And Monday morning, NBC released the names of the six featured players for the new season: North Shore native and AT&T ad star Beck Bennett, Second City alum
O'Brien, who joined "SNL" as a writer in 2009, was a regular presence on local stages (performing under the name
You can get a sense of O'Brien's wonderfully offbeat sense of humor from his web series "7 Minutes in Heaven," in which he interviews celebrities (such as Fey and Jon Hamm) while standing next to them in a cramped closet.
Five years ago it was O'Brien's Andy Kaufman-esque solo show ("Shatter" at Second City's e.t.c) that got him noticed and cast shortly thereafter in Second City's mainstage in "America All Better," which ran from 2008-2009. Both the Second City revue and his solo turn showcased his tendency to upend audience expectations, often playing terribly polite characters who were also vaguely hostile. That kind of approach can be incredibly subversive in the right hands, in the right show. He has sharp observational skills offset by an almost innocent persona. It will be fascinating to see how this quality is put to use in front of the camera.
Lastly, another recent Second City veteran, Tim Robinson, will shift from featured player to the writing staff. Though a standout at Second City, his talents were underutilized during his first year on "SNL."
Earlier this summer, Chicago native and iO performer Claire Mulaney was brought on as a writer for "SNL" as well; her brother John Mulaney has been a writer on the show since 2008.