Michaela Watkins

Michaela Suzanne Watkins is an American actress and comedian. Watkins first achieved widespread attention for her brief stint as a featured player on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live during its 34th season between 2008 and 2009. Since leaving SNL, she has starred on the Hulu series Casual and on the short-lived sitcoms The Unicorn and Trophy Wife. Watkins has also had recurring roles on other television series, such as The New Adventures of Old Christine, Catastrophe, Enlightened and Search Party and appeared in films such as The Back-up Plan (2010), Wanderlust (2012), Enough Said (2013) and Sword of Trust (2019).

Michaela Watkins
Michaela Watkins 2010.jpg
Watkins in 2010
Michaela Suzanne Watkins

Alma materBoston University
Occupation(s)Actress, comedian
Years active1998–present
Known forSaturday Night Live
Trophy Wife
The Unicorn
Fred Kramer
(m. 2013)

Early lifeEdit

Watkins was born in Syracuse, New York, the daughter of former Latin teacher mother[1] Myrna Watkins and Syracuse University mathematician father Mark Watkins.[2][3][4] She has two sisters, Rebecca Kent and Sarah Fitts.[2]

Watkins was raised in DeWitt, New York,[5] a suburb of Syracuse, in a Jewish family.[1] After her parents' divorce, Watkins' mother obtained a marketing degree and relocated the family to Boston when Watkins was 15.[1][6]

Watkins attended Moses DeWitt Elementary School and Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She graduated from Boston University, where she studied theater and acting. Watkins auditioned for a part in a British farce at a community theater when she was 15, and got the part. Joan Rivers was one of her inspirations to go into show business.[1]



After theater school, Watkins lived and worked in New York City for a year but struggled to build her career. She moved with a friend to Portland, Oregon.[7] She lived there from 1996–2000 and appeared onstage with Portland Center Stage and the defunct improv group Toad City Productions.[8] She traveled around the country doing regional theater, then decided to move to Los Angeles.[7]

She was active in Los Angeles Theatre for many years, taking on roles with Circle X Theatre[9] and 2100 Square Feet.[10]

Regional theaterEdit

  • Portland Center Stage: Hamlet (1999), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1999), Bus Stop (2000)
  • Portland Repertory Theatre: Arcadia
  • Artist Repertory Theatre: The Misanthrope, How I Learned To Drive as well as Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale
  • triangle productions: Angels in America, The Food Chain
  • Circle X Theatre: Laura Comstock's Bag Punching Dog (2002) - LA Weekly award,[11] Sperm (2004)
  • Vineyard Playhouse: Fighting Words by Sunil Kuruvilla (2003)[12]


She became a regular performer at The Groundlings,[13] where she was discovered by Saturday Night Live.[14] Watkins said the appeal of sketch work is that she can write her own material.[1]


Saturday Night LiveEdit

In November 2008, Watkins joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Watkins said (at that time) that she was the oldest woman they ever hired.[1] Watkins has since been surpassed by Leslie Jones, who was 47 when she joined SNL. Watkins made her first major appearance on the show as Arianna Huffington on the November 22nd Weekend Update.[15][16] Watkins remained on SNL as a featured player throughout the rest of the 2008-2009 season, up to the season finale on May 16, 2009.

However, while SNL was on summer hiatus, the news broke in early September 2009 that Watkins, along with fellow castmate Casey Wilson, were both to be let go from the show[17][18] and would not be returning for the 2009-10 season.[19][20]

Recurring characters on SNLEdit
  • Angie Tempura: A geeky, iced coffee-drinking computer nerd who snarks on celebrities and movies and is the creator of the snarky website "Bitch Pleeze" (www.bitchpleeze.com, which redirects to the SNL site). Though she insults celebrities, Angie was revealed to have a crush on Zac Efron.

