As news breaks surrounding the new Saturday Night Live cast members, fans are wondering: who exactly is SNL's Heidi Gardner? The actor and writer is definitely someone you're going to want to know more about in the near future. Gardner, the only woman among the recent additions tapped to appear in the upcoming season, will make her debut alongside other new hires, Luke Null and Chris Redd during the Sept. 30 Season 43 premiere, which is slated to air just four days away from today's announcement, according to Deadline.
As far as her background is concerned, Gardner is currently a performer with The Groundlings improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, which features an alumni association that boasts the likes of big name comedic performers such as: Kathy Griffin, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow – just to name a few. In addition to her work with The Groundlings, Gardner's bio notes that she is a Kansas City, Missouri native who currently writes and performs on the Bryan Cranston produced animated comedy series, SuperMansion. She has written several episodes during her tenure on the show, according to her IMDb profile, and has also lent her talents to the voice of Yasmin from the 2015 animated series, Bratz.
In terms of upcoming projects, Gardner will also be appearing in the film Life of the Party, written by and starring fellow Groundlings alum, Melissa McCarthy in 2018.
Gardner and her recently hired SNL cohorts will fill the vacancies which were left empty by the departures of Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata, all whom left the long running seres after Season 42. The trio of Gardner, Null, and Redd were awarded the position following a month of auditions and tests, according to Deadline. In what appears to be a game time decision by show runners, the selections were reportedly made official during Emmy weekend just a week ago.
Gardner is certainly in good company alongside her newly-minted costars. The Hollywood Reporter indicates that Luke Null is a musician, comedian and improviser from Chicago whose credits include a role in the 2011 film The Heart: The Final Pulse. While Chris Redd is described as an actor and comedian who once notably starred alongside former SNL stars, Andy Samberg, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader, Tim Meadows and Maya Rudolph in the mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. He also has a recurring role in the Netflix series, Disjointed and has been feature in Comedy Central's Stand-Up Presents series. With both sketch and improv experience under his belt, Redd sounds like he'll be a huge contribution to the cast.
In addition to the cast expansion, Saturday Night Live seems to be getting somewhat of an overhaul behind the scenes as well. Deadline indicates that the late night comedy has also picked up seven new writers for the forthcoming season, perhaps, signaling the notion that the show is looking to get a fresh perspective for its future episodes.
SNL saw a major uptick in viewership during Season 42, thanks in part to the Emmy Award winning performances of Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy's as former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The season became the series' biggest in 23 years, according to CNN.
As SNL presses forward in hopes to keep last season's ratings momentum going, Gardner's talents could prove to be a great asset to the live sketch series. With the world now her stage amid her new gig at SNL, it's safe to say that Heidi Gardner could become household name in no time flat.