“There are so many funny women in the world, and there has been for so many years, so I’ll be happy when people can just move on from that, and things can just be ‘comedies’ and not ‘female’ or ‘male,’ and everyone gets an equal opportunity.”—Kristen Wiig
Whether you know her from Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids or the Ghostbusters reboot, Kristen Wiig has cemented herself as an actor and comedian who has also done her share of more serious film roles. But amazingly, this comic icon didn’t even think about a career in showbiz until fairly late in her life, and to this day she seems almost confused by her superstardom, preferring to stay out of the spotlight and to let her roles speak for themselves. Well, she can do what she wants, all we care about is that she continues to leave us in stitches, or bring us to tears, for years to come. And really, who isn’t excited to see her take on the role of the villainous Cheetah in the next Wonder Woman movie? Read on for 26 facts about this talented, interesting, and above all else, hilarious star.
Kristen Wiig Facts
Wiig’s work with SNL earned her four consecutive Emmy nominations. She also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay along with her friend and co-writer Annie Mumolo, for Bridesmaids. In a twist of fate, Wiig’s performance in Zoolander 2 also earned her a Golden Raspberry Award for “Worst Supporting Actress.” So she’s really got her bases covered, awards-wise.
25. Sketch Artist
Wiig almost had an extremely different career. When she was younger and living in Tuscon, Arizona, she actually got a job at a plastic surgery clinic drawing patients’ post-surgery bodies. The day before she was supposed to start, she took a look in the mirror asked herself “if you could do anything, what would it be?” The next day, she packed up her car and moved to LA to pursue acting. Thank goodness she did!
24. Funny People
In 2009, Entertainment Weekly named Wiig one of the 25 “Funniest Actresses in Hollywood.” She also won an Emmy Award for her work on SNL that year. So basically, she was on top of Los Angeles and New York at the same time—not too shabby.
23. Camera Shy
Despite her status as an A-list actor, Wiig shies away from the limelight: “It doesn’t interest me at all. Acting and being in the public, to me, are two different things.” She famously keeps her personal life close to her chest, and she’s not active on social media at all. In today’s world of celebrity, that’s rare indeed.
22. Words of Encouragement
After a small role in Knocked Up, director Judd Apatow encouraged Wiig to write the film that would become Bridesmaids. Wiig and her friend Annie Mumolo went through numerous drafts and their busy schedules made it more difficult to coordinate time to write together. At one point, Mumolo flew to Mexico so that she could join Wiig on the set of another film and write. Hey, they put in the work, and it really paid off.
21. Extra Credit
Wiig studied art at the University of Arizona, and at one point ended up taking an acting class for a program credit. Her professor then encouraged her to pursue acting as an actual career. Before that, she had given absolutely no thought to the idea of working in show business.
20. In Good Company
In LA, Wiig took acting lessons with the iconic sketch and improv group The Groundlings, where other comedians like Will Ferrell, Conan O’Brien, Phil Hartman and Lisa Kudrow also cut their teeth. Some of Wiig’s most famous SNL sketches were actually developed while she was working with The Groundlings.
19. Rock Star
In Wiig’s words, she lived “more of a rock-star life” when she was 15. She “cared more about hanging out and skipping school than studying.” Since actually becoming rich and famous, she’s more or less given up the partying lifestyle. You did it backward, Kristen!
18. How Now
Wiig’s love of chocolate led to her friends giving her the nickname “Brown Cow.” I’m sure that it’s meant to be endearing, but seriously, Brown Cow? Who wants to be called Brown Cow?
17. The Lonely Island
Wiig’s time on SNL means that she has appeared in some of the Lonely Island’s classic videos. Most famously, she portrayed Justin Timberlake’s love interest in the music video for their smash hit “Dick in a Box.” What an honor!
16. Stage Fright
Wiig’s stage fright nearly prevented her from taking her first acting class at the University of Arizona: “I was terrified… I don’t really like talking in front of groups of people. Through high school, if I ever had to give a speech, I would try to get out of it or not go to school that day.” Not exactly what you’d expect from one of the funniest comedians in the world, but there you have it, there’s hope for all of us introverts everywhere.
15. Feeling the Bern
Wiig was one of many celebrities to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries. Wiig (and her dog) were featured in a YouTube video on the channel “We’re Feeling It” where several famous celebrities advocated for the Vermont Senator’s (eventually unsuccessful) bid for the Democratic nomination.
Wiig is a vegetarian, which she cites as one of the reason’s she’s able to stay healthy with such a hectic schedule. As she puts it “I eat a lot of tofu and soy. I drink a lot of water, and I’m addicted to cranberry juice.” Whoa, slow down there Kristin!