Later TV creditsEdit

She recurred as Lucy opposite Hamish Linklater in the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, as well as appearing in recurring roles in the comedy programs Enlightened, New Girl, and Anger Management. She has also made guest appearances on shows such as Hung, Childrens Hospital, Kroll Show, Key & Peele, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Modern Family.

Watkins also starred alongside Malin Åkerman, Bradley Whitford, and Marcia Gay Harden in the short-lived, but well-received[21] ABC sitcom Trophy Wife.[22][23] The series aired for one season from September 2013 to May 2014.[24]

In 2015, it was announced that Watkins would star in the Hulu series produced by Jason Reitman called Casual, which would be executive produced by Liz Tigelaar.[25]

In 2018, she recurred on season two of the Amazon Prime series Catastrophe, playing the sister of lead character Rob Norris (Rob Delaney).[26] From 2019 to 2021, she has co-starred on the CBS sitcom The Unicorn.

Producing, writingEdit

Watkins co-created (with writing partner and fellow Groundling, Damon Jones)[27] the short-lived 2014 USA Network comedy series Benched.[28] The series starred Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington and premiered on October 28, 2014.[29] Watkins and Jones were also executive producers on the show.[30]


Watkins has appeared in supporting roles in films such as Enough Said, In a World...,[31] Afternoon Delight, The Back-Up Plan, Wanderlust, They Came Together and Lazy Eye.


In 2020, Watkins appeared in the supporting role of Irene O'Connor in the musical podcast In Strange Woods.[32][33]

Personal lifeEdit

Watkins is married to Fred Kramer, who is a founding partner of Reason Ventures and General Manager of Critical Mass Studios, Inc.[34] Kramer used to be Executive Director of the Jewish World Watch organization, a Los Angeles-based anti-genocide non-profit, focused on the situations in Sudan and Congo.[35]



