Since joining Saturday Night Live in 2010, Taran Killam has earned a loyal legion of fans and been hailed as the late-night show’s “Next Big Thing” (by New York).
It’s all thanks to over-the-top skits (like J-Pop America Fun Time Now) – and, of course, his blistering impressions of Michael Cera, Brad Pitt and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. But he’s no overnight success: Killam, 30, has been working in comedy since he was 12.
Live from New York, here are five things to know about the L.A. native.
1. His First Role Was in Naked Gun 33 1/3
“I was always, sort of, um a ham,” the comic told Nylon. Killam was only 12 when he starred in the Jurassic Park-spoofing movie-within-a-movie, Geriatric Park, in the final Naked Gun film.
But it wasn’t until he followed a friend’s lead, joining influential comedy troupe The Groundlings, that comedy become a full-time gig. “Things kind of snowballed from there,” he told the magazine.
2. Emma Stone Helped Him Get His First Skit On-Air
Les Jeunes de Paris, which features nearly the entire cast performing a wordless interpretive dance to a French pop song, was the first skit Killam wrote that made it on-air, thanks to host Emma Stone. “She helped champion that,” he tells PEOPLE.
3. His Fiancée Doesn’t Watch the Show
Killam’s fiancé, How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders, doesn’t watch Saturday Night Live – at Killam’s request.
“I actually ask her not to stay up to watch the show live because she’s tired from taking care of our child [daughter Shaelyn, 3]. But,” he adds, “her opinion matters to me.”
He Recreated Robyn’s "Call Your Girlfriend" Video
In an moment of early-morning inspiration (4:30 a.m. on SNL‘s writing night!), Killam re-enacted musical guest Robyn’s video for “Call Your Girlfriend”, complete with a furry jacket and dance moves (which include him writhing around on the floor), for a hilarious YouTube clip.
5. He’s Best Friends with Vanessa Bayer
Killam and Bayer were added to SNL as featured performers at the same time, and Killam calls the comedienne “my adopted sister,” adding, “she’s a friend for life.”
• With reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS