Live From New York: Introducing New 'SNL' Star Abby Elliott

The rising comedian talks about being funny with her dad, former SNLer Chris Elliott

Photo: NBC, Bobby Bank/WireImage

New Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliott, 21, has been wowing audiences this season with her spot-on impressions of stars like Angelina Jolie and Rachel Maddow. But there’s something else that makes her stand out from the rest of the Studio 8H players: She’s the first ever second-generation cast member.

Abby’s dad, Chris Elliott – known for playing lovable losers and silly psychos on David Letterman’ latenight shows, and in films like There’s Something About Mary and Cabin Boy – hammed it up on SNL‘s 1994-1995 season.

Father and daughter sat with PEOPLE to talk about Abby’s comedic disposition.

Did you always know Abby was destined for showbiz?
Chris: In middle school she was in The King and I.
Abby: Lady Thiang, the King’s head wife. Which was very dramatic for 13. (laughs)
Chris: She had such a presence, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God. You re going to be a star.’ But we pushed her. I wanted you to follow in my footsteps. It was all planned before you were born. I just thought you were going to be a boy.
Abby: And be bald?
Chris: You still will be, honey. I lost mine at 22. You’ve got a year.

Abby, did you go to college?
Abby: I didn’t even last a semester. The school part was doable, but the living situation – there were mice crawling up the desk in my dorm room, which was on top of a YMCA.

So you started working with comedy troupes like the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. How did you land SNL?
Abby: I just kept sending in tapes. ‘Look, I can play a yoga instructor and stand on my head!’ One character, then four. When they called me to audition, I couldn’t speak.
Chris: Her audition was great.
Abby: I did five minutes of impressions: Drew Barrymore, Joan Cusack, Katie Holmes.
Chris: She’s always been a good mimic. Angelina Jolie I think you started doing when you were 12.
Abby: When she came out with that whole Gothic thing, with Billy Bob [Thornton]. I started doing her face before the voice, the eyes, the moving.

Has your dad given you any advice?
Abby: Not a lot of advice, but a lot of support, a lot of letting me know that I can do anything that I want. You couldn’t ask for a better family.
Chris: Well, you could ask, but you’re not going to get it. This is as good as it gets

To read more of Abby and Chris Elliot’s interview, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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