UD alum to be first nonbinary cast member of ‘Saturday Night Live’

Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Molly Kearney, a University of Dayton alum, will be the first nonbinary cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” according to www.nbcnews.com.

The season premiere of “SNL” will air Saturday night on NBC and will be available for streaming live on Peacock. Live shows will continue on Oct. 8 and Oct. 15, according to a press release from NBC.

A nonbinary person does not identify exclusively as either gender.

Kearney joins three other new cast members for season 48 including Marcello Hernandez, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.

Dayton.com reached out to “SNL” to schedule an interview with Kearney, but was told Kearney was not available at this time for interviews.

UD Theatre alum and current faculty member Jenna Gomes De Gruy told Dayton.com that she was in a couple of theater classes with Kearney, but mostly saw each other in social situations or when working on theater outside of class.

“At UD in 2012, Molly did a one-person original comedy show called “Welcome to the Kearnival,” and I remember looking at them afterwards and saying, “I’m going to see you on ‘SNL.’” Needless to say, I’m not the least bit surprised that has come true,” De Gruy wrote in a post on the University of Dayton’s Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program’s Instagram page.

De Gruy said that Kearney had inspired her personally to write a one-person comedy show that never went anywhere, but is drafted.

“Everybody loved Molly because they were such a big part of so many aspects of campus,” De Gruy said. “They made themselves accessible to everyone in this way that even though none of us were their best friend, they made us feel special. They brought lot of laughs and light to the student theatre organization because they always found ways to make everyone easier/lighter.”

She added that Kearney had directed a short play, called “Action” by Sam Shepherd, among participating in various studio theatre events.

Dayton.com spoke with Matthew Evans, a lecturer and technical director of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program at UD, as well as the Boll Theatre manager, who said Kearney took his scenic painting class.

“Molly was here when I got here in 2011,” he said. “Molly was actually my very first student in scenic painting class.”

Evans explained that Kearney was very good with scale and had an eye for art and color. He said their passion was always elevated in the work that Kearney was performing.

He said he’s told some of his students about Kearney’s accomplishments.

“I think it reinforced with the students how valuable student organizations are in a university setting,” Evans said.

He added that even though organizations are supervised by faculty members, students still have the freedom to choose their shows and casts.

“Molly made it a point to be there for everyone in meaningful small ways - and I only hope they’d roll their eyes at me when I say - “That’s the definition of community. That’s UD,”” De Gruy said.

Kearney, who is a Cleveland native, was selected for Comedy Central’s “Up Next” showcase in 2019 and can be seen in Amazon’s “A League of Their Own” and Disney+’s “The Mighty Ducks,” NBC said.

For more information about “SNL,” visit www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live.

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