Noel Wells SNL
Photo: Stephanie Nelson Photography

Every year at this time, the air gets a little crisper, teens are in classrooms instead of loitering on street corners calling you old, and Saturday Night Live adds new cast members to make up for the big-timers who have jumped ship (don’t go, Kirsten Wiig! Not you too, Andy Samberg! Say it ain’t so, Fred Armisen!). And every year, the new ranks are oddly unbalanced in terms of gender.

Maybe with the loss of the old SNL class, Lorne Michaels would realize that patriarchy is so yesterday and shake his belief that men are funnier than women. Nope, turns out that was just a dream I had when I took that three-hour nap yesterday. Instead, back here in the real world, it was announced that there will be six new cast members, five of whom are men. Yay for dudes! They really needed that!

But all is not lost. Despite being marginalized, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, and others have been able to launch superstar careers from Studio 8H. And maybe the token female from this year’s batch of newbies can make that happen too. So let’s get better acquainted with her, shall we? Her name is Noel Wells, she is awesome at impersonations, she is half Tunisian and a quarter Latina (diversity!), and her Twitter handle is RealTomHankz. In case you need even more reasons to sign up for the Noel fan club, here are a few:

Watching her Zooey Deschanel impression is like watching New Girl, only you don’t hate yourself:

Watching her surly daughter from Homeland impression makes you feel better about all the bratty fits you’ve thrown recently (and gives you another reason to think about Claire Danes’ crying face):

Watching her subvert manic pixie girl stereotypes makes you believe in something (and will lead you into a Jonestown wiki k hole):

Watching her get drunk and do her best Joanna Newsom (and Miley Cyrus and Jewel and Lisa Loeb) voice makes you feel understood and almost normal.

Check out her other videos! And catch her on the season premiere of SNL on September 28th hosted by TIna Fey, who will hopefully someday replace Lorne Michaels and make everything better.

Meet Noel Wells, SNL’s New Token Female 10 December,2013Emmanuel Hapsis

  • tonyburgess1969

    I am kind of disappointed that there hasn’t been a African American female hired in quite some time (other tha n Maya Rudolph). Also there hasn’t been a Latino on the show either. There are a lot of other ethnicities not represented either.

  • Sean

    Lorne Michaels is a misogynist. Why else would he hire five men (two of which probably won’t make it past a season or two) right after his three best male actors left? No! This was the women’s time. Before this batch, the three previous hires had all been women. He should have kept going with that trend! Also, before this batch of hires, there was going to be more female sketch actors than male sketch actors next season. Not any more! Ugh, this is so frustrating. Like Emmanuel said, Lorne has already marginalized women like Tina Fey and Kristin Wiig enough! You say Kristin was one of the top three or four performers ever on SNL? Well then you should have put her in sketches from time to time. If I was Noel, I would boycott the show. It’s only when women stand up to the patriarchy of the show that things will change.

  • Noel Wells is the best. So happy for her!


Emmanuel Hapsis

Emmanuel Hapsis is the creator and editor of KQED Pop and also the host of The Cooler. He studied creative writing at University of Maryland and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. In his free time, he sings his heart out at karaoke.

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