During her seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, Vanessa Bayer was continually one of the most dependable cast members, able to nail impersonations like Rachel from Friends and recurring characters like Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy (who she says is her favorite character due to his closeness to her own personality). She tearfully wrapped her final season in May along with fellow alum Bobby Moynihan and, in a recent interview with THR, let us in on some SNL secrets, including why she left and what she stole from the studio.
Asked why she left the show, Bayer simply said, “It felt like it was time for me. I had seven seasons and just felt like it was time for someone else to do that job.” As for what’s next, she said, “I’m about to work on the film Ibiza in Eastern Europe and I’m really looking forward to exploring new projects and hopefully getting some sleep?”
“Something that never got on [the show] was that I would try to write these backstage sketches where I would go into the host’s dressing room and be really scary and aggressive to them because that’s not my personality,” Bayer said. “I’d say, ‘Hey, don’t step on my lines.’ I thought it would be funny that onscreen I’m really smiley, but behind the scenes everyone is really scared of me. It never got on because I think even me pretending to be scary is sweet and silly.”
Another character that was in contention to make it on the live shows was Dawn Lazarus: Weekend Update’s very own weatherwoman. “We tried [a] meteorologist in a couple of other sketches, like as a game show host earlier in the season, and it got cut twice. And then we wrote it as the weather lady, and it still didn’t get on. Colin [Jost] said, ‘You should try it as a Weekend Update feature.’ Literally, I had three shows left, and I was like, ‘OK, we’ll try it,’ and we did.”
Bayer also revealed that she stole and framed the Super Bowl “women’s activity pack,” which had a different twist every year, as well as the “Nuva Bling,” the “blinged-out Nuva Ring.” She also took Smiley, a doll that was used during one of her Miley Cyrus impersonations that bears a resemblance to the pop star.
Enjoy one of our favorite recurring sketches of Bayer’s in which she plays Vladimir Putin’s best friend, alongside Fred Armisen, below. We’ll miss you, Vanessa. If you ever want to stop by Studio 8H to reprise one of your characters, we’d be more than supportive.