Catherine Garcia
After asking a diner to take her crying toddler outside and being told to "f—k off," an Australian chef and restaurant owner decided the time had come to ban children under the age of seven from eating in his establishment.
Liam Flynn, who has operated Flynn's in Yungaburra, Queensland, for 14 years, shared the news in a Facebook post, which was met with both enthusiasm and disappointment. "We've had mums and parents who feel that it's just outright discrimination, but it's mostly been positive,” he told Business Insider. "I've had a lot of support. ... There are a lot of parents out there who understand where we're coming from."
Over the past weekend, it became clear he made the right decision: Flynn's had its best Saturday and Sunday ever in terms of sales. "Business is booming," he said. "People are spending up large, drinking fine wine." It's important to note that while children under seven are asked to stay home, dogs of any age are welcome at Flynn's any time. Catherine Garcia
Rapper and actor Ice T has a voice that's instantly recognizable — as long as you've sat through at least one Law & Order: SVU marathon, you know it when you hear it. Thanks to The Tonight Show, we now have an idea of what it would have sounded like if he had voiced some of our favorite cartoon characters, including Papa Smurf and Grumpy Bear. Sure, they're a whole lot edgier than they were originally, but only a Care Bear voiced by Ice T could get away with talking about turning a Roomba into a bong. Watch the clip (which has some strong language) below. Catherine Garcia
It looks like Donald Trump won't be giving away rides on his luxurious, ultra-classy helicopter in Iowa any time soon.
After initially telling The Daily Mail that he was going to attend "The World's Fair," the GOP presidential candidate clarified on Wednesday that he was really planning on flying his chopper out to Iowa for the state fair. "I'm going to try giving kids lifts in the helicopter," he said. "You know, young kids. Yeah! If I can do it — if I'm allowed to do it. ... It'll be magnificent."
Unfortunately for Trump, it's going to remain a magnificent dream. A spokeswoman for the fair told the Des Moines Register that Trump has not asked for permission, and if he does, he'll be denied. "He is welcome to land his helicopter anywhere outside the grounds and take people on rides or whatever he would like to do," she said. "But that will not be happening on Iowa State Fair grounds." Catherine Garcia
It may have felt hot where you were on Thursday, but unless you spent time in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, you have nothing to complain about.
Probably the most incredible ob I've ever seen. Bandar Mahshahr, Iran today: Temp: 109F (43C) Dew Point: 90F (32C). pic.twitter.com/Lb2AsDAtK0
— Anthony Sagliani (@anthonywx) July 30, 2015
The temperature there climbed to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, but the humidity made it "feel like" it was 154 degrees, meteorologist Anthony Sagliani tweeted. It cooled off a bit overnight, but on Friday morning at 6:30 a.m., it was already 88 degrees and feeling like 108, the Weather Channel reports. It's supposed to hit 116 degrees later in the day, so keep the people — and air conditioners — of Bandar Mahshahr in your thoughts. Catherine Garcia