Michaela Watkins

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Michaela Watkins
Michaela Watkins in 2010
Watkins performing at the "Improv in Iraq Tour" in 2010
Born Michaela Suzanne Watkins
(1971-12-14) December 14, 1971 (age 43)
Syracuse, New York
United States
Alma mater Boston University
Occupation Actress/Comedian
Years active 1998–present
Known for Saturday Night Live
Trophy Wife
Benched
Spouse(s) Fred Kramer (m. 2013)

Michaela Suzanne Watkins (born December 14, 1971)[1] is an American actress and comedian best known for starring on Saturday Night Live (2008–2009) and in the ABC sitcom Trophy Wife (2013–2014). She is also the creator and executive producer of the USA Network comedy series Benched.

Early life[edit]

Watkins was born in Syracuse, New York, the daughter of former Latin teacher mother[2] Myrna Watkins and Syracuse University mathemetician father Mark Watkins.[3][4][5] She has two sisters, Rebecca "Becca" Watkins Kent and Sarah Fitts.[3]

Watkins was raised in the DeWitt suburb of Syracuse.[6] Watkins said that after an acrimonious divorce her mother went back to school to get a marketing degree and relocated the family to Boston when Watkins was 15.[2][7]

She is of Jewish heritage.[2]

She went to Moses DeWitt Elementary School and Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Michaela graduated from Boston University, where she studied theater and acting.

Watkins said that she was partly inspired to go into show business when she saw Joan Rivers perform when she was 9 years old.[2] At the age of 15 she auditioned for a community theater, a British farce and got the part.[2]

Career[edit]

Theater[edit]

After theater school, Watkins lived and worked in New York City but left after a year of struggling, on a roadtrip with a friend decided to move to Portland, Oregon.[8] Watkins lived in Portland, Oregon for 5 years, from 1996–2000. She built a theatrical career there, appearing onstage with Portland Center Stage and the defunct improv group Toad City Productions.[9] Portland was her home base while she traveled around the country doing regional theater, getting her union cards in Portland, then decided to move to Los Angeles.[8]

Subsequently she became active in Los Angeles Theatre for many years, taking on roles with Circle X Theatre[10] and 2100 Square Feet.[11]

Regional theater[edit]

  • Portland Center Stage: Hamlet (1999), Rosencrantz & Gildenstern are Dead (1999), Bus Stop (2000)
  • Portland Repertory Theatre: Arcadia
  • Artist Repertory Theatre: The Misanthrope, How I Learned To Drive as well as Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, Angels in America, The Food Chain
  • Circle X Theatre: Laura Comstock's Bag Punching Dog (2002) - LA Weekly award,[12]Sperm (2004)
  • Vineyard Playhouse: Fighting Words by Sunil Kuruvilla (2003)[13]

Improv[edit]

She became a regular performer at The Groundlings,[14] where she was discovered by Saturday Night Live.[15] Watkins said the appeal of sketch work is that she can write for herself at The Groundlings.[2]

TV[edit]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

In November 2008, Watkins joined the cast of Saturday Night Live along with Abby Elliott. Wakins said that she was the oldest woman they ever hired.[2] Watkins made her first major appearance on the show as Arianna Huffington on the November 22nd Weekend Update.[16][17] Watkins remained on SNL as a featured player throughout the rest of the 2008-2009 season, up to the season finale on May 16, 2009.

However while SNL was on summer hiatus, the news broke in early September 2009, that Watkins, along with fellow castmate Casey Wilson, were both to be let go from the show[18][19] and would not be returning for the 2009-2010 season.[20][21]

In a statement, Watkins said:

I will say to you now, though, that I had a GREAT time there. Met some of the most truly talented and fantastic people, had the most exciting job and I honestly can say I don't have any regrets I can think of right now. Although it seems kinda crazy right now, this may shake out to make sense to everyone. Lorne isn't known for indulging in any lip-service and I feel very encouraged by his words last week. I'm working on something I'm very excited about now, so... the journey continues, and I feel so lucky I got to stop off at 30 Rock. It was awesome.[20]

Impressions on SNL[edit]
Recurring characters on SNL[edit]
  • Angie Tempura: A geeky, iced coffee-drinking computer nerd who snarks on celebrities and movies and is the creator of the snarky website "Bitch Pleeze" (www.bitchpleeze.com, which redirects to the SNL site). Though she insults celebrities, Angie was revealed to have a crush on Zac Efron.

