Saturday Night Live fans may still be mourning the loss of Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Abby Elliott, and (maybe/maybe not) Jason Sudeikis from the venerable late-night sketch series, but three promising fresh faces are set to enter the halls of Studio 8H to fill their comedic voids.
SNL overlord Lorne Michaels announced Monday that newcomers Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong will join the cast as featured players this year and make their late-night debuts on this Saturday’s season premiere (hosted by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane with Frank Ocean as musical guest).
Like many of SNL’s most celebrated vets—Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch—Bryant is an alum of the Second City improv troupe, as a member of the Second City E.T.C. stage. She trained at iO Chicago and performed at Chicago’s Annoyance Theater. Her comedic sensibility makes it seem that she could pick up right where Kristen Wiig left off. Her slightly off, yet still helplessly adorable “entrepernerd” in this clip, “Short Squeeze,” is reminiscent of the Bridesmaids star’s quirkiest characters.
As The New York Observer points out, Bryant represents a “first” for Saturday Night Live: she’ll be its first plus-size female cast member. In this slightly more unusual comedy clip, “Let’s Share,” she proves particularly gifted at physical comedy, while exhibiting a refreshing lack of vanity.
Robinson also hails from the Chicago comedy scene, where he performed with Second City. He also appears in at least one episode of CBS’ midseason comedy Friend Me, which stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad’s McLovin) and is set at the headquarters for a Groupon-like deal website. Judging by this trailer for a sketch comedy series called My Mans, his style is very John Belushi-ish—over the top, fully committed, and almost dangerously energetic. (Robinson actually starred in a My Mans pilot for Comedy Central, which was eventually declined.)
He also seems perfectly suited for SNL’s famed commercial parodies. “Missed Connections,” for example, mocks the Missed Connections section of the Craigslist website, on which romantics attempt to locate strangers they felt a romantic attraction to, but were too afraid to approach in public. He enters about halfway through the clip as man at a bus stop whose attraction to a female on the bench next to him quickly becomes unsettling.
Strong also comes from—you guessed it—Second City, where she was a member of the national touring company. Her gift for accents is on display in “The Real Quebec,” in which she plays the city’s worst tour guide. (“Some Quebec history: Here lives the biggest slut in Quebec.”) The character could easily be the focal point of one of SNL’s typically more bizarre sketches that air at the tail end of each weekend’s broadcasts.
The other major clip featuring Strong floating around the web also proves what a natural fit she’ll be for the show. A fake commercial for a feminine product called “Douche 2 Go,” the clip is as outlandish and uncouth as recent ones for “Annuale”—a medicine that allows women to have only one, albeit dramatic, period a year—and “Neutrogena Coin Slot Moisturizer,” for women wearing low-rise jeans.