Vanessa Bayer
Born Vanessa Polster Bayer[1]
(1981-11-14) November 14, 1981 (age 35)[2]
Orange, Ohio, U.S.
Education University of Pennsylvania
  • Actress
  • comedian
Years active 2009–present

Vanessa Polster Bayer (born November 14, 1981 (1981-11-14))[2] is an American actress and comedian, best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and for supporting roles in films Trainwreck and Office Christmas Party.


Early lifeEdit

Bayer was born and raised in Orange, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, to a Reform Jewish family.[3] She is the daughter of Carolyn (née Polster) and Todd Bayer.[4]

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.[5]

Bayer graduated from Orange High School in 2000[6] and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in communications and French,[7] graduating in 2004.


She currently collaborates 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.[8][9]

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.[10] 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.[11]

Bayer played the role of Kate Clark in the Chicago-based feature comedy Off the Cuff.

Bayer performed improvisational comedy at Chicago's ImprovOlympic, where she trained with SNL castmate Paul Brittain[3] as well as the Annoyance Theatre and Second City.[12]

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" and Rolling Stone calling her "Saturday Night Live's secret weapon". In 2014, she was nominated for an American Comedy Award for her work on the show. Following the departure of Nasim Pedrad after the 2013-14 season, Bayer became the longest serving female cast member.

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
  • Breckie, 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

Personal lifeEdit

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 their "Evening of Wishes Dinner" to help raise funds for wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.[4][13]


Year Title Role Notes
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
2015 Trainwreck Nikki
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping 'Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)' Music Video Actress Cameo
2016 Carrie Pilby Tara
2016 Office Christmas Party Allison
2017 The Polka King
Year Title Role Notes
2010–present 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
2011 I Wanna Have Your Baby Connie Episode: "Corrine & Jerry"
2012 Sugarboy Chip's wife
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" and "You Can Call Me Al"
2015 Man Seeking Woman Laura Episodes: "Traib" and "Lizard"
2016 Drunk History Carrie Nation Episode: "Bar Fights"
2016 Modern Family Marjorie Episode: "Snow Ball"


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Vanessa Bayer - About - Saturday Night Live - NBC". Saturday Night Live. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Moynihan, Rob. "SNL's Fab Four", TV Guide, March 7, 2011, Pages 44-45
  4. ^ a b Vanessa Bayer from the Orange High School website
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' regular Vanessa Bayer, a Moreland Hills native, returns home to perform Sunday at the Improv". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  7. ^ "For Saturday Night Live's Bayer, humor a family affair - Cleveland Jewish News: Entertainment". Cleveland Jewish News. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  8. ^ "Penn Gazette | Alumni : Profiles". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  9. ^ "Jonah Bayer". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  10. ^ "All-Female Musical and Sketch Comedy at the University of Pennsylvania". Bloomers Comedy. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  11. ^ "Jews in the News: Rachel Specter, Grammys & Barbra Streisand". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  13. ^ Daley, Megan (2015-06-22). "Vanessa Bayer talks to People about her childhood struggle with leukemia". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 

External linksEdit