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Chloe Troast's Singing in SNL's "Little Orphan Cassidy" Was Michael McDonald-Inspired

SNL's sole Season 49 cast addition "did a little bit of a Michael McDonald impression" while writing the surprising song from her breakout sketch.

By Samantha Vincenty

In October 2023, Saturday Night Live returned amid heavy buzz following a strike-shortened Season 48. Weeks before the premiere, fans had the same question they have every year ahead of a fresh SNL cycle: Who would be in the Season 49 cast? As it turned out, everyone from the previous season returned, plus one new face: New York-based comedian Chloe Troast. As the sole new addition to a formidable 17-person cast, the Featured Player more than rose to the challenge of distinguishing herself. And the "Little Orphan Cassidy" sketch was Troast's first true showcase.

How to Watch

Watch Saturday Night Live Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.  

In "Little Orphan Cassidy," Troast plays an Annie-esque orphanage resident who's just learned she's been passed over for adoption again. The set darkens as Troast's Cassidy walks to the window, a piano plinking in the