Casey Wilson backstage at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 2013
|Born||Cathryn Rose Wilson
October 24, 1980
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, comedienne, writer|
Cathryn Rose "Casey" Wilson (born October 24, 1980) is an American actress, comedienne, and screenwriter, most widely known for starring as Penny Hartz in the ABC comedy series Happy Endings. She made her first major television appearances as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, spending two seasons on the show from 2008 to 2009.
Early life and background
Casey Wilson was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, along with her younger brother, Fletcher Todd Wilson, an engineer. She graduated from T. C. Williams High School in 1998 and studied theater at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She is of Irish and Italian heritage.
Wilson's parents both worked in politics, she credits her politically opposed parents (her mother was a Democrat, her father a Republican) in shaping her sense of humor while growing up, "having no choice but to hone a well-developed sense of humor in a blue-state/red-state, forever-clashing political household". Her father, Paul O. Wilson, is a political strategist and consultant who runs campaigns for Republican party candidates. Her mother, Kathleen Anne "Kathy" Wilson (née Higdon), was a women's rights advocate and served as the chairwoman of the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) throughout the 1980s. Under Kathy's leadership, the NWPC endorsed Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election. Kathy retired from politics in the late 1980s, switching to a career in early childhood education, she served as the director of Alexandria's Abracadabra Child Care and Development Center preschool since 1991. Kathy died of heart failure at age 54 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on September 1, 2005. Casey and her family continue to run "The Kathy Wilson Foundation", a charitable organization honoring her late mother's work in helping children with special needs.
Wilson's passion for performing began at an early age, stating that her first memorable exposure to theater came when her father took her to New York City to see a production of Cats, inspiring her to create her own plays. When she was nine years old, her father built her a homemade stage in the family's backyard, where she put on plays with other children from the neighborhood. From there, she started taking singing and acting lessons as a teenager. She would also become heavily involved in her high school's theater program, directing and starring in many of the school's plays and musicals, including a production of The Sound of Music, where she played the lead role of Maria.
While studying theater in college at the "Stella Adler School of Dramatic Arts", Wilson had originally set out to be a serious actress, she was selected as "best dramatic actress" in her class, but later started to consider comedy at the suggestion of an acting teacher. After graduating from NYU in 2002, Wilson and her best friend from college, June Diane Raphael, began studying improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City, where they would eventually run their two-woman sketch show for a number of years. Performing the long-running stage show opened doors for them as writers, after performing the show at the "U.S. Comedy Arts Festival" in 2005, they were hired by New Regency Pictures to write the film Bride Wars and landed a development deal with UPN to create a sitcom pilot.
Wilson started her comedy career writing and performing with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) in New York and later in Los Angeles. At UCB, she was a member of The Harold improv teams "Mr. and Mrs. All-Star", "Sentimental Lady", and "Hey, Uncle Gary!". Among her best-known work at UCB, was the long-running two-woman sketch show "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet", written and performed alongside her comedy partner and best friend June Diane Raphael; the stage show ran from 2003 to 2006 in New York and Los Angeles and was an official selection at 2005's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. The two women, who had first met in a clown class during their sophomore year at NYU, went on to win the ECNY Award for "Best Comedy Duo" in 2005. Their writing partnership has since branched out into film and television, they co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 comedy Bride Wars, which they also appeared in with supporting roles. They had a development deal with the UPN network in 2005 to create a half-hour comedy pilot and in 2007 they worked as writers and story editors on the Americanized version of Creature Comforts on CBS.
As a film actress, Wilson made her debut as an acting student in the final scene of the 2006 Christopher Guest film, For Your Consideration. She has since appeared in such films as Julie & Julia, Claire's Cambodia, The Guilt Trip, Killers, The Brothers Solomon, Freak Dance, The Great Buck Howard, as well as in the Bob Odenkirk-directed short film Derek & Simon: A Bee and a Cigarette. She also co-stars with Jonathan Groff in the upcoming comedic drama C.O.G., written by David Sedaris. Wilson is a frequent contributor to the popular humor website Funny or Die, writing and starring in many viral videos for the site, including a series of political parodies where she plays Callista Gingrich.
