Casey Wilson on opening night of the Outfest film festival on July 10, 2013
|Born||Cathryn Rose Wilson
October 24, 1980
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, comedian, writer|
|Partner(s)||David Caspe (engaged)|
Cathryn Rose "Casey" Wilson (born October 24, 1980) is an American actress, comedian, and screenwriter, most widely known for starring as Penny Hartz in the ABC comedy series Happy Endings. Her Sundance film Ass Backwards, a female buddy comedy which she co-wrote and co-stars in with her screenwriting partner June Diane Raphael, was released on November 8, 2013.
Wilson made her first major television appearances with a two-season stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2008 to 2009.
Early life and background
Casey Wilson was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, along with her younger brother, Fletcher Todd Wilson, a medical device engineer. She graduated from T. C. Williams High School in 1998 and studied theater at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where she was a recipient of NYU's "Excellence in Acting" award when graduating in 2002. She is of Irish and Italian heritage and was raised Baptist.
Wilson's parents both worked in politics, she credits her politically opposed parents (her mother was a Democrat, her father a Republican) in shaping her sense of humor while growing up, "having no choice but to hone a well-developed sense of humor in a blue-state/red-state, forever-clashing political household", as she put it. Her father, Paul O. Wilson, is a political strategist and consultant who runs campaigns for Republican party candidates. Her mother, Kathleen Anne "Kathy" Wilson (née Higdon), was a women's rights advocate and served as the chairwoman of the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) throughout the 1980s. Under Kathy's leadership, the NWPC endorsed Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election. Kathy retired from politics in the late 1980s, switching to a career in early childhood education, she served as the director of Alexandria's Abracadabra Child Care and Development Center preschool since 1991. Kathy died of heart failure at age 54 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on September 1, 2005. Casey and her family continue to run "The Kathy Wilson Foundation", a charitable organization honoring her late mother's work in helping children with special needs.
Wilson's passion for performing began at an early age, stating that her first memorable exposure to theater came when her father took her to New York City to see a production of Cats, inspiring her to create her own plays. When she was nine years old, her father built her a homemade stage in the family's backyard, where she put on plays with other children from the neighborhood. From there, she started taking singing and acting lessons as a teenager. She would also become heavily involved in her high school's theater program, starring in (and occasionally directing) many of the school's plays and musicals, including a production of The Sound of Music, where she played the lead role of Maria.
While studying acting at the "Stella Adler School of Dramatic Arts", Wilson had originally set out to be a serious actress; she was selected as "best dramatic actress" in her class, but later started to consider comedy at the suggestion of an acting teacher. After graduating from NYU in 2002, Wilson and her best friend from college, June Diane Raphael, began studying improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City, where they would eventually run their two-woman sketch show for a number of years. Performing the long-running stage show opened doors for them as writers, after performing the show at the "U.S. Comedy Arts Festival" in 2005, they were hired by New Regency Pictures to write the film Bride Wars and landed a development deal with UPN to create a sitcom pilot.
Wilson started her comedy career writing and performing with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) in New York and later in Los Angeles. At UCB, she was a member of the Harold improv teams "Mr. and Mrs. All-Star", "Sentimental Lady", and "Hey, Uncle Gary!". Among her best-known work at UCB, was the long-running two-woman sketch show "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet", written and performed alongside her comedy partner and best friend June Diane Raphael; the stage show ran from 2003 to 2006 in New York and Los Angeles and was an official selection at 2005's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. The two women, who had first met in a clowning class during their freshman year at NYU, went on to win the ECNY Award for "Best Comedy Duo" in 2005. Wilson and Raphael's comedic partnership has since branched out into an active writing career in film and television, they co-wrote their first screenplay for the comedy Bride Wars, which they also appeared in with supporting roles, followed by landing a development deal with UPN in 2005 to create a half-hour comedy pilot and in 2007 they worked as writers and story editors on the Americanized version of Creature Comforts on CBS.
