BREAKING: Eastchester’s Bobby Moynihan joins cast of ‘SNL’
There are some people you meet and you just know they’re going to be famous someday.
So when Eastchester’s Bobby Moynihan told me recently that he would be joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” this fall, I wasn’t really surprised. After all, I’ve known him for almost 20 years and he’s always been the funniest guy in the room.
Not surprised. But really, really excited. And soon, the rest of America will know why.
I met Bobby when we were students at Eastchester Middle School. My earliest memory of him involves Mr. Donahue’s after-school computer club, when he recreated his family car — affectionately known as “The Jalop” — on some crude Apple program and deliberately made the aerodynamics as craggy as possible so he could achieve the worst possible score in the wind tunnel. Even as an eighth-grader, he was wickedly funny.
We’d often team up in the spring and summer for high school and Eastchester Youth Council’s theatre productions, respectively. He’d often play the comic relief, of course, in roles ranging from The Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” to Alfie Doolittle in “My Fair Lady,” but he was equally brilliant as a dramatic actor. In an EHS production of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” Bobby reveled in the lead role of R.P. McMurphy — the part Jack Nicholson made famous — and captivated everyone in the cast and the audience.
After studying acting at the University of Connecticut, Bobby trained and toured with New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and became a standout performer with several house teams, most recently with The Stepfathers. I took classes at UCBT partly because I saw how much fun and success he was having on its stage. In the year-and-a-half that I delved into the city’s underground comedy scene as a mediocre student, I came to appreciate his true talent for making something so difficult look effortless.
In addition to appearing in viral Internet videos, he’d pop up on TV: voicing the character of Rabbit on the short-lived Fuse animated comedy “Empire Square”; being beat up in a fight bit for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”; or hamming it up here and there in commercials for ESPN.
Last year, after my friend Katie and I had attended a taping of “Late Night” at 30 Rockefeller Plaza — where “SNL” is filmed — we ran into Bobby on the streets of Manhattan. He had just auditioned for “SNL.” He was generally pleased with his audition, but the subsequent writers’ strike couldn’t have helped his chances to make the show. For the abridged 2007-08 season, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Nonetheless, his film career picked up in the year that followed. On a train ride, he raved to me about being a part of the ridiculously amazing cast for “This Side of the Truth,” for which he got to work with one of his idols, Ricky Gervais, and play his personal assistant. And then I learned, through Variety no less, that he would be playing the best friend of Josh Duhamel’s character in “When In Rome.”
Earlier this month, Bobby got the call to audition for “SNL” again. And last Wednesday, Bobby said, Lorne Michaels himself called to give him the news he’d been waiting more than a year to hear. Bobby told me he spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on a nearby park bench, in total disbelief.
But those of us who have known him probably weren’t so surprised. Congrats, Bob!