Chicago-rooted actors recall auditions for ‘Saturday Night Live’

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Tis the season to audition — for NBC’s Saturday Night Live.” And, as usual, there’s been plenty of scouting in Chicago and beyond.

Recently, the New York Times published an oral history that includes SNL audition remembrances from 22 current and former cast members. Several of them — Seth Meyers, Tim Meadows, Fred Armisen (who was in a Chicago-based band), Rachel Dratch and Cecily Strong — have local roots. Here’s some of what some of them had to say.

Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch

I didn’t get it that year [of her first audition]. They hired Horatio [Sanz], Jimmy [Fallon] and Chris Parnell, and they said: “We’re not taking any women this year. But maybe next year.” I was at peace with it.

Tim Meadows, via

Tim Meadows

Lorne [Michaels, creator of SNL] just asked me about myself. Where did you grow up? What kind of stuff were you interested in comedically? I told him I was a big fan of “SNL” and Monty Python, and Second City and Mel Brooks. Being an African-American, I think I may have surprised him that I was influenced by those things.

Seth Meyers

They flew me all the way back to New York to meet with Lorne. I realized later that he was doing a final personality vet. He said, “Do you think you can live in New York?” And I thought, “Does anyone blow it at this stage?” Does anybody get this far in the process, and then is like, “It’s definitely New York? Well, if you guys can’t be flexible on that, I’m not sure if I can be flexible on that.”

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