Ego Nwodim didn’t wear a costume for Halloween this year. But she did dress up as a bridesmaid.
The “Saturday Night Live” star was on the West Coast last week, and preparing to report for a close friend’s wedding in Palm Springs. The show was on a brief hiatus following its season 47 kickoff last month, and the actress was enjoying a slower-paced week. “When we don’t have work I feel like I’m floating through the days and it could be any day of the week,” she says. “We just did a four-week run, which is wild.”
The new season is off to a strong start with guest hosts including Owen Wilson, Rami Malek, Kim Kardashian West, and Jason Sudeikis. The cast is energized by the presence of a full studio audience, after airing with limited capacity during most of last season. “I feel like people might have felt this at home — for the 20th episode, the finale, we had a full audience, and it was palpable,” Nwodim says.
The 33-year-old actress joined the show in 2018 as a featured player, and was promoted to the main cast last year. In addition to acting, Nwodim has contributed as a writer for to several pieces that have aired this season. In the opening episode, she appeared on Weekend Update as A Black Woman Who’s Been Missing for 10 Years. “[Colin Jost] brought the idea to me right before the season started,” says Nwodim. “We wrote it together, with Colin largely taking the reins and me pitching jokes with him.”
She hopes to contribute to more Weekend Update pieces, although “you have to strike while the iron is hot,” she says. “And sometimes stories you might want to do come up during the summer or when we’re on a lengthier hiatus. Everyone at the show is constantly mining life, pop culture, news, for ideas.”
Nwodim also co-wrote and starred in a sketch for the fourth and most recent episode, hosted by “SNL” alum Sudeikis. She acts opposite the “Ted Lasso” star in a parent-teacher conference sketch that takes a steamy turn. “It felt really collaborative,” she says of working with Sudeikis on the flirtatious bit, which she wrote with Will Stephen. “It was cool to have a host who knows the place — and isn’t intimidated by the place — be so vocal and helpful.”
Nwodim knows a sketch has landed when “the internet tells me,” she says. And the internet seemed to like the salacious scene, which culminates atop a desk. “Anytime I can feel proud of my work or performance, for me, that’s a success,” she adds. “And then [a sketch] is definitely successful — or it’s icing on the cake — if it resonates with audiences. And they let me know by tagging me.”
During the show’s extended hiatus between seasons this past summer, Nwodim was able to star in several other screen projects, including the Alison Brie-led indie comedy “Spin Me Round” and an episode of the second season of HBO series “Love Life.” Nwodim’s episode was released Thursday.
“In general, I gravitate toward anything where I can be funny, but as a consumer myself, I enjoy dramedies,” she says. “Slice of life and dramedies are the pieces that I most gravitate toward, because I think that’s life — life is not all drama, nor is it all comedy. That type of work is really important to me. And I’m a sucker for rom-coms, so I’m excited to be in pieces that have romantic themes throughout.”
Several of the “SNL” stars have been making a play for the fashion-comedy genre. Castmates Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman starred in Christian Cowan’s “Fashion Thing” video for fall 2021, and this past September, Nwodim sat front row at Staud’s runway show (as did Larry David).
“It’s nice with fashion to be like, oh, I get to take ownership of my look,” says Nwodim, who worked with stylist Chanel Smith for her fashion week appearance. “Because we do wear such incredible costumes [on ‘SNL’], and we are embodying other people and figures, it’s nice to say, OK — I get to be me in this way, and this is me expressing myself. And so I want people to get a sense of that, too, because they’re so used to seeing me in costume.”
“SNL” returns this weekend, hosted by “Succession” star Kieran Culkin, and Jonathan Majors and Simu Liu are on deck for the month ahead. As for who Nwodim would like to see host, she doesn’t hesitate in her answer. “Jamie Foxx. I love Jamie Foxx, and I think he’s such an incredible performer and is so talented at everything that he does,” she says. “That’s my forever answer. He has hosted before, but I wasn’t there. So I’d like for him to come back.”
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