Year Film Role Notes
1998 Inconceivable Marcy
2008 Yoga Matt Jill Goering Short film
2010 The Back-up Plan Mona
The Prankster Miss LaFleur
Welcome to the Jungle Gym Principal Gilly Short film
Worst Enemy Wooly Short film
2011 Una Hora Por Favora Elissa Short film
2012 Wanderlust Marisa Gergenblatt
Thanks for Sharing Marney
2013 In a World... Dani
Afternoon Delight Jennie
iSteve Melinda Gates
Bunion Therapist Short film
Enough Said Hillary
2014 They Came Together Habermeyer
2016 Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie Ivana Trump
Punching Henry Mara
Lazy Eye Mel
2017 Person to Person The Widow
Brigsby Bear Louise Pope
The House of Tomorrow Mrs. Whitcomb
How to Be a Latin Lover Gwen
The House Raina Theodorakis
2018 Dude Jill
Ibiza Sarah
Under the Eiffel Tower Tillie
Antiquities Dolores Jr.
2019 Brittany Runs a Marathon Catherine
Sword of Trust Mary
Good Boys Saleswoman
2020 The Way Back Beth
Bad Therapy Judy Small
2021 Werewolves Within Trisha Anderton
2023 You Hurt My Feelings Sarah
Paint Katherine Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Charmed Andrea Episode: "Death Takes A Halliwell"
2003 Without a Trace Marla Episode: "Maple Street"
Miss Match Susan Scott Episode: "Divorce Happens"
2004 Strong Medicine Julia Episode: "Bleeding Heart"
2006 Medium Clerk 2 episodes
Modern Men Amanda Episode: "Pilot"
Grey's Anatomy Nikki Ratlin Episode: "Superstition"
Malcolm in the Middle Receptionist Episode: "Hal's Dentist"
7 Deadly Hollywood Sins Jennifer 4 episodes
2007 Revenge Mary-Louise Unsold TV pilot
2008 Man Stroke Woman (US version) Various Unsold TV pilot
Frank TV Julia Roberts Episode: "#2.1"
Californication Executive 2 episodes
2008–09 Saturday Night Live Various 15 episodes
The New Adventures of Old Christine Lucy 7 episodes
2009 Eli Stone Judge Leigh Rappaport Episode: "Sonoma"
2010 Parenthood Lucy Estman Episode: "Team Braverman"
Miami Medical Carla Episode: "Time of Death"
2011 Mad Samus Aran / Sam Puckett / Mom (voice) Episode: "The Straight A-Team/Gaming's Next Top Princess"
Curb Your Enthusiasm Saundra Episode: "The Safe House"
Hung Judy Episode: "Don't Give Up on Detroit or Hung Like a Horse"
Private Practice Laura Martin Episode: "Deal with It"
2011–13 Enlightened Janice Holm 9 episodes
2011–15 New Girl Gina 5 episodes
2012 The Life & Times of Tim Homeless Woman (voice) Episode: "Pudding Boy/The Celebrity Who Shall Remain Nameless"
Bent Carol Episode: "HD"
Childrens Hospital Detective Lacey Briggs Episode: "The Return of the Young Billionaire"
Key & Peele Mary Magdalene 2 episodes
Modern Family Susan Episode: "Schooled"
2012–18 Robot Chicken Nerd's Mom / various (voice) 4 episodes
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Beth Episode: "Extra Terrorist-rial"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Amber Episode: "Gillian Jacobs Wears a Red Dress with Sail Boats"
Anger Management Lisa 2 episodes
2013–14 Trophy Wife Jackie Fisher 22 episodes
Kroll Show Various 2 episodes
2014–15 Married Stacey 2 episodes
2014–16 Drunk History Nurse / Julia Child 2 episodes
2014–19 Transparent Connie / Yetta 6 episodes
2015 Marry Me Janet L'Amour Episode: "Dead Me"
The Goldbergs Señora Taraborelli 2 episodes
Veep Patti Episode: "East Wing"
The Comedians Wendy Myers Episode: "Partners"
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Rhonda 6 episodes
2015–18 Casual Valerie Meyers 36 episodes
2016 Family Guy Girl Pulling Train (voice) Episode: "Take a Letter"
Pickle and Peanut Pickle's Mom / various (voice) Episode: "What Lies Beneath/The Rat King Moves In"
Another Period Brothel Madam Episode: "Joplin"
2016–17 Angie Tribeca Melanie Burke 2 episodes
2016–20 American Dad! Various voices 4 episodes
2017 Speechless Becca Episode: "O-s-Oscar P-a-Party"
Nobodies Herself Episode: "Not the Emmys"
Idiotsitter Windy 2 episodes
Danger & Eggs Various voices Episode: "Finding Cheryl/The Trio"
Playing House Dr. Laura Meredith Episode: "You Wanna Roll with This"
The Guest Book Phyllis 2 episodes
The Mick Trish Episode: "The Friend"
Do You Want to See a Dead Body? Herself Episode: "A Body and Some Pants"
Easy Karen Treska Episode: "Conjugality"
No Activity Erin Episode: "Golden Age of Tunnels"
2017–20 Big Mouth Cantor Dina Reznick (voice) 6 episodes
2019 Wayne Maureen McNulty 3 episodes
Catastrophe Sydney 2 episodes
Schooled Ms. Taraborelli Episode: "CB Likes Lainey"
Get Shorty Ali Egan 6 episodes
2019–21 The Unicorn Delia Main cast
2020 Search Party Polly Danzinger 6 episodes
Make It Work! Herself Television special
2022 The Dropout Linda Tanner 3 episodes