As a film actress, Wilson made her debut as an acting student in the final scene of the 2006 Christopher Guest film, For Your Consideration. She has since appeared in such films as Julie & Julia, C.O.G., Claire's Cambodia, The Guilt Trip, Killers, The Brothers Solomon, Freak Dance, The Great Buck Howard, as well as in the Bob Odenkirk-directed short film Derek & Simon: A Bee and a Cigarette. Her upcoming films include the David Fincher thriller Gone Girl and indie comedy Me Him Her directed by Max Landis. Wilson is a frequent contributor to the popular humor website Funny or Die, writing and starring in many viral videos for the site, including a series of political parodies where she plays Callista Gingrich.
Wilson continues to collaborate with writing partner June Diane Raphael on scripts for film and television, they have worked on numerous script rewrites for films in development, such as projects with Anna Faris and America Ferrera attached to star. Recent scripts in development they worked on include the Universal Pictures comedy The Bachelorette Party, as well as writing new drafts for the romantic comedies You Complete Us for Endgame Entertainment, and A Season in Central Park for Warner Bros. As writer-performers, Wilson and Raphael also continue to generate material for themselves. They most recently wrote and starred together in the raunchy female buddy comedy Ass Backwards, which also co-stars Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Paul Scheer, and Bob Odenkirk. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2013. Since its Sundance premiere, the film was acquired by Gravitas Ventures, who released it on iTunes and VOD platforms on September 30, 2013 leading up to the theatrical release on November 8, 2013. In November 2013, Wilson and Raphael sold a new script for another film to star in together that will be produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's company Gary Sanchez Productions.
Wilson also remains active as a theater and stage actress. In 2010, she joined the rotating cast of the Off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron) at Manhattan's Westside Theatre. She also contributed short stories to the 2010 book Worst Laid Plans, based on the long-running stage show, in which she co-starred in. Wilson and June Diane Raphael created their newest comedic stage show The Realest Real Housewives, which they star in alongside Jessica St. Clair, Melissa Rauch, Danielle Schneider and Morgan Walsh. The show began running at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 2011.
From April 2011 to May 2013, Wilson starred as Penny Hartz in the ABC ensemble comedy series Happy Endings alongside Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally and Damon Wayans, Jr. A breakout role for Wilson, she was nominated twice for "Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series" at the Critics' Choice Television Awards for her work on season two and three of Happy Endings. Despite critical acclaim and a cult following, the show was cancelled by ABC after concluding its third season on May 3, 2013.
Wilson's other television credits include guest appearances on shows such as Bored to Death, Burning Love, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Drunk History, The Middle, The Millers, How I Met Your Mother, Human Giant, NTSF:SD:SUV::, and Retired at 35, as well as voiceover roles in the animated comedy programs Aqua Teen Hunger Force, American Dad!, Glenn Martin, DDS, and The Life & Times of Tim. She also stars alongside Danielle Schneider, Angela Kinsey, Andrea Savage, and Kristen Schaal in the upcoming Hulu original series The Hotwives of Orlando, premiering in March 2014.
Wilson is currently working on two sitcom pilots for the 2014 pilot season. Her and writing partner June Diane Raphael are creators and executive producers of the NBC pilot "The Mason Twins", with Glee producer Stacy Traub attached as showrunner and Robert Duncan McNeill attached as director, with Raphael and Erinn Hayes starring in the project. Meanwhile, Wilson has signed on to play the lead opposite Ken Marino in Happy Endings creator David Caspe's upcoming pilot Marry Me, also for NBC.
Saturday Night Live
After auditioning in late 2007, Wilson was hired in January 2008 to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, succeeding departing cast member Maya Rudolph. However, due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, she did not make her first appearance as a cast member until the show returned in February 2008; she was the first new addition to the cast in over two years, and was also the first SNL cast member to have been born in the 1980s. Wilson's most memorable work on SNL included celebrity impressions of, among others, Rachael Ray, Elizabeth Dole, Elizabeth Taylor, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Aniston, as well as original characters such as Dusty Velvet; "the paralyzed stripper", and Toni Ward; co-host of "The Cougar Den". After spending two seasons on SNL, Wilson was let go from the show before the start of the 2009–2010 season. When asked how she felt about her recent SNL departure in an October 2009 interview, Wilson said: "My mindset is good. I did it for a year and a half. I don't think it will ultimately define my career. And it wasn't the best fit for me."
