Saturday Night Live veteran Bobby Moynihan ’99 (SFA), one of UConn’s most famous alums, moved to Los Angeles recently to star in the new CBS sitcom “Me, Myself & I.”
(And if that weren’t enough change, he just had a baby girl with his wife, actress Brynn O’Malley!)
The show tells the story of Alex Riley in different phases of his life, weaving together three story lines: Alex as a middle-schooler (played by Jack Dylan Grazer), as a 40-year-old inventor (Moynihan), and as a successful 65-year-old retiree (John Larroquette).
On SNL, he was famous for playing such characters as Drunk Uncle, Second Hand Reporter Anthony Crispino, and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. In a phone interview, he talked about both shows, an influential acting teacher, and his occasional pilgrimages to campus for a certain craving.
You’ve had a lot of changes in your life recently. What’s it like to star in your own show?
It’s been wonderful. I got very lucky with great writers and great cast. We’ve been having a wonderful time. It’s a lot less stressful than my last job, so it’s great.
Is there a big difference in how much time you have to work?
SNL was a lot of crazy hours. It was every day pretty much for a couple months. This, not so much. This is very different. There are three different time lines so I don’t have to be there all the time. John and Jack take some of the brunt of that. It’s a lot less time as far as the hours go, so that’s been wonderful.
Why did you decide to do “Me, Myself & I”? What appealed to you about the role?
I’ve been doing SNL for about nine years. It was my life’s dream and I loved every second of it. It just felt like it was time to move on, but I hadn’t found anything that I liked. Then I read this script and I kind of fell in love with it. Dan Kopelman, the writer, did a fantastic job at writing a really funny and sweet script. It seemed like kind of a place where I was in my life right now, so I just went for it.
It must be refreshing for you to play a semi-serious role like that.
Yeah, it’s been great. It’s wonderful to not put on crazy costumes, but just put on jeans and a flannel shirt and be a dad.
What’s it like being a Hollywood transplant?
Everyone keeps asking about it. I’m not really sure yet because all I do is work and take care of the baby, so it hasn’t really affected me at all yet. There are nights, I assume, I haven’t really been outside in a while. (Laughs). It’s been great so far. I enjoy driving. There’s been a lot of traffic here, so that’s good. (Laughs).
Do you miss “SNL”?
Of course. I’ll miss it for my entire life. It was extremely hard watching it go on the first week back. It was crazy. It felt very bizarre. It’s like watching your ex-girlfriend sleep with somebody else.
Who was your favorite character to play on the show?
Drunk Uncle and some of the more obscure characters, like this character called Kirby and another one called Janet. Those were my favorites always to do. But it was more who you got to work with than the characters. I enjoyed doing stuff with someone like Bryan Tucker, one of the writers, and Colin Jost—just kind of pairing up with people. I had so much fun with Taran Killam and Mikey Day and those guys. It was a blast.
Why did you get into comedy? Were you funny as a kid?
I think I just needed attention more than anything. I enjoyed comedy growing up. I grew up on stuff like the “Muppet Show” and “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” Comedy has always been in my household—watching Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett. I grew up on it. I went to UConn for acting and then got out into the real world in New York. I ended up at the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy club. That place was the best. It was exactly what I was looking for.
In looking back, what are the experiences you had at UConn that have been most important in your career success?
Probably meeting (Professor Emeritus) Bob McDonald, one of my acting teachers, who kind of set me on the right path. He was always somebody who meant a lot to me and he was an amazing teacher. I learned so much from him alone and it made me realize there was a lot more out there than just straight acting. He taught me so much. I owe a lot to him. He was the best.
What was your social life like at UConn?
It was pretty great. I made a lot of very close friends at UConn that I still talk to today. One of my best friends, I see him all the time. We try and come up to UConn to get DP Dough (a calzone shop) when we can.
Have you been to campus recently?
I haven’t been by in a while. I did read the Daily Campus article saying they didn’t like my show. That was a shame. (Laughs). It happens, I guess.
When you were at UConn, did you do improv, stand-up, or plays?
I was an acting major. I did plays and stuff there, musicals mostly. We also did some little shows, more like end-of-the-year plays just for acting majors. I didn’t really do improv itself until I found the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Do you have any tips for students looking to get into careers in entertainment?
Work hard, find a place that you love, and find people who are like-minded and want to do the same thing as you. Spend as much time as you possibly can doing those things with those people and work as hard as you can at it. That’s what the Upright Citizens Brigade was for me—just finding a core group of friends who spent every night doing comedy under a grocery store in New York City.