Mike O'Brien

Michael Patrick O'Brien was already a seasoned "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975-) writer when he performed the unusual feat of transitioning to a cast member in 2013. (He was credited in the cast as Mike O'Brien.) The Michigan native attended the University of Michigan, where he created The Anti-Daily, a humorous paper created because his comedy writing was rejected from the school's official newspaper, The Michigan Daily. This DIY attitude later helped him deal with rejections, including being rejected by SNL on his first audition. O'Brien graduated in 1999 with a degree in film and video. He went on to Chicago's famous Second City to study and perform improvisational comedy. Eventually joining the prestigious main stage troupe, O'Brien stayed at Second City for fourteen years. In 2009, he auditioned to be a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" but was hired as a writer. He continued writing for SNL, occasionally stepping in to take on roles in sketches, until he was hired as a cast member in 2013. (At the same time, a featured player, Tim Robinson, moved from the cast to the writing staff.) During this time, he co-created a web-based talk show called "Seven Minutes in Heaven," in which O'Brien acted as the host to a variety of celebrity guests, asking them questions and planting an awkward kiss at the end of each short episode. Mostly due to his SNL connections, O'Brien booked high-profile actors and comedians from Elijah Wood to Tracy Morgan to Ellen DeGeneres for the series.