Notable characters on SNL
- Dusty Velvet, a strip club dancer who was left paralyzed from the neck down following a freak Tilt-A-Whirl accident, and refuses to let it stop her from performing her act. She is only able to perform her "erotic moves" with the assistance of Donnie (played by Ashton Kutcher) the strip club manager. Prior to joining SNL, Wilson used to perform this act at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and other "alt-comedy" venues under the name Mandy De'tour. She had also performed the sketch as a cast member on the 2007 FOX sketch comedy pilot The Right Now! Show, as well as eventually showcasing the character as part of her SNL audition.
- Nora Maharelle, part of the singing sisterly quartet The Maharelle Sisters who are regularly featured on The Lawrence Welk Show. Their otherwise flawless performances are always ruined by the fourth sister, Dooneese (played by Kristen Wiig), because of her off-key singing and freakish appearance.
- Toni Ward, one of the cougars who co-hosts The Cougar Den. She is distinguished by her deep voice and offbeat methods for pursuing younger men. For example, she says that for Valentine's Day, "I'm going to suck down some Jello shooters and wander around USC's campus wearing a T-shirt that says, 'I'll pay you and this won't get messy'".
Wilson got engaged to comedy writer David Caspe over Labor Day weekend in September 2013. They met working together on Happy Endings, which he created and she co-starred on, and began dating in 2011. During her interview on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in November, Wilson stated that they set their wedding date for May 2014.
Wilson shares her family's interest in politics. She was a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 presidential election and volunteered to work on Clinton's campaign. She went on the road with the Clintons in the Midwest, speaking at and introducing Hillary and Bill Clinton at campaign rallies in Iowa and Indiana.
Wilson and her family maintain the charitable Kathy Wilson Foundation, established in 2005, which focuses on children with special needs. Her father Paul Wilson serves as president, with Casey and her brother Fletcher serving as vice presidents. The foundation also gives out donations and grants to local area preschools and childcare centers in Virginia every year.
Awards and nominations
|2005||ECNY Award||Best Comedy Duo (with June Diane Raphael)||Rode Hard and Put Away Wet||Won|
|2012||Critics' Choice Television Award||Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Happy Endings||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice TV Award for TV Female Scene Stealer||Happy Endings||Nominated|
|2013||Critics' Choice Television Award||Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Happy Endings||Nominated|
- She was named one of Variety's "10 Comics to Watch" in 2008.
Film and television credits
|2005||Sports Central||Correspondent||Comedy Central pilot|
|2006||Derek & Simon: A Bee and a Cigarette||Anna||Short film|
|For Your Consideration||Young Actress|
|2007||The Brothers Solomon||Fertility Clinic Worker|
|Creature Comforts America||Writer and Story Editor|
|The Definition of Sex||Abby||Short film|
|Human Giant||Young Mom||1 episode|
|Revenge||Sarah||FOX sitcom pilot|
|The Right Now! Show||Cast Member||FOX sketch show pilot|
|The Very Funny Show||Cast Member||TBS sketch comedy web series|
|2008–2009||Saturday Night Live||Cast Member||30 episodes (2 seasons)|
|2008||The Great Buck Howard||Charity|
|Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday||Various||2 episodes|
|Julie & Julia||Regina|
|Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Neighbor Lady ("Pie Sniffer" sketch)||1 episode|
|2010||Glenn Martin, DDS||Various Voices||2 episodes|
|The Life & Times of Tim||Various Voices||2 episodes|
|2011||Bored to Death||Patti Stevenson||1 episode|
|Freak Dance||Rich Lady|
|NTSF:SD:SUV::||Ghost Gabber||1 episode|
|Retired at 35||Amy Robbins||1 episode|
|2011–2013||Happy Endings||Penny Hartz||Series Regular
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2012)
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for TV Female Scene Stealer (2012)
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2013)
|2012||American Dad!||Various Voices||1 episode|
|Chelsea Lately||Guest Host||1 episode|
|First Dates with Toby Harris||Naomi||1 episode|
|Happy Endings: Happy Rides||Penny Hartz||Web Series|
|The Guilt Trip||Amanda|
|2012–2013||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Various||2 episodes|
