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Chicago Night Live: SNL officially adds two locals to new cast

It’s official: Chicago-rooted actor-improvisors Mike O’Brien (formerly of Second City) and Wilmette native/New Trier grad Beck Bennett are part of “Saturday Night Live’s” new cast. The show kicks off its 39th season September 28 on NBC. In addition to O’Brien and Bennett, Chicago-trained Cecily Strong will co-anchor SNL’s Weekend Update segment.

Mike O’Brien (right) in the closet with Tina Fey

Featured player O’Brien, a writer on the show for several years, effectively swaps spots with Second City alum and recent SNL addition Tim Robinson, who’ll go from performing sketches to penning them. O’Brien has gained some notice for his comedic web series titled “7 Minutes in Heaven.” (Warning: strong language), which features closet interviews (literally — they’re conducted in a closet) with such guests as Insane Clown Posse, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Elijah Wood.

Beck Bennett, via

Bennett, best known for his national AT&T TV spots, recently worried that his high-profile pitchman status might hurt his chances of landing non-commercial roles. “At this point, this is amazing. It’s like a dream job for an up-and-coming actor,” he told the Tribune in late August. “But I am also getting nervous. Sometimes, I’m like, ‘Oh, this good thing, is it really a bad thing for me?'”

Apparently not.