13. Viking Blood
Ever wonder the origin of the name Wiig? Well, wonder no more; it’s Norwegian, specifically from the Sogn og Fjordane region in Western Norway. Her father has a mix of Norwegian and Irish ancestry, while her mother is of Scottish and English descent.
Wiig auditioned for Saturday Night Live in front of some pretty heavy hitters—specifically SNL head Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey, whom Wiig greatly admires due to her presence as a female pioneer in comedy. Fey was SNL’s first female head writer, and Wiig cites her as an inspiration in deciding to pursue comedy. As we all know, the audition went quite well, so it seems like Wiig must have somehow managed to deal with the pressure of performing in front of such a legendary audience.
Wiig was a full-time member of the SNL cast from 2005-2012, during which time she took part in 468 sketches. After Amy Poehler’s departure in 2008, Wiig became the most senior female cast member. In her time on the show, she gave us countless classic characters such as Aunt Linda, Gilly, Kathy Lee Gifford and the Target Lady.
10. Odd Job
After the move to LA, Wiig performed a variety of jobs to make ends meet. These included babysitting, selling peaches at a farmer’s market, catering Hollywood events and selling hot dogs.
9. Back at It
Moving forward, Wiig and Reese Witherspoon are going to be starring in and producing a new TV series for Apple (yes, like iPhones and iMacs Apple, they’re getting into the TV game now). The series will mark Wiig’s first return to a regular TV role since her departure from SNL. As of yet, very little is known about the project except that it will start with ten 30-minute episodes.
8. Looking Back
Despite her success in comedic roles, Wiig was surprised to see that fellow students praised her for her sense of humor in her high school yearbook: “I was surprised people wrote I had a good sense of humor. I don’t remember being funny.” Hard to believe.
7. Serious Side
Aside from dramatic roles in movies like The Skeleton Twins, Wiig also starred in the made-for-TV Lifetime drama A Deadly Adoption. Her dramatic costar? Will Ferrell. Despite what people might expect, the two play their roles completely earnestly, as if it were any other Lifetime flick. Originally, the idea was for the project to remain a secret until it aired and for shocked Lifetime viewers to one day flip to the channel and be bewildered by the sight of two comedy legends. Unfortunately, the project was leaked before its release, and the surprise was ruined, so people were mostly just confused by the movie’s lack of jokes (minus, of course, a bizarre, extended dance scene at the very end).
Wiig is known for portrayals of over-the-top characters, ranging from her SNL characters to her feature-length film roles. Wiig has also stated that she finds these roles the most fun to play, “It’s fun for me to play people who are just kind of odd.” Well good thing Kristin, because it’s fun for us to watch!
Aside from voice acting roles in films such as How to Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me, Wiig has also voiced an FBI agent in The Simpsons, and has had roles in The Cleveland Show and Spongebob Squarepants. The question is, did you recognize her in any of these?
Wiig recalls walking around her neighborhood with her dad’s empty guitar case because she wanted people to think she played the guitar. But don’t worry, she didn’t use the case for nothing—she would put some Flintstones vitamins in there in case she got tired on her long treks and needed the boost that you can only get from those little tasty treats.
3. Moving On Up
Wiig was once a waitress in the executive dining room at Universal Studios: “A couple times I’ve seen executives and I’m like, ‘How do I know you? Oh, I used to give you Cobb salad and Arnold Palmers, and I had a tie and khaki pants on.’” Now that’s the kind of upward mobility that I could sure go for.
2. Trying New Things
Wiig was recently cast in the next film in the Women Woman franchise as Cheetah, a supervillain. She’ll appear in Wonder Woman 1984, coming out in November 2019, as Barbara Ann Minerva, a British anthropologist who finds a lost city and becomes the villainous Cheetah after accidentally becoming part of an ancient ritual. After a brief yet sinister turn in Mother!, fans are excited to see what Wiig will do with the role.
1. Bizarre Love Triangle
Drew Barrymore and Kristen Wiig are close friends—which made it all the more surprising when Wiig began dating Fabrizio Moretti in 2011. How come? Well, Barrymore and Moretti, drummer for indie rock band The Strokes, dated seriously from 2003 to 2007. It could’ve easily turned into a classic Hollywood love triangle, with lots of tabloid drama and fans making “Team Drew” and “Team Kristen” shirts, but the two remained friends throughout. Barrymore called the situation “wacky and incestuous,” and expressed that she thought the union made sense. Either way, Wiig and Moretti only lasted a few years, and she’s been linked to actor Avi Rothman in the years since.