|2013||Burning Love||Aunt Pam||3 episodes|
|How I Met Your Mother||Krirsten||1 episode|
|The Jeselnik Offensive||Panelist||1 episode|
|Drunk History||Dolly Parton||1 episode|
|Aqua Teen Hunger Force||Freda||1 episode|
|Filthy Sexy Teen$||Meg Berg||Adult Swim TV special|
|The Millers||Beth||1 episode|
|Ass Backwards||Chloe West||Screenwriter, Executive Producer|
|2014||The Middle||Reverend Tammy||1 episode|
|The Hotwives of Orlando||Tawny||Upcoming Hulu series|
|Me Him Her||TBA||Post-production|
|Gone Girl||Noelle Hawthorne||Filming|
|The Mason Twins||Creator, Executive Producer (NBC sitcom pilot)|
|Marry Me||Annie||NBC sitcom pilot|
- "Raphael Interviews Wilson". Funny or Die. May 29, 2008. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Casey Wilson: Penny on ABC's 'Happy Endings'". ABC Medianet. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012. "Birthdate: October 24"
- Dean, David (December 9, 2010). "Casey Wilson Is Your Dream Girl, You Just Might Not Know It Yet". Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. "I just turned 30...."
- about 5 hours. "The JV Club #61: Casey Wilson « Nerdist". Nerdist.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Kathy Wilson Dies; Led Women's Political Caucus". The Washington Post. September 7, 2005. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Ann, Mary (2011-04-10). "Alexandria's Casey Wilson Continues to Give Back - Old Town Alexandria, VA Patch". Oldtownalexandria.patch.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- "Casey Wilson". Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- about 5 hours. "Casey Wilson on the "You Made It Weird" podcast". Nerdist.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Casey Wilson: Happy Endings - The Treatment on KCRW 89.9 FM | Internet Public Radio Station Streaming Live Independent Music & NPR News Online from Los Angeles, CA". Kcrw.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- [dead link]
- "Chelsea Lately: Casey Wilson". YouTube. December 5, 2011. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "June Raphael & Casey Wilson, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet". Actorslife. Undated. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "A Comedian and a Candidate Share a Big 'Saturday Night'". Washington Post. February 25, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "T.C.'s Casey Wilson making her mark writing, producing, performing.". Connection Newspapers. October 22, 2003. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Casey Wilson brings sketch comedy show to Alexandria to honor her late mother". Connection Newspapers. April 27, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Celebrity Scoop: Casey Wilson". Zap2it. December 14, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Contact Mark Graham: Comment (2008-02-22). "Exclusive Interview: Casey Wilson, Newest 'SNL' Cast Member". Gawker.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Farley, Christopher John (September 23, 2011). "Casey Wilson on Why 'Happy Endings' Almost Didn't Have One". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Fleming, Michael (November 12, 2006). ""Bride" nears the altar". Variety (Reed Business Information). Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- "Rising Star: Casey Wilson". Access Hollywood. May 22, 2008. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Sragow, Michael (June 3, 2010). "Casey Wilson on the Fast Laugh Track". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Sundance Comedy 'Ass Backwards' Acquired by Gravitas Ventures". TheWrap. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Yamato, Jen (2013-11-18). "Gary Sanchez Springs For June Diane Raphael & Casey Wilson Feature Pitch". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Love, Loss, and What I Wore announces new rotating cast members". Newyorktheatreguide.com. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- The Realest Real Housewives at UCB: A Celebration of the Best Show Ever
- ""Casey Wilson Talks Up North County Super Show"". Independent.com. 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Casey Wilson as Mandy De'tour at Garage Comedy". Youtube.com. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Webber, Stephanie (September 21, 2013). "Casey Wilson Engaged to David Caspe, Creator of Happy Endings". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "Kathy Wilson Foundation official website". Kathywilsonfoundation.org. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
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