TORONTO — Bobby Moynihan has spent the past nine years on Saturday Night Live, injecting a lovable charm into impressions of Guy Fieri and Snooki, and making audiences squirm with his Drunk Uncle character.
But for all the memorable moments, nothing compares to the last season, which was his swan song.
As Moynihan stars in the new sitcom Me, Myself & I, debuting Monday on CTV and CBS, he says he felt it was time to move on from SNL and he’s happy he went out on a high note.
“You can’t go out on a better season, I think. I was pretty happy,” Moynihan said during a recent stop in Toronto.
“I felt like I worked at one place for eight years and then another place for one year, because it was just a whole different story. This year was (important), especially in these times.”
With wild developments on U.S. politics continuously cropping up during U.S. President Donald Trump’s tenure, the SNL cast has gone through a roller-coaster ride behind the scenes, said Moynihan.
The writers usually start planning sketches for the Saturday broadcast on Tuesday or Wednesday, explained the curly haired native of Eastchester, N.Y.
But ever-evolving Trump news means they often have to rewrite bits much later in the week, sometimes even between dress rehearsal and airtime.
“People really don’t understand how insane it is,” said Moynihan. ”This year was especially crazy because you would come in on Saturday and they were like, ‘Trump did this insane thing, we have to rewrite the whole cold open.’”
Me, Myself & I stars Moynihan as a 40-year-old inventor reeling from a split with his wife.
John Larroquette co-stars as the 65-year-old version of his character, Alex, in 2042. Jack Dylan Grazer plays the 14-year-old version of Alex in 1991.
“It was a really funny, very sweet show, kind of reminded me of The Wonder Years, a little bit,” said Moynihan.
Moynihan, Larroquette and Grazer had to work on emulating each other in certain ways before shooting the series to ensure a continuity to the character.
They couldn’t do anything about the height differential between him and Laroquette, though.
“John Laroquette, I think he’s like seven feet tall. He’s a very large man,” said Moynihan, who is shorter.
“I’m an inventor in the show and I keep saying, ‘Say he got into an accident and invented something that made him six inches taller somehow. We can figure it out.’”
Playing a straight-laced guy is a departure for Moynihan, who usually thrives on playing flawed but endearing characters.
His famous Drunk Uncle character came to him one bleary-eyed night in the studio.
“It was five o’clock in the morning, I was about to leave and Colin Jost was like, ‘I’ve got to write an update. Do you have any ideas?’” recalled Moynihan.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll do this drunk character, maybe Drunk Uncle or something,’ and that was it.”
Moynihan said Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Sigourney Weaver and Jude Law are among his favourite SNL hosts he’s worked with.
SNL cast members Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata also left the show at the end of the last season, which recently won nine Emmys.
Moynihan is optimistic about the future of SNL.
“People leave and the show keeps going. That’s the best part about it,” he said. “Amy Poehler and Darrell Hammond were still on the show when I got it and that seems like 20 years ago.
“That last day … one of the biggest realizations was, ‘This show is going to be fine without me.’ … Now I get to go back to being a fan and watching it and hope that someday they’ll let me host — that weird, childhood dream.”