After a tumultuous 2013-14 season, when SNL introduced a slew of new faces in the wake of the departure of a number of key long-time cast members, the veteran sketch comedy steadied the ship in its better received 40th season punctuated by the highly rated anniversary special in February. SNL introduced just one new featured player at the beginning of last season, Pete Davidson, joined a couple of episodes later by Leslie Jones, who was promoted from a writer. (SNL also introduced a new Weekend Update co-anchor, Michael Che).
Heading into Season 41, there are no cast departures and no changes behind the Weekend Update desk. 25-year-old Rudnitsky is the only new featured player addition, though the series is still in the process of hiring writers who have the potential to become cast members as was the case with Jones, among others.
Rudnitsky is a stand-up comedian who got his start in high school and later won the 2012 Laugh Factory’s Laugh Bowl college comedy competition. Last month, he was part of the 2015 New Faces lineup at the Just For Laughs festival.
The New Jersey native Rudnitsky, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s acting program, has the improv background that many SNL cast members share, having performed with The Groundlings. He also is a writer, which is a requisite for SNL performers, and he has penned and starred in several viral You Tube vides, which would likely be put to use at SNL, the program that helped usher the era of late-night viral videos with the Lonely Island digital shorts.
Here are Rudnitsky’s True Detective and #Selfie parody videos, both of them watched more than 1 million times, as well as a sample of his stand-up and Groundlings work. He is repped by CAA and Management 360.
#DICKPIC parody of #SELFIE song by The Chainsmokers.
Rambling Waiter skit @ Groundlings