Entering her third year at Saturday Night Live, Ego Nwodim (Saturday Night Live, Brockmire) has officially graduated from featured player to cast member, according to a Deadline report yesterday. NBC’s sketch comedy institution refers to its full-fledged cast members as repertory players and Nwodim is the most recent to join the ranks that consist of Emmy-nominated performers Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Bombshell), Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live, The Awesomes), and Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live, Kenan & Kel).
Nwodim was added as a featured player in 2018, ahead of Saturday Night Live’s 44th season, becoming the seventh Black woman added to the cast in the show’s history. Prior to Saturday Night Live, Nwodim could be seen preforming comedy at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater (UCB) where she played with the Harold teams 8 Babies and Rococo. She gained prominence at the UCB for her sold-out one-woman show Great Black Women…and Then There’s Me and was named among the New Faces honorees during 2016’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, via Deadline.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) September 21, 2018
According to her UCB biography, Nwodim studied Biology at the University of Southern California before pivoting to a career in comedy. “Ego put her pricey diploma in the recycling bin and started taking classes at the UCB Theatre,” reports UCB’s official site.
The choice to pursue comedy paid off for Nwodim, who has made a splash since her arrival on SNL with characters like Thirsty Cop and Le’vanka Trump in Them Trumps. In 2019, Nwodim shared a sketch she wrote with head writer Michael Che (Saturday Night Live, Michael Che Matters) and fellow featured player Chris Redd (Saturday Night Live, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) on Instagram. Nwodim was proud to see the sketch, which exemplifies her work both on and off screen at the show, brought to life by the SNL team.
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Once upon a time I had an idea and I got to write it with @chrisreddis and @chethinks and have Bryan Tucker lend his brilliance and have freaking Phoebe Waller-Bridge, @kenanthompson and Alex ‘Mof Man’ (not an approved nickname) Moffat, and Chris bring it to life with their incredible energy and timing, and have every single department at @nbcsnl do the damn thing to turn my lil idea into a reality. And that, my friends, is a run-on sentence, but also magic ✨
Featured players have been a fixture on SNL since the show’s third season in 1977, when Al Franken (Saturday Night Live) and Tom Davis (Saturday Night Live, Coneheads) were added into feature roles. According to Deadline, over the years “it has become customary for SNL to promote the featured players who have made it to their third year on the show.” Nwodim was the only feature player added in season 45, making her the only second-year player last year when Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens) and Chloe Fineman (Saturday Night Live, Search Party) were added as feature players.
Many prominent feature players on SNL – including Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids), Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street, The Hangover), Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and Tim Robinson (Detroiters, I Think You Should Leave) – never made it to repertory slots on the cast for various reasons. Nwodim celebrated making it past that threshold on social media yesterday. The comedian shared a slew of her friend’s congratulatory messages on her Instagram story, as well as tweeting the news from Deadline.
The rumors are true! And to celebrate I’m in bed with a heating pad :)) https://t.co/OamxLEMuDP
— Ego Nwodim (@eggy_boom) September 9, 2020
NBC has yet to make an announcement about the premiere of season 46, meaning it’s not entirely clear what Nwodim’s first year as a repertory cast member will look like, technically speaking. Due to COVID-19, the final stretch of season 45 episodes were shot remotely and dubbed “SNL at Home”. According to Variety, the Saturday Night Live crew is determined to return to their home 30 Rock’s Studio 8H. Nwodim herself expressed her strong desire to hug cast members on Instagram as season 45 came to its remote end. Deadline expects details about season 46’s production to be announced soon.
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