Vanessa Polster Bayer (born November 14, 1981) is an American actress and comedian. She is best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, from 2010 to 2017. Bayer also appeared in films such as Trainwreck (2015), Office Christmas Party (2016), Carrie Pilby (2016), and Ibiza (2018).
Bayer at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2015
Vanessa Polster Bayer
November 14, 1981
Orange, Ohio, U.S.
|Education||University of Pennsylvania|
Bayer was born and raised in Orange, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, to a Reform Jewish family. She is the daughter of Carolyn (née Polster) and Todd Bayer. She has a brother, Jonah, who is a music journalist and the drummer for the punk supergroup United Nations.
At the age of 15, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Bayer stated that while battling the disease, she discovered the meaning of “comic relief”. “I don’t know if it made me funnier, but it was so amazing, how it made everything be O.K.,” she said.
As of 2012, Bayer was collaborating with her brother Jonah on the web series Sound Advice for Above Average. Bayer stars as Janessa Slater, a media coach who helps famous musicians change their image.
While attending college, Bayer interned on the television shows Sesame Street and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and participated in the cast of Bloomers, an all-female musical and sketch comedy troupe. Bayer was part of the all-Jewish cast of Second City's stage show Jewsical: The Musical, a musical that presented a comedic take on Jewish life and culture.
Bayer played the role of Kate Clark in the Chicago-based feature comedy Off the Cuff.
Saturday Night LiveEdit
Bayer joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player on September 25, 2010. Beginning with the 2012–2013 season, Bayer was promoted to repertory status. She has been praised for her performance on the show, with HitFix calling her "one of the strongest members of the ensemble"[verify] and Rolling Stone calling her "Saturday Night Live's secret weapon".[verify] In 2014, she was nominated for an American Comedy Award for her work on the show. Bayer departed SNL on May 20, 2017 after seven years on the show. She held the record of the show's longest-serving female cast member with 149 episodes; Maya Rudolph had been a cast member for nine seasons, staying for 146 episodes. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for that season.
Her recurring characters include:
- Laura Parsons, a child actress always performing roles originally played by adults, including from Forrest Gump, The Wolf of Wall Street, Brokeback Mountain and Dallas Buyers Club
- Brecky, a former porn star who creates homemade commercials to obtain free luxury items alongside Cecily Strong
- Rebecca Stern-Markowicz, a co-host of J-Pop America Fun Time Now which celebrates Japanese culture alongside Taran Killam and Jason Sudeikis
- Miss Meadows, an unrealistically perky poetry teacher trying to connect with her delinquent students
- An unnamed director of talk show Mornin' Miami
- Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy who appears on Weekend Update to perform a rehearsed speech (complete with forced jokes) about a given subject
- Rachel Green from the sitcom Friends (and other characters from the show)
- One of two workshop elves who perform their jobs poorly in the hope that their master will "punish" them alongside Kenan Thompson
- An unnamed housewife who makes Totinos for her husband's "hungry guys".
- Dawn Lazarus, an inept meteorologist who appears on Weekend Update and struggles to discuss the weather.
- Miley Cyrus as the host of her own talk show.
Bayer suffered from leukemia as a teenager. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her wish to send her family on vacation to Hawaii. As a former "Make-A-Wish kid", Bayer continues to do work with the foundation. In 2015, she hosted the foundation's "Evening of Wishes Dinner" to help raise funds for wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. In 2019, she published the children's book How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?, which teaches children how to support friends with long-term illnesses.
|2009||Off the Cuff||Kate Clark|
|2010||Stages of Emily||Jocelyn||Short film|
|2012||Adventures in the Sin Bin||Superdawg Waitress|
|2013||Despicable Me 2||Flight Attendant||Voice role|
|Office Christmas Party||Allison|
|2017||The Polka King||Bitsy Bear|
|2010–17||Saturday Night Live||Various||Series regular|
Nominated – 2014 American Comedy Award for Comedy Supporting Actress - TV
Nominated – 2014 Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Female Performance in a Fiction Program
Nominated – 2015 Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Female Performance in a Fiction Program
Nominated – 69th Primetime Emmy Awards ("Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series")
|2011||I Wanna Have Your Baby||Connie||Episode: "Corrine & Jerry"|
|2013||The Mindy Project||Mary||Episode: "Sk8er Man"|
|2014||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Susan Armhold||Episode: "Patton Oswalt Wears a Black Blazer & Dress Shoes"|
|2014–15||Portlandia||Various||Episodes: "Sharing Finances", "Late in Life Drug Use", "You Can Call Me Al" and "The Storytellers"|
|2015||Man Seeking Woman||Laura||Episodes: "Traib" and "Lizard"|
|2015||The Awesomes||Dr. Jill Stein-Awesome-Kaplan||4 episodes|
|2016||Modern Family||Marjorie||Episode: "Snow Ball"|
|2016–18||Drunk History||Various||2 episodes|
|2017||The Simpsons||Dr. Clarity Hoffman-Roth (voice)||Episode: "A Father's Watch"|
|2018||Love||Sarah||Episode: "Sarah from College"|
|2018||Will & Grace||Amy||Episode: "The Beefcake & the Cake Beef"|
|2019||Single Parents||Mia||Episode: "All Aboard The Two-Parent Struggle Bus"|
|2019||What We Do in the Shadows||Evie Russell||Episode: "Werewolf Feud"|
|2019||I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson||Brenda||Episode: "Has This Ever Happened to You?"|
- Moynihan, Rob. "SNL's Fab Four", TV Guide, March 7, 2011, Pages 44-45
- Vanessa Bayer from the Orange High School website
- Eakin, Marah. "Jonah and Vanessa Bayer on Sound Advice, sibling rivalries, and childhood bribery". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- "Watch Vanessa Bayer Roast United Nations". Stereogum. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- Correal, Annie (May 7, 2016). "The (Very Lazy) Sunday Routine of Vanessa Bayer of 'Saturday Night Live'". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
- "'Saturday Night Live' regular Vanessa Bayer, a Moreland Hills native, returns home to perform Sunday at the Improv". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
- "For Saturday Night Live's Bayer, humor a family affair - Cleveland Jewish News: Entertainment". Cleveland Jewish News. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
- "Penn Gazette | Alumni : Profiles". Upenn.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "Jonah Bayer". Jonahbayer.wordpress.com. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "An Interview with a Guy Who Hung Out with Drake for Two Hours Once". Noisey. 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
- "All-Female Musical and Sketch Comedy at the University of Pennsylvania". Bloomers Comedy. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "Jews in the News: Rachel Specter, Grammys & Barbra Streisand". Letmypeoplegrow.org. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
- "NBC'S 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE' PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 25 WITH SNL ALUM AMY POEHLER & CHART-TOPPING MUSICAL GUEST KATY PERRY". NBC-Universal Press Release. September 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- Hughes, William. "Vanessa Bayer is leaving SNL".
- "Vanessa Bayer leaving 'SNL'". CNN. May 21, 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
- "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - 2017". Los Angeles: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- Daley, Megan (2015-06-22). "Vanessa Bayer talks to People about her childhood struggle with leukemia" (online ed.). Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
- "How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 28 March 2018.