‘SNL’ Adds 6 New Cast Members – Are Fans in for a Rocky Season?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 16th, 2013 at 9:34 pm,

seth meyers snl late night SNL Adds 6 New Cast Members   Are Fans in for a Rocky Season?

Live from New York, it’s a bunch of people you’ve likely never heard of before. That’s a bit cruel, but it’s also accurate – once again, Saturday Night Live is filling out their roster of featured players with unknowns in the hope that their energy and the enduring faith that fans have in both the institution of SNL and the genius of Lorne Michaels will carry the show through this latest transition.

That’s probably a safe bet when one considers how many times the show has been through this kind of changing of the guard, but adding six cast members is a pretty sizable shakeup, and as always, there are people who will wring their hands about this new group while mourning the loss of the old, as they always do.

So, who are these fresh, young tomorrow stars who are about to enter the SNL cocoon of comedy fame (yes, in some ways, Chris Farley was made into a delicate comedy butterfly by SNL… respect the analogy)?

Both Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are members of the sketch comedy group, Good Neighbor (alongside Dave McCary and Nick Rutherford). You may not have heard of them, but they are in talks with Comedy Central for a show, so perhaps Bennett and Mooney will pull double duty (ala Fred Armisen and Portlandia) should that come to pass.

Bennett’s also the guy who conducts market research type roundtable interviews with a group of school children in those AT&T ads, thus putting him at mortal odds with Hader, who is now doing a series of T-Mobile ads, among other things.

Noel Wells is the only new female member of the cast. She has a ton of YouTube videos featuring different characters like Zooey Deschanel, much in the same was that Jay Pharoah did back when he was added to the cast. Wells also has some darkly hilarious sketch work on there, like her take on the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl trope (Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl) and the above video, wherein she delivers the sad news of Steve Jobs’ passing to Siri.

Also joining the cast are Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser, and Mike O’Brien. Wheelan is actually not a sketch veteran, but rather, a stand-up comic.

Milhiser, on the other hand, is an Upright Citizens Brigade alumnus who created the Step Up parody short, Clap it Up, which co-starred Marcia Gay Harden and former SNL alum Melanie Hutsell, and featured a rag tag group of teens rebelling against society one high adrenaline high five at a time. It was also produced in concert with Lorne Michaels’ YouTube channel, thus possibly explaining how Michaels got to know Milhiser.

Mike O’Brien also has a familiarity with Michaels, in that he has been a writer on SNL since 2009. You may also know him from his 7 Minutes in Heaven web interviews. Kinda seems like a guy who could eventually have a role on Weekend Update, though for now, Seth Meyers will work alongside existing cast member Cecily Strong, who will sit in as Meyers’ co-anchor, a post still vacant since Amy Poehler left the show. Meyers – who is also SNL’s co-head writer – is expected to leave the series sometime in the fall to focus on his new gig, succeeding Jimmy Fallon as the host of Late Night.

To bolster the writer’s room, former featured player Tim Robinson is transitioning to a behind the scenes role. Colin Jost and Rob Klein will handle head writing duty.

lorne michaels kristin wiig SNL Adds 6 New Cast Members   Are Fans in for a Rocky Season?

Through the past transitional phase in the mid-2000s and throughout the growth of now departed stars like Hader and Kristen Wiig, Meyers’ pen has been a constant, and while it’s helpful that he’ll be around through the early part of this season, others are going to have to step up to help flesh out and define the show’s new voice.

Because of these departures and untested arrivals, this is a borderline scary time for SNL fans, but the obituaries have been written before. The bottom line is, SNL has survived almost 40 years because of its adaptive nature, comedic instinct, and the ability to develop new talent. Unless those things have suddenly disappeared, it is likely that the show will lean on veterans like Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, and Nasim Pedrad. Eventually, one of the new players will rise to the top, and eventually find their way, surviving the onslaught of doubt and criticism yet again, because that is what this show does.


Saturday Night Live premiers on NBC on September 28, 2013.

Source: EW, The New York Times

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. “The bottom line is, SNL has survived almost 40 years because of its adaptive nature, comedic instinct, and the ability to develop new talent.”

    And NBC’s never ending love of beating a dead horse.

  2. Even the ‘bad’ cast years were good.

  3. “Are fans in for a rocky season?”


  4. You realize that they always add people you’ve never heard of to the cast? (Except for the mid for those three seasons in the mid 80’s, I know, but that raised issues) It’s not a bad thing, it’s finding fresh talent who are at the top of their game. Nobody starts out famous.

    Also, I have some insider info that Tim Robinson will still be a featured player, while becoming a full-time writer. Very much in the same vein of Michael O’Donoghue or Al Franken in the late 70s.

    • Correction made, thanks.

  5. They added the AT&T guy who does the commercials with the kids

  6. I remember Bill Hader mentioning in Bill Simmons’ podcast that Tim Robinson is funniest writer on SNL and reminds him of Will Forte.

  7. Beck and Kyle are apart of “Good Neighbor Stuff*” Not “The Neighbors”

  8. 6 new cast members is a lot. It’s going to be a little rough until the new members find their footing but I think it’ll be interesting to watch either way. :)

    • I agree. The show’s durability is amazing.

  9. Bring back Martin Short, add Emo Phillips.

  10. When has being funny been a requirement to be on SNL? The show hasn’t been humourous for more than 10 years

    • There’s always this type of guy when it comes to SNL

  11. “the show will lean on veterans like Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, and Nasim Pedrad.”

    3 maybe 4 years apiece makes them veterans? If you add up all their years on the show, it still doesn’t equal Darrell Hammond, Tim Meadows, or a Kenan Thompson’s time spent on the air!

    I’m excited to see some new talent. Hopefully, the new cast lights it up and we don’t have to pray for Justin Timberlake or Melissa McCarthy to host on a weekly basis.

  12. I lost interest in SNL sometime around 1994. Patrick Stewart was the guest host and I laughed only once during the entire show. So, that meant 99% lameness. It wasn’t so much the cast — it was the material that was sad. Instead of readjusting the cast there should be a cleaning of the writers every now and then! And Al Frankin sucked all the time as his skits were always terrible!