Wilson continues to collaborate with writing partner June Diane Raphael on scripts for film and television, they have worked on numerous script rewrites for films in development, such as projects with Anna Faris and America Ferrera attached to star. Recent scripts in development they have worked on include the Universal Pictures comedy The Bachelorette Party and the romantic comedy You Complete Us, produced by Endgame Entertainment. In 2012, their scripts for Walk of Shame and The Housewives were sold to ABC and being developed by Sony Pictures with Will Gluck attached as producer. As writer-performers, Wilson and Raphael also continue to generate material for themselves. They most recently wrote and starred together in the raunchy female buddy comedy Ass Backwards, which also co-stars Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, and Vincent D'Onofrio. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2013.
Wilson continues to remain active as a theater and stage actress. She joined the rotating cast of the Off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron) at Manhattan's Westside Theatre throughout January 2010. She also contributed short stories to the 2010 book Worst Laid Plans, based on the long-running stage show, in which she co-starred in. In 2011, Wilson and June Diane Raphael created their newest comedic stage show The Realest Real Housewives, which they starred in alongside Jessica St. Clair, Melissa Rauch, Danielle Schneider and Morgan Walsh. The show ran monthly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles throughout 2011.
Wilson currently stars as Penny Hartz in the ABC ensemble comedy series Happy Endings alongside Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally and Damon Wayans, Jr. The show is currently in its third season. A breakout role for Wilson, she was nominated for "Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series" at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards for her work on season two of Happy Endings. Wilson continues to make many guest appearances on television programs such as Bored to Death, Burning Love, Comedy Bang Bang, How I Met Your Mother, Human Giant, NTSF:SD:SUV::, and Retired at 35, as well as recurring voiceover roles in the animated comedy programs American Dad!, Glenn Martin, DDS, and The Life & Times of Tim.
Saturday Night Live
After auditioning in late 2007, Wilson was hired in January 2008 to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, succeeding departing cast member Maya Rudolph. However, due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, she did not make her first appearance as a cast member until the show returned in February 2008; she was the first new addition to the cast in over two years, and was also the first SNL cast member to have been born in the 1980s. Wilson's most memorable work on SNL included celebrity impressions of, among others, Rachael Ray, Elizabeth Dole, Elizabeth Taylor, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Aniston, as well as original characters such as Dusty Velvet; "the paralyzed stripper", and Toni Ward; co-host of "The Cougar Den". After spending two seasons on SNL, Wilson was let go from the show before the start of the 2009–2010 season. When asked how she felt about her recent SNL departure in an October 2009 interview, Wilson said: "My mindset is good. I did it for a year and a half. I don't think it will ultimately define my career. And it wasn't the best fit for me."
Notable characters on SNL
- Dusty Velvet, a paralyzed strip club dancer who is only able to perform her "erotic moves" with the assistance of Donnie (played by Ashton Kutcher) the strip club emcee. Before joining SNL, Wilson often performed this act at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and other "alt-comedy" venues under the name Mandy De'tour. She had also performed the sketch after being cast as an ensemble player on the 2007 Fox late-night sketch comedy pilot The Right Now! Show, as well as eventually showcasing the character as part of her SNL audition.
- Nora Maharelle, part of the singing sisterly quartet The Maharelle Sisters who are regularly featured on The Lawrence Welk Show. Their otherwise flawless performances are always ruined by 4th sister, Dooneese, (played by Kristen Wiig) because of her off-key singing and freakish appearance.
- Toni Ward, one of the cougars who co-hosts The Cougar Den. She is distinguished by her deep voice and offbeat methods for pursuing younger men. For example, she says that for Valentine's Day, "I'm going to suck down some Jello shooters and wander around USC's campus wearing a T-shirt that says, 'I'll pay you and this won't get messy'".
Kathy Wilson Foundation
Wilson and her family maintain the charitable Kathy Wilson Foundation, established in 2005, which focuses on children with special needs. Her father Paul Wilson serves as president, with Casey and her brother Fletcher as vice presidents.
