LOS ANGELES | Bobby Moynihan freely admits he could have stayed with “Saturday Night Live” the rest of his life, “but I know that’s not a reality.”
At the end of a two-year contract extension, he went on a meeting for a new series and realized, “I could either stay and hang out at the place I love the most or I can try to become an adult and move on.”
Thanks to the persuasiveness of producer Dan Kopelman, he chose the latter, a new sitcom called “Me, Myself and I.” In the CBS venture, he plays the contemporary version of a man at three stages in his life. Jack Dylan Grazer (from “It”) plays the character at 14; Emmy winner John Larroquette plays him in his mid-60s.
“It’s a 50-year span,” says Kopelman. “We see in the show how the things that happen to you when you’re a kid affect you when you’re 40, when you’re later in life.”
Surprises abound. That little girl in the teen years could be someone entirely different in retirement. The show is something Moynihan thought would entertain and help address the topic of aging.
To make sure all three actors have similarities (even though they don’t look alike), they got together in rehearsal and devised tics and gestures that could carry through the generations. Kopelman capitalized on that and used it to make his points about who we really are as we age.
“If only I knew then what I know now” is a guiding force behind “Me, Myself and I.”
Indeed, if Moynihan could tell his 14-year-old self he would one day star on “SNL,” he’s not sure he would believe it.
The show was always a goal. “It was 13 years of trying to get on ‘SNL’ and then the day you get it, it’s like, ‘Oh, no, I have to keep going. This was my life’s dream. What am I going to do after this?’”
During his near-decade long run on the NBC variety show, Moynihan played everything from Drunk Uncle to Rosie O’Donnell. “I got to be silly and do all the characters and the stuff I love to do. But there was this little tiny part of me that was, like, ‘I was an acting major in college. I’d like to show people that I can actually be a grown man.’”
Because the ninth year of his run was rocked with Trump skits and jokes, “it felt like I was on one show for eight years and another for one year. It was a completely different machine last year.”
In the previous eight, the cast was pretty certain what skits would make the broadcast. “And then, all of a sudden, Trump happens and instead of doing the show in four days…you would come in on Friday and they’d be like, ‘He did something nuts. We have to redo everything.’ There were times where they were rewriting cold opens on Saturday morning.”
The excitement level was so high it easily stands as Moynihan’s favorite season.
On the day of his last episode, “I got shockingly sick. I woke up at 4 in the morning throwing up and feeling awful and I think it was just nerves.”
What could have been the worst night of his career turned out to be the best. After the cameras went off, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin and Kenan Thompson picked him up and carried him offstage. “When I think about it, I get emotional. It was the best.”
Now, Moynihan is working on the next stage of life, hoping it, too, will be fruitful. “This is my first time living in a house," he says. "I left the garage door open and I got very nervous.”