Vanessa Bayer

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Vanessa Bayer
Born Vanessa Polster Bayer[1]
(1981-11-14) November 14, 1981 (age 34)[2]
Orange, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Actress, comedian
Years active 2009–present

Vanessa Polster Bayer (born November 14, 1981 (1981-11-14))[2] is an American actress and comedian best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live since 2010.

Life and career[edit]

Bayer was born and raised in Orange, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.[3] She is the daughter of Carolyn (née Polster) and Todd Bayer.[4] Her family is Jewish. Bayer graduated from Orange High School in 2000[5] and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in communications and French,[6] graduating in 2004. Her older brother Jonah is a music journalist and musician who has written for various music and guitar magazines and has appeared as a music correspondent on Fuse TV, as well as being the guitarist for punk band United Nations. She currently collaborates with her brother on the web-series "Sound Advice" for Above Average. Bayer stars as Janessa Slater, a media coach who helps famous musicians change their image.[7][8]

Bayer fought leukemia as a teenager, after being diagnosed with the disease when she was 15. The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her wish to send her family on vacation to Hawaii. As a former "Make-A-Wish kid", Bayer continues to do work with the foundation. In 2015 she hosted their "Evening of Wishes Dinner" to help raise funds for wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.[9][4]

While attending college, Bayer interned on the television shows Sesame Street and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and participated in the cast of Bloomers, an all-female musical and sketch comedy troupe.[10] Bayer was part of the all-Jewish cast of Second City's stage show Jewsical: The Musical, a musical that presented a comedic take on Jewish life and culture.[11]

Bayer played the role of Kate Clark in the Chicago-based feature comedy Off the Cuff.

Bayer performed improvisational comedy at Chicago's ImprovOlympic, where she trained with SNL castmate Paul Brittain[3] as well as the Annoyance Theatre and Second City.[12]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Bayer joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player on September 25, 2010. Beginning with the 2012–2013 season, Bayer was promoted to repertory status. She has been praised for her performance on the show, with HitFix calling her "one of the strongest members of the ensemble" and Rolling Stone calling her "Saturday Night Live's secret weapon". In 2014, she was nominated for an American Comedy Award for her work on the show. Following the departure of Nasim Pedrad after the 2013-14 season, Bayer became the longest serving female cast member.

Her recurring characters include:



Year Title Role Notes
2009 Off the Cuff Kate Clark
2010 Stages of Emily Jocelyn Short film
2012 Adventures in the Sin Bin Superdawg Waitress
2013 Despicable Me 2 Flight Attendant Voice role
2015 Trainwreck Nikki
2016 Carrie Pilby Tara Filming
2016 Office Christmas Party Allison Filming
2017 The Polka King Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2010–present Saturday Night Live Various Series regular
2011 I Wanna Have Your Baby Connie 1 episode
2013 The Mindy Project Mary 1 episode
2014 Comedy Bang! Bang! Susan Armhold 1 episode
2014–15 Portlandia Various 3 episodes
2015 Man Seeking Woman Laura 2 episodes
2016 Drunk History Carrie Nation 1 episode


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Vanessa Bayer - About - Saturday Night Live - NBC". Saturday Night Live. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Moynihan, Rob. "SNL's Fab Four", TV Guide, March 7, 2011, Pages 44-45
  4. ^ a b Vanessa Bayer from the Orange High School website
  5. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' regular Vanessa Bayer, a Moreland Hills native, returns home to perform Sunday at the Improv". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  6. ^ "For Saturday Night Live's Bayer, humor a family affair - Cleveland Jewish News: Entertainment". Cleveland Jewish News. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  7. ^ "Penn Gazette | Alumni : Profiles". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  8. ^ "Jonah Bayer". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  9. ^ Daley, Megan (2015-06-22). "Vanessa Bayer talks to People about her childhood struggle with leukemia". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  10. ^ "All-Female Musical and Sketch Comedy at the University of Pennsylvania". Bloomers Comedy. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  11. ^ "Jews in the News: Rachel Specter, Grammys & Barbra Streisand". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 

External links[edit]