Earlier this summer, Jason Sudeikis became the most recent cast member to leave “Saturday Night Live,” following in the footsteps of Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, not to mention Seth Meyers leaving at the end of the year to take over “Late Night” from Jimmy Fallon as he moves to “The Tonight Show.” That left four cast member spots to be filled, and it sounds like producer Lorne Michaels has his picks ready, along with a fifth cast member who has been working behind the scenes on the show for awhile.
Deadline reports their names are Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Noël Wells, John Milhiser and four-year writer Michael Patrick O’Brien. And like most talents who make their way to “Saturday Night Live” nowadays, you might not know their name, but you’ve probably seen them around on your TV, or at least the Internet. Let’s break down the new cast members now…
Beck Bennett is the most recognizable face from this group. Why? Because he’s the only adult in the room in those adorable AT&T “It’s Not Complicated” commercials asking little kids various questions with cute results. The commercials alone are evidence that he’s good with on-the-spot comedy, but he’s also a member of the iconic Upright Citizens Brigade theater (as are the rest of the top candidates) and the improv troupe Good Neighbor. Here’s a taste of their brand of comedy:
Speaking of Good Neighbor, Kyle Mooney is also in that comedy group. You might remember Mooney as Norm Macdonald’s clueless, nerdy nephew on the sadly short-lived Comedy Central series “Sports Show with Norm MacDonald.” Here’s Mooney in action from the show:
Meanwhile, the new female cast member Noël Wells is quite the impressionist. One of her finer pieces of comedy should seem familiar to “Saturday Night Live” fans. Wells does a pretty amazing Zooey Deschanel, and since Abby Elliott is no longer around, she might be able to revive “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel” as a recurring sketch. Wells also writes and animates for Cracked.com, but here she is as Deschanel:
John Milhiser has been featured in the Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival and according to his bio, Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is a fan of his work. In addition, Milhiser says he “gets rather involved playing a teacher at a fifth-grade musical performance, a flight attendant for JetBlack Airlines, and the worst co-worker to encounter on the subway.” Here’s a reel of impressions includes Owen Wilson and Johnny Depp:
Finally, Michael Patrick O’Brien has been writing for “Saturday Night Live” for four years, so he’s pretty seasoned with the show, and Michaels decided now was the time to put him in front of the camera. O’Brien got his start at Chicago’s iO and Second City, and you might already recognize him because he co-hosts the popular web series “7 Minutes in Heaven” where he interviews celebrity guests in a closet. Here’s his interview with Seth Meyers, which shows that he might be a good choice to replace the comedian at the Weekend Update desk in case any other cast members or writer John Mulaney aren’t up to the task:
So there you have it. Some hit and miss stuff, but there’s a lot of potential here, and leave it to Lorne Michaels to find the best talent as he’s consistently done for nearly 40 years now. There’s been no official announcement regarding their casting in the show yet, but this kind of leak is how word always gets out. We’re very interested to see how these new talents work with the remaining cast members.
How do you like these new cast members for “Saturday Night Live” this season?
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