If you haven’t been catching this, the 38th season of Saturday Night Live, I encourage you to get to a television set tomorrow night at 11:30pm and put your watching glasses on, because there’s something strange and wonderful happening. Somehow, quietly, the women of SNL are making a comeback again. I won’t say that the female cast hasn’t been strong in the past, but it’s been a while since they’ve been such a collective of badassery. In recent seasons, there’s been one main star with other backup players (did you know there were other women on the show at the same time as Kristen Wiig??), but what I see it becoming now is an ensemble with a variety of different types. I don’t want to speak too soon, but what it really reminds me of is that beautiful time when Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and Kristen were all on the show together. Like this group of women, all those famous names brought something different to the table, and they were all used pretty much the same amount. ‘Twas a beautiful ensemble, and I’m getting the distinct vibe that it’s about to happen again, so hold onto your bee bonnets and come along with me.
Vanessa joined the cast in 2010 and spent two years as a featured player before moving up to repertory player. She’s the go-to for housewives and more suburban characters, but she can also bust out of her comfort zone for things like her Honey Boo Boo impression, above, and Kourtney Kardashian, Hilary Clinton, and Miley Cyrus. I think she flew under the radar a little bit because she was so similar to former cast member Abby Elliott, but it’s your time to shine now, honey boo boo, so get out there and get some moneeeeyyyyyy.
Nasim joined the show in 2009 and was also a featured player for two years before becoming a repertory player last year. She’s Iranian-American, and one of the only cast members in the show’s history to be born outside the United States. (Horatio Sanz is another.) It has nothing to do with how hilarious she is, of course, but her ethnic background gives SNL a way to do more varied impressions without throwing Fred Armisen in black face and a dress for every episode. Now we’re back to just the dress.
Aidy is one of the show’s three new featured players, and the one they’ve yet to really use for anything. She’s appeared as background in a few sketches, but they’ve yet to give her anything super meaty. Hopefully they do it soon, because I’m sure this Chicago-based improviser has a lot to bring to the table. Including her friendship with Vanessa Bayer, which you can see documented above because Hulu doesn’t have any other clips of her yet. Also, again, not relevant to her skill, but it’s nice to see a woman on the show who’s not stick-thin, especially considering all the guys they have who are out of shape. Put her in the game, coach!
Have I mentioned yet today that I’m in love with Kate McKinnon? Kate joined the cast earlier this year, and is still a featured player and the only openly-lesbian cast member the show has ever had. And she’s also UH-mazing. She does fantastic impressions, like Jodie Foster and Ellen Degeneres in the Bond Girls sketch above, and also makes me cry laughing, like when she went on Weekend Update as the woman who
restored destroyed that fresco. Kate’s in that perfect phase where she’s super super strong, but not being overused yet, so there’s still time for this to remain an ensemble.
Cecily is a new cast member this fall as well, and she’s done only slightly more than Aidy so far, and yet I’m already oddly obsessed with her. Like Nasim, she’s racially ambiguous enough that the show can use her for impressions that would’ve been vaguely offensive before, and are now free to be just straight funny. As long as they’re well-written, that is. (I’m looking at you, Tech Talk. Step up your game.) She hasn’t done too too much yet, but everything she has, she’s excelled at, so I’m ready to be her best friend whenever she is. You have my number. Or maybe you don’t, but you can get it.
So there they are. Your new ladies of SNL, and of my heart. Because I luff them. The only way I’d be happier is if Jay Pharoah was rocking a v as well, but I don’t see that happening, so I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with things the way they are. Which is still pretty damn awesome.