SNL has named a new cast member: New York City comedy scene stalwart Bobby Moynihan. E! Online is reporting, and sources from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater are confirming, that longtime UCB performer Bobby Moynihan is joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” this fall. Executive Producer Lorne Michaels presided over the final auditions showcase, held last week at the UCB Theater.
Both male and female performers auditioned for the longtime television institution, and insiders expected a female cast member to be named in anticipation of Amy Poehler‘s departure later on in the fall. (Poehler, who is expecting, will be joining the cast of the “Office” spin-off). Insiders speculate that an additional cast member may be named after her departure.
When Moynihan joins the “SNL” cast for their 34th season, he will have had plenty of practice working with the NBC crew. This summer he worked on “The Line”, an online video project funded by Lorne Michaels‘ production company, directed by “SNL” head-writer Seth Meyers, and starring “SNL” cast members Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis. Many Sunday nights he can be found in the converted basement of a grocery store, improvising with Amy Poehler, Meyers, and Sudeikis in UCB’s long form improv show “Asssscat”. He has also submitted scripts to the show in years past with his writing partner Charlie Sanders.
Moynihan has received some major industry attention lately thanks to his sketch group, Buffoons, featuring fellow UCB improv stars Sanders and Eugene Corderro. Comedy Central attended an industry showcase of their hit show “Never Gonna Give You Up” earlier this year. The group even blew away scouts from the 2007 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, landing them a coveted spot in the prestigious comedy showcase last July.
One of Moynihan’s best-known talents within the UCB community is his repertoire of black impressions – which, if they make it on air, may revive some old complaints about SNL. The show has always had a prickly relationship with critics over its hiring of black cast members – in February, it became big news when it was reported that the show was auditioning black comedians to portray Barack Obama (including UCB favorite and “30 Rock” writer Donald Glover, and “Stephen Colbert’s Black Friend” Jordan Carlos). In the end, they ended up using Fred Armisen — a non-black actor of mixed Caucasian and Asian descent — which generated some controversy regarding Armisen’s use of “honey” colored makeup (It should be noted here that Obama is multi-racial, after all; also, Armisen had previously played Prince, and fellow cast member Darrell Hammond had played Jesse Jackson, without complaint.)
One thing is certain; Moynihan’s arrival at 30 Rock is another huge milestone for the UCB Theater. As Rachel Sklar has frequently pointed out on Eat the Press, the UCB has become a leading training ground for comedy stars, not only on “SNL” but on “30 Rock”, (Jack McBrayer, Glover), “The Daily Show” (Rob Riggle, Kristen Schaal), “The Colbert Report” (Peter Gwinn) and MTV’s “Human Giant” (Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, Aziz Ansari).
UCBT Artistic Director Anthony King confirmed the hire, and said, “We are, of course, incredibly thrilled that Bobby is going to be on “Saturday Night Live”. He’s been a fixture and favorite at the UCB Theatre in NYC for many, many years now and it’s exciting to see him get recognized and rewarded for his ridiculous talent. He also has a great beard and we hope America gets the chance to experience that as well.” (Reprinted from The Huffington Post)