on comedy

Former SNL Star Noël Wells Has Some Harsh Words for the ‘Comedy Dinosaurs’ Over at Studio 8H

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Imagesfor SXSW

When Noël Wells joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player in 2013, the comedian and actress’s stint — though peppered with some truly memorable impressions — ended nearly as soon as it began, with Wells’s contract ultimately not getting a renewal for a second season. She has since achieved success by starring in Aziz Ansari’s very good Netflix series Master of None, but while she’s happy for the nurturing experience the late-night sketch series provided her, she’s quick to acknowledge that “the establishment” might not be a great workplace for other comedians of her ilk. “I think telling SNL that they have to accept us is just going to water us down,” Wells told Vanity Fair about her and her fellow short-lived alums. “We’re much stronger doing our own things. Don’t we want to make rock n’ roll? Why are we all trying to be accepted by all these comedy dinosaurs? SNL has become what it was always trying to make fun of. It’s become this big machine. I don’t want to be plugged into a machine.”

Along with Wells, other cast members who were quickly cut from the show — such as Jenny Slate and Michaela Watkins — ended up having their careers prosper when they left the rigorous confines of NBC. “Of course you want to go through that because you want that stamp of approval,” Wells said of her SNL experience. “But it has its own identity, and our voices didn’t mesh for whatever reason; or they decided we didn’t belong. I think a lot of us would have liked to keep trying and have our own voices shine through.” Don’t tell Lorne this very reasonable opinion!

Former SNL Star Noël Wells Criticizes Its ‘Comedy Dinosaurs’