Post-Saturday Night Live TV[edit]

She has appeared with recurring roles in the comedy programs as Lucy opposite Hamish Linklater in the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, Enlightened, New Girl, Anger Management. As well as making guest appearances on shows such as Hung, Childrens Hospital, Kroll Show, Key & Peele, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Modern Family.

Watkins most recently starred with alongside Malin Åkerman, Bradley Whitford, and Marcia Gay Harden in the short-lived, but well-received[22] ABC sitcom Trophy Wife.[23][24] The series aired for one season from September 2013 to May 2014.[25]

Producing, writing[edit]

Watkins co-created (with writing partner and fellow Groundling, Damon Jones)[26] the USA Network comedy series Benched.[27] The series stars Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington and premiered on October 28, 2014.[28] Watkins is also an executive producer on the show.[29]

Film[edit]

Watkins has appeared with supporting roles in films such as Enough Said, In a World...,[30] Afternoon Delight, The Back-Up Plan, and Wanderlust, as well as the upcoming They Came Together starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd.

Personal life[edit]

On the origin of her first name: Watkins said her parents originally wanted a boy, so when she was born they added an "a" to her name.[2]

Watkins is married to Fred Kramer, who is a founding partner of Reason Ventures and General Manager of Critical Mass Studios, Inc.[31] Kramer previously was Executive Director of the Jewish World Watch organization, a Los Angeles based anti-genocide non-profit, focused on the situations in Sudan and Congo.[32] They married in July 2013.[33] Watkins said that Kramer was the first Jewish man she dated.[2]

Watkins lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.[31]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1998 Inconceivable Marcy
2008 Yoga Matt Jill Goering Short film
2010 The Back-Up Plan Mona
The Prankster Miss LaFleur
Welcome to the Jungle Gym Principal Gilly Short film
Worst Enemy Wooly Short film
2011 Una Hora Por Favora Elissa Short film
2012 Wanderlust Marisa Gergenblatt
2013 Afternoon Delight Jennie
iSteve Melinda Gates
In a World... Dani
Bunion Therapist Short film
Enough Said Hillary
2014 They Came Together Habermeyer

Television[edit]