Year Title Voice role
2020-21 In Strange Woods Irene


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rivers, Joan (April 2, 2014). "In Bed With Joan - Episode 51: Michaela Watkins". In Bed With Joan. Archived from the original (Video interview) on September 6, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Watkins, Mark E. "Mark E. Watkins - My Biography" (PDF). Webpage of Mark E. Watkins, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Mark Watkins, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics". Syracuse University. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "She's got characters". Boston Globe. March 21, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Herbert, Geoff (September 24, 2013). "'Trophy Wife': Syracuse native Michaela Watkins stars on new ABC TV show". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Gilmartin, Paul (June 22, 2012). "Episode 66: Michaela Watkins". The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Hoffman, David (August 30, 2012). "The Groundlings Podcast: 04: Michaela Watkins" (Audio interview - mp3). The Groundlings. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  8. ^ Hughley, Marty (November 14, 2008). "Former Portlander Michaela Watkins to join "SNL" cast". Oregon Live. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  9. ^ Schwartz, Jonas (March 9, 2004). "Circle X Theatre". Theater Mania. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  10. ^ Mikulan, Steven (January 20, 2005). "As I Die Lying: Tuning family heartstrings in the ICU". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Productions". Circle X Theatre. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  12. ^ Kuruvilla, Sunil. "Fighting Words". The Vineyard Playhouse. Archived from the original on June 20, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "Performers: Michaela Watkins - Main Company". Groundlings. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  14. ^ Miller, Julie (June 5, 2014). "40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  15. ^ "Update: Arianna Huffington - Video - Saturday Night Live". NBC. November 22, 2008. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  16. ^ Mechare, Ethan (November 3, 2010). "Michaela Watkins on Doin' It With Ethan". Doin It With Ethan. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  17. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 4, 2009). "Exclusive: Michaela Watkins 'shocked' by 'SNL' firing". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  18. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (September 4, 2009). "Michaela Watkins on Her 'Saturday Night Live' Exit". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  19. ^ McCarthy, Sean L. (September 4, 2009). "Addition through subtraction: SNL fires Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson!?". The Comic's Comic. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  20. ^ Holmes, Linda (September 9, 2009). "SNL's Michaela Watkins 'Just Too Classically Pretty To Be Hilarious'?". Monkey See (blog). NPR. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  21. ^ Heisler, Steve (1 April 2014). "Trophy Wife's Michaela Watkins on Her Brief SNL Stint, Modern Divorce, and Crazy Ladies". New York. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  22. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (6 September 2013). "Defying Expectations, TV Actors Try Different Roles". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  23. ^ Rodman, Sarah (24 September 2013). "Michaela Watkins is 'Wife' material". Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  24. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (May 9, 2014). "ABC reportedly cancels 'Trophy Wife' & 'Mixology'". HitFix. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  25. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Michaela Watkins to Star in Hulu's Jason Reitman Comedy 'Casual'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  26. ^ Singer, Jenny (June 27, 2018). "'Catastrophe' Snags Jewish Comedy Gem Michaela Watkins For Season 4". The Forward. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  27. ^ Katz, Jessie; Kirby, Brandon (April 30, 2014). "'Off the Cuff' Podcast: Michaela Watkins Explains Why Her 'Tropphy Wife' Costumes are a 'Fashion Jam'" (Podcast interview). The Hollywood Reporter. Pret-a-Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  28. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 21, 2014). "'Under the Dome' Alum Boards USA's 'Benched' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  29. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 24, 2014). "USA Orders Eliza Coupe Comedy 'Benched' to Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  30. ^ Peikert, Mark (February 11, 2014). "Spotlight On: Michaela Watkins, ABC's 'Trophy Wife'". Backstage. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  31. ^ Smith, Krista (January 21, 2013). "Lake Bell and Michaela Watkins on "In a World"" (Video interview). Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  32. ^ Gannon, Fallon Marie (December 11, 2020). "Atypical Artists Release Trailer for New Podcast IN STRANGE WOODS". Geek Girl Authority. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  33. ^ "Michaela Watkins - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved February 28, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ "Team: Fred Kramer, Founding Member/Partner". Reason Ventures. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  35. ^ Berrin, Danielle (May 15, 2012). "New world view". Jewish Journal. Retrieved August 24, 2013.

External linksEdit