So rumors are aflutter that this will be Kristen Wiig’s last season of SNL, as her contract is up this year. She has yet to confirm or deny this, but one can surmise that if she doesn’t leave now, her departure remains imminent. And while I will be completely devastated when she does leave, listening to her Monday WNYC interview on “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” had me in such a Surprise Party Sue state.
In case you didn’t know — which you may not, even if you are a big Wiig fan like I, because she is totally unassuming and her life story has yet to be circulated under “Kristen Wiig Tells All!” magazine headlines — it took her some time to get into show business. As she relates to Alec Baldwin, she started out studying art, after moving across the country from her hometown of Rochester, NY to the University of Arizona. “It was a boyfriend thing” she admits, nasally, and she ended up hating it. But as part of her curriculum there, she took a performance art class.
“I was terrified to take it because, like I said, I hate standing up in front of people and performing, but something about this class – we learned about improv, and my teacher was really supportive. At the end of the class he was just like, “Have you ever considered doing this?” and I was like, “No. Yeah, right.”
Shortly after she nevertheless packed up her car and moved to L.A., on impulse, to try the whole acting thing. But it didn’t happen immediately, or even fairly quickly. As Baldwin sums up, “You kind of move at a glacial pace, don’t you? It’s a slow motion epiphany.”
After languishing at lot of odd jobs (where one might speculate she gained inspiration for her many middle-aged, kitschy-sweater-wearing characters), she started taking classes at the Groundlings. She performed with the troupe for only a handful of months before she auditioned at SNL for Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Tina Fey, and Marci Klein, and eventually got the gig of all gigs.
Now, this woman, who hates being the center of attention and is still surprised at her own success, has been at SNL for seven years. Lorne Michaels has even credited Wiig with being “one of the top 3 or 4 cast members” in the history of the show. Then of course there was the ridiculous success of her film, Bridesmaids. Currently, she just wrapped a dramedy with Annette Benning and is sorta kinda deciding what’s next. An excerpt from Baldwin broaching the topic of leaving SNL:
Alec Baldwin: And, of course, you have absolutely no prospects whatsoever. It’s a really ballsy move on your part because who the F is going to hire you?
Kristen Wiig: I don’t know. I may go back to open up a canoe shop.
Alec Baldwin: Do you say to yourself that the goal, to the extent that you want to say or you can say, is the goal for you films? Do you like the long breaks and the more deliberate, thoughtful process of writing, and it’s less kind of factory work, like assembly line work, like TV can be?
Kristen Wiig: Yeah, I mean, temporarily. I don’t know. I don’t like the word ‘goal’ because I feel like those are always changing for me.
Alec Baldwin: You don’t like having goals.
Kristen Wiig: I don’t like having goals. That’s why I do what I do. I don’t know. I want to direct. I want to live in Paris and paint. I want to do a lot of different things.
Alec Baldwin: Seriously – you could live in Paris?
Kristen Wiig: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Alec Baldwin: And do what?
Kristen Wiig: I don’t know. Eat bread!
I don’t blame the lady. Sometimes you just need to unwind with a baguette. But jokes aside:
Alec Baldwin: I love that you’re so blithe about it, but in a healthy way, because that’s artistry to me.
Kristen Wiig: Oh, I never want to stop doing creative things, whatever they may be.
I, for one, am “SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED!” to find out.
Image source IMDb