Saturday Night Live lost one of its brightest talents over the weekend. According to Mike O’Brien, Matt Villines – one half of directing duo “Matt & Oz” with Oz Rodriguez – died Saturday night after a long battle with cancer. Alongside Rodriguez, Villines served as the behind-the-scenes force behind SNL’s most hilarious and memorable pre-taped sketches since he joined the show in 2013 including “Sad Mouse,” “Back Home Ballers,” “The Jay Z Story,” “Grow-A-Guy,” and “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” among many others. Prior to SNL, Villines taught at Los Angeles Film School and made videos for Super Deluxe and Funny or Die. If you’d like to check out all the sketches Villines worked on, you can watch them over at the Matt & Oz Vimeo page. NBC has confirmed Villines was 39 years old.
Here’s just some of what his friends and colleagues have said since his passing:
On our left there is my good friend Matt Villines (of “directed by Matt & Oz”) lining up a shot for the Snl short, Monster Pals. I’m extremely sad to say he passed away last night. He was one of my favorite people. He taught me a ton about filmmaking and even more about being kind even when you’re stressed or frustrated or sick. I’m going to post a handful of photos of him this week and I hope those of you who knew him will do the same.
Mike O’Brien will be posting photos of Villines on Instagram all week, so keep an eye out there for more tributes in the coming days. In the meantime, take a few minutes to watch one of his most unique SNL contributions ever – the very bittersweet “Sad Mouse” starring Bruno Mars:
RIP Matt Villines, an incredible talent whose work at SNL will be sorely missed next season.
UPDATE: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Matt Villines,” Saturday Night Live said in a statement last night. “His talent, grace, and unerring comedic intelligence will be irreplaceable. Everything he touched, he made better; everyone he worked with, he made happier. We will miss you, Matt.”