featured on "In Our Words: A Salon for Queers and Co."
Live! From New York—it’s Saturday night!
As of May 19th, we will never again hear Kristen Wiig yell that phrase to kickoffSaturday Night Live—besides as the guest host she will inevitably be. The thirty-eight year old actress, writer, and comedian left the cast of SNL after seven seasons on the long-running sketch show. Anyone that’s been in love knows that you always want what’s best for someone—even it if it means saying goodbye. So, I am excitedly cheering Kristen on to the next chapter in her career, but with tears in my eyes.
Wiig, who attended the University of Arizona, originally began her comedy career with a touring group called “The Groundlings”. She is 5′ 5,” born on August 22nd 1973, has blue eyes, and no—I’m not in love with her, but I do want to be her. You know those awkward ice-breaker questions like, “If you could trade places with a celebrity who would it be?” There’s hundreds of variations of them. Kristen is my go-to answer. I make her work for any of those questions. If I could have any superpower, what would it be? The ability to be as funny, as awesome and as cool as Kristen Wiig. As a slightly less widely known star (for now), using Kristen as my answer makes me seem like a hip, feminine comedy connoisseur.
My sophomore year of high school, my friends and I performed her original “Surprise Party” skit for the school talent show. Without even being able to get through one rehearsal without bursting into laughter, we performed it for a full auditorium of the worlds’ harshest critics—our teenage classmates. I have no idea why playing Sue—the character in the skit that desperately cannot keep a secret for a surprise party—sounded like a social “in” to me, but people loved the skit. I had students asking me to quote the “Oh my Godddd…” line up until graduation. That’s how I made a name for myself in high school. (The fact that my older brother before me was the popular all-star athlete might also have had something to do with it.) But the presence of a skit was demanded from us for every talent show thereafter and I was proud of what we did.
From then on, my friends and I worshipped all of Wiig’s characters. She continued to have the most quotable and hilarious sketches. Whether they be the weird facial expressions Gilly made or “Sexy Shanna’s” voice, bits of those skits worked their way into our everyday dialogue. I would often find myself quoting something in public. To anyone that hadn’t seen the skits, my random outbursts of “I’m so freakin’ excited!” were odd. But on occasion, someone would recognize the citation and I was automatically cool. Like I said, appearing as a comedy genius was all I wanted people to receive from their first impressions of me.
Another reason I love her so much is that she uses her entire body to be funny. When she’s wildly waving her legs around while getting it on with John Hamm inBridesmaids? The “Gilly” dance? I have always been tall and what my father so lovingly termed as “gangly.” I love that Wiig is not afraid to use her body and look like a complete idiot for the sake of being hysterical. When my aunt gave me The Best of Gilda Radner DVD for my birthday, I remember being so happy that I had found a woman on TV with curly hair frizzier than mine—and wasn’t a cartoon character. Her sketches with Bill Murray and big glasses were hilarious to me.
I love women in comedy because I think a lot of people are surprised when they purposely make fools of themselves. More than that, it is clear they love what they do—plus, they’re getting paid for it. SNL and the world of comedy had long been dominated by testosterone before women like Gilda, Tina, and Amy came along (need I even use their last names?). Now Kristen, having appeared in over 600 sketches, been nominated for three Emmy Awards, and written her own feature film, can proudly add her name to that list.
While I am excited to see what is next for Kristen, using her as my answer for “person I’d most like to eat lunch with” will start to no longer mean the same thing. Bridesmaidshas been labelled the “female” Anchorman—Wiig is about to get mega-big. She will no longer have the side, comedy relief roles like in Knocked Up or Adventureland. She’ll be the one everyone knows—and wants to have lunch with. While I know she couldn’t have eyes for only me forever (maybe I am in love with her…), I will be a little bit sad to know she’ll become involved in much larger, full-scale endeavors (Maybe like Tina and Amy before her, she’ll even have a baby!)
This is not some hipster lament about how she is “selling out” to Hollywood—because she’s not. Wiig is about to be the next big thing in comedy and I look forward to following the rest of her career. Coming from the once fourteen-year-old gangly girl who made a fool of herself on a high school stage attempting to be funny, I couldn’t be happier for her. More important than conveying an image, having Kristen Wiig in my life placed me amongst a community of people that also enjoyed the type of comedy and entertainment I did. So, thank you for everything, Kristen, and good luck.
P. S. I love you.