“Saturday Night Live” featured player Ego Nwodim. | NBC

‘SNL’ hires performer from L.A., three writers from Chicago

SHARE ‘SNL’ hires performer from L.A., three writers from Chicago
SHARE ‘SNL’ hires performer from L.A., three writers from Chicago

A comic actor from California will be the lone addition to the on-air team at “Saturday Night Live” when the NBC show begins its 44th season next week.

Ego Nwodim, a performer at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles, has signed on as a featured player, NBC announced Friday. Among her works in L.A. was a one-woman show: “Great Black Women … and Then There’s Me.”

“SNL” had an opening after parting ways with featured player Luke Null, a veteran of Chicago’s Annoyance and iO theaters who lasted one season on the show.

Behind the scenes, four new writers have been added to the “SNL” staff, three of them from Chicago: Alan Linic, Alison Gates and Eli Mandel. The other, Bowen Yang, hails from Brooklyn.

Linic is a teacher and performer at Second City, where he co-wrote and performed in the e.t.c. shows “Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno” and the current “Gaslight District.” With his wife, Claire Linic, he co-wrote a couple’s guidebook called “Our Perfect Marriage.” He is a self-proclaimed “video game geek.”

Gates is a member of Virgin Daiquiri, the long-running, all-female improv troupe at iO that also produced “SNL” stars Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong. In an August showcase of solo work at iO for “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels, head writer Colin Jost and other show heavyweights, Gates was a standout with her bits about a pilgrim re-enactor describing her awful life, a teacher humiliated by a fall in front of the class, and White House advisor Stephen Miller.

Mandell has performed with Trash Daddiez at iO, Little Gary at CIC Theater and the “Improvised Star Trek” podcast, where he plays Rip Stipley. The characters in his exceptional iO showcase included an ill-tempered politician and a provincial gentleman named Ezekiel frightened to see a movie for the first time.

Fall brings a promotion for another former Chicagoan, Alex Moffat, who moves up from featured player to the main cast in his third season. Among his many roles on “SNL,” Moffat plays an addled Eric Trump and a smug Guy Who Just Bought a Boat. Mikey Day and Melissa Villasenor are moving up with him.

Adam Driver will host the season premiere on Sept. 29, with musical guest Kanye West.

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