Published on September 17th, 2013 | by Sarah Day Owen
SNL’s new cast members, including a Dubuque native
After some upheaval of past ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members (Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg left in 2012, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis departed in May), the popular sketch-comedy show announced some new members. That includes a Dubuque native, Brooks Wheelan.
From The Register: “Wheelan, who wrestled for Dubuque Hempstead High School in the mid-2000s, is relatively unknown outside of Los Angeles, where he’s done stand-up for the last few years. But he’s contributed to College Humor, and Comedy Central included him in last year’s list of the Top 10 artists to watch.”
USA Today’s description:
Where you’ve seen him: Not a whole lot is known about this L.A.-based writer, other than the fact that he was named to Comedy Central’s top 10 artists to watch list last year, and previously served as a contributing writer on College Humor.
How he’ll fit in: He is said to be joining the SNL writing staff alongside Mikey Day and Claire Mulaney, so it’s difficult to know whether his role will be larger on or off screen. Regardless, the guy certainly has charisma, so he should do just fine in either capacity.
More from Wheelan:
Where you’ve seen him: You probably know him best as the guy who chats with cute kids in AT&T’s popular “It’s Not Complicated” commercials, a role that’s very similar to his own web series, Fresh Perspectives, in which he interviews children about current events. The Illinois native studied acting at the University of Southern California, and formed the Good Neighbor sketch group with fellow newcomer Kyle Mooney, Nick Rutherford and filmmaker David McCary.
How he’ll fit in: While he’ll probably start out playing straight man to some of the more outlandish characters, Bennett also seems like the perfect candidate to join Cecily Strong on the “Weekend Update” news desk.
Where you’ve seen him: A member of the New York-based Serious Lunch sketch group, the Brooklyn-born comedian got noticed with his Step Up movie parody, Clap It Up, and an office-friendly take on the twerking craze. Featured on both the Tonight Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Milhiser — with fellow Serious Lunch comedian Tim Bierbaum — also runs the “Baguette-Me-Nots” blog which places baguettes into everyday photographs.
How he’ll fit in: Although he tends to play the quieter, mousier types in sketches, Milhiser has shown tons of promise with his parodies and impersonations. Expect him to fill the roles left vacant by Hader and Samberg.
Where you’ve seen him: He’s guested on TV series such as Wilfred and Parks and Recreation, and was a writer for the first season of Comedy Central’s Nathan For You. A University of Southern California graduate and Good Neighbor member like fellow SNL newbie Beck Bennett, Mooney has also conducted a number of painfully hilarious interviews for Jimmy Kimmel Live segments.
How he’ll fit in: The guy is an expert when it comes to weird voices and outlandish accents, so SNL would be wise to let him showcase his abilities. Mooney definitely has the potential to create some unusual characters, much like Armisen and Will Forte before him.
MICHAEL PATRICK O’BRIEN
Where you’ve seen him: O’Brien has been writing for SNL since 2009, but is finally getting his chance to step in front of the camera as a featured player. Although he’s made an appearance on Portlandia, he’s primarily known for his awkward interviews with celebrities on his “7 Minutes in Heaven” Web series. During these short episodes, O’Brien chats with (and eventually kisses) celebrities while inside a closet, with everyone from Connie Britton, Amy Poehler and Elijah Wood dropping in for segments.
How he’ll fit in: He’s a bit tough to call, as his résumé essentially consists of writing for SNL and appearing on his Web series. It’ll be interesting to see how he brings his gawky, goofy charm to the sketch-comedy format.
Where you’ve seen her: Wells has not only appeared in many College Humor videos, but also has a flourishing YouTube channel of her own. Her most popular Web series sees her impersonating Zooey Deschanel, and you won’t want to miss her lip-syncing to Britney Spears’ Toxic in the shower (it’s not what you’d expect). She’s been a performer at Los Angeles’ Upright Citizens Brigade, and has appeared in indie films such as Forev and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon.
How she’ll fit in: SNL currently has some great female comedians in Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant, but Wells should have no problem making an impression with her wry, often raunchy brand of humor. While she makes a fine Zooey, we’d love to see more of her Dana Brody impersonations with Homeland returning this fall (or maybe some Carrie Mathison to switch things up?).