Start the SNL rumor mill! Meet John Milhiser, Noel Wells, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett

The second I saw this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine piece about former Saturday Night Live stars recalling their SNL auditions, I knew we’d be off and running with the rumors about who passed their auditions and final interview tests with Lorne Michaels.

And before I could type, “Whoa, Nellie,” Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva was first to hit her buzzer with four potential new cast member names: John Milhiser, Noel Wells, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett.

The wording of Andreeva’s post last night was precisely vague enough — “emerged as top candidates” and “heavily rumored to land the coveted SNL spots.”

So what more is there to say just yet?

UPDATED Aug. 23!¬†Nobody is denying the news — furthermore, Splitsider and others are reporting that SNL has hired Good Neighbor troupe filmmaker Dave McCray (further cementing the whole Good Neighbor is the new Lonely Island at SNL theory), as well as promoting Michael Patrick O’Brien from writer to featured player.


O’Brien grabbed a few moments of screen time last season as the doorman for the Five-Timers Club in the sketch welcoming host Justin Timberlake to the club (nothing for Ben Affleck that same season, but he’s now Batman, so Go Argo Yourselves!). And O’Brien has been a laugh-out-loud stand-out this summer improvising at the UCB Theatre in New York City. Not to mention his on-camera chops proven over the past two years with his interview webseries, Seven Minutes in Heaven. In case you want to throw a new name into the debate for Weekend Update chair in 2014!

John Milhiser performed last month at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival in the New Faces Characters showcases, and certainly set himself apart with his energy and stage presence. His video character reel also boasted impersonations of Owen Wilson and Johnny Depp.

Noel Wells performs sketch at the UCB in Los Angeles, writes and animates for, and has made videos of herself as Zooey Deschanel and Michele Bachmann, among other characters. Wells came to Los Angeles from Austin. Here is Wells as Deschanel.

Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are members of a Los Angeles sketch group, Good Neighbor. I’ll let you join the tens of millions who have watched their Good Neighbor YouTube videos and decide if they and their quartet are SNL’s new version of The Lonely Island.

They don’t have much recent posted on YouTube because they’ve been dealing with Comedy Central of late, but like a Good Neighbor, Good Neighbor’s videos are still there!

And if you feel like you’ve seen Beck Bennett a bunch on your TV this year, that’s because you have. He’s the wise straight man in the suit in the AT&T commercials sitting at the little kids table with the youngest of schoolkids. Bennett spoke with The Daily Beast about his AT&T gig earlier this year.

When there’s more to say, I’ll be sure to say it.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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