Film and television credits
|2005||Sports Central||Correspondent||Comedy Central pilot|
|2006||Derek & Simon: A Bee and a Cigarette||Anna||Short film|
|For Your Consideration||Young Actress|
|2007||The Brothers Solomon||Fertility Clinic Worker|
|Creature Comforts America||Writer and Story Editor|
|The Definition of Sex||Abby||Short film|
|Revenge||Sarah||FOX sitcom pilot|
|The Right Now! Show||Cast Member||FOX sketch show pilot|
|The Very Funny Show||Cast Member||TBS Online Sketch Series|
|2008–2009||Saturday Night Live||Cast Member||30 episodes (2 seasons)|
|2008||The Great Buck Howard||Charity|
|Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday||Various||2 episodes|
|Julie & Julia||Regina|
|Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Neighbor Lady ("Pie Sniffer" sketch)||1 episode|
|2010||Glenn Martin, DDS||Various Voices||2 episodes|
|The Life & Times of Tim||Various Voices||2 episodes|
|2011||Bored to Death||Patti Stevenson||1 episode|
|Freak Dance||Rich Lady|
|NTSF:SD:SUV::||Ghost Gabber||1 episode|
|Retired at 35||Amy Robbins||1 episode|
|2011–2013||Happy Endings||Penny Hartz||Series Regular
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Supporting Actress (2012)
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for TV Female Scene Stealer (2012)
|2012||American Dad!||Various Voices||1 episode|
|Comedy Bang Bang||Eugenia Clemente||1 episode|
|First Dates with Toby Harris||Naomi||1 episode|
|Happy Endings: Happy Rides||Penny Hartz||Web Series|
|The Guilt Trip||Amanda|
|2013||Ass Backwards||Chloe||Screenwriter and Executive Producer|
|Burning Love||Aunt Pam||3 episodes|
|How I Met Your Mother||Krirsten||1 episode|
- "Raphael Interviews Wilson". Funny or Die. May 29, 2008. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Casey Wilson: Penny on ABC's 'Happy Endings'". ABC Medianet. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012. "Birthdate: October 24"
- Dean, David (December 9, 2010). "Casey Wilson Is Your Dream Girl, You Just Might Not Know It Yet". Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. "I just turned 30...."
- "Kathy Wilson Dies; Led Women's Political Caucus". The Washington Post. September 7, 2005. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Ann, Mary (2011-04-10). "Alexandria's Casey Wilson Continues to Give Back - Old Town Alexandria, VA Patch". Oldtownalexandria.patch.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- "Casey Wilson". Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Chelsea Lately: Casey Wilson". YouTube. December 5, 2011. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "June Raphael & Casey Wilson, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet". Actorslife. Undated. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "A Comedian and a Candidate Share a Big 'Saturday Night'". Washington Post. February 25, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "T.C.'s Casey Wilson making her mark writing, producing, performing.". Connection Newspapers. October 22, 2003. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Casey Wilson brings sketch comedy show to Alexandria to honor her late mother". Connection Newspapers. April 27, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Celebrity Scoop: Casey Wilson". Zap2it. December 14, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Contact Mark Graham: Comment (2008-02-22). "Exclusive Interview: Casey Wilson, Newest 'SNL' Cast Member". Gawker.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Farley, Christopher John (September 23, 2011). "Casey Wilson on Why 'Happy Endings' Almost Didn't Have One". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Fleming, Michael (November 12, 2006). ""Bride" nears the altar". Variety (Reed Business Information). Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- "Rising Star: Casey Wilson". Access Hollywood. May 22, 2008. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Sragow, Michael (June 3, 2010). "Casey Wilson on the Fast Laugh Track". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Love, Loss, and What I Wore announces new rotating cast members
- The Realest Real Housewives at UCB: A Celebration of the Best Show Ever
- "Casey Wilson Talks Up North County Super Show"
- Casey Wilson as Mandy De'tour at Garage Comedy
- Netzer, Jaime (2008-07-09). "Casey Wilson-Entertainment News, 10 Comics to Watch, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Kathy Wilson Foundation official website
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