Year Show Role First Episode Notes
2001 Charmed Andrea "Death Takes A Halliwell" 1 episode
2003 Miss Match Susan Scott "Divorce Happens" 1 episode
Without A Trace Marla "Maple Street" 1 episode
2004 Strong Medicine Julia "Bleeding Heart" 1 episode
2006 Medium Clerk "Sweet Child O' Mine" 2 episodes
Modern Men Amanda "Pilot" 1 episode
Grey's Anatomy Nikki Ratlin "Superstition" 1 episode
Malcolm In The Middle Receptionist "Hal's Dentist" 1 episode
7 Deadly Hollywood Sins Jennifer "Gluttony" 4 episodes
2007 Revenge Mary-Louise "Pilot" TV Pilot
2008 Man Stroke Woman (US Version) Various "Pilot" TV Pilot
Frank TV Julia Roberts "Episode 2.1" 1 episode
Californication Executive "Coke Dick & First Kick" 2 episodes
2008–2009 Saturday Night Live Cast Member "Episode 34.8" 15 episodes
The New Adventures of Old Christine Lucy "How I Hate Your Mother" 7 episodes
2009 Eli Stone Judge Leigh Rappaport "Sonoma" 1 episode
2010 Parenthood Lucy Estman "Team Braverman" 1 episode
Miami Medical Carla "Time of Death" 1 episode
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm Saundra "The Safe House" 1 episode
Hung Judy "Don't Give Up on Detroit or Hung Like a Horse" 1 episode
Private Practice Laura Martin "Deal with It" 1 episode
2011–2013 Enlightened Janice Holm "Now or Never" 9 episodes
2012 The Life & Times of Tim Homeless Woman "Pudding Boy/The Celebrity Who Shall Remain Nameless" 1 episode
Childrens Hospital Detective Lacey Briggs "The Return of the Young Billionaire" 1 episode
Key & Peele Mary Magdalene "Episode 2.1" 1 episode
Modern Family Susan "Schooled" 1 episode
2013 Kroll Show Various Roles "Please God" 2 episodes
Anger Management Lisa "Charlie and Kate Do It for Money" 2 episodes
2013–2014 Trophy Wife Jackie Fisher Series regular 22 episodes
2014 Drunk History Nurse Season 2, Episode 2: "New York City" 1 episode
2011–2014 New Girl Gina "Bad In Bed" 4 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michaela Suzanne Watkins - United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rivers, Joan (2 April 2014). "In Bed With Joan - Episode 51: Michaela Watkins" (Video interview). In Bed With Joan. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Watkins, Mark E. "Mark E. Watkins - My Biography". Webpage of Mark E. Watkins, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Mark Watkins, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics". Syracuse University. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "She's got characters". Boston Globe. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Herbert, Geoff (24 September 2013). "'Trophy Wife': Syracuse native Michaela Watkins stars on new ABC TV show". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Gilmartin, Paul (22 June 2012). "Episode 66: Michaela Watkins". The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Hoffman, David (30 August 2012). "The Groundlings Podcast: 04: Michaela Watkins" (Audio interview - mp3). The Groundlings. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  9. ^ Hughley, Marty (14 November 2008). "Former Portlander Michaela Watkins to join "SNL" cast". Oregon Live. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Schwartz, Jonas (9 March 2004). "Sperm". Theater Mania. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Mikulan, Steven (20 January 2005). "As I Die Lying: Tuning family heartstrings in the ICU". LA Weekly. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Laura Comstock's Bag Punching Dog". Circle X Theatre. July 16 – August 25, 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Kuruvilla, Sunil. "Fighting Words". The Vineyard Playhouse. Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Performers: Michaela Watkins - Main Company". Groundlings. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Miller, Julie (5 June 2014). "40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Update: Arianna Huffington - Video - Saturday Night Live". NBC. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 21 May 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Mechare, Ethan (3 November 2010). "Michaela Watkins on Doin' It With Ethan". Doin It With Ethan. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Ausiello, Michael (4 September 2009). "Exclusive: Michaela Watkins 'shocked' by 'SNL' firing". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (4 September 2009). "Michaela Watkins on Her ‘Saturday Night Live’ Exit". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  20. ^ a b McCarthy, Sean L. (4 September 2009). "Addition through subtraction: SNL fires Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson!?". The Comic's Comic. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Holmes, Linda (9 September 2009). "SNL's Michaela Watkins 'Just Too Classically Pretty To Be Hilarious'?". Monkey See (blog) (NPR). Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Heisler, Steve (1 April 2014). "Trophy Wife’s Michaela Watkins on Her Brief SNL Stint, Modern Divorce, and Crazy Ladies". Vulture (New York Magazine). Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  23. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (6 September 2013). "Defying Expectations, TV Actors Try Different Roles". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  24. ^ Rodman, Sarah (24 September 2013). "Michaela Watkins is ‘Wife’ material". Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  25. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (9 May 2014). "ABC reportedly cancels 'Trophy Wife' & 'Mixology'". HitFix. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  26. ^ Katz, Jessie; Kirby, Brandon (30 April 2014). "'Off the Cuff' Podcast: Michaela Watkins Explains Why Her 'Tropphy Wife' Costumes are a 'Fashion Jam'" (Podcast interview). Pret-a-Reporter (Hollywood Reporter). Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  27. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (21 February 2014). "'Under the Dome' Alum Boards USA's 'Benched' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (24 January 2014). "USA Orders Eliza Coupe Comedy 'Benched' to Series". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  29. ^ Peikert, Mark (11 February 2014). "Spotlight On: Michaela Watkins, ABC’s ‘Trophy Wife’". Backstage. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  30. ^ Smith, Krista (21 January 2013). "Lake Bell and Michaela Watkins on "In a World"" (Video interview). Vanity Fair. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Team: Fred Kramer, Founding Member/Partner". Reason Ventures. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  32. ^ Berrin, Danielle (15 May 2012). "New world view". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  33. ^ "Fred Kramer & Michaela Watkins - Wedding Registry". The Knot. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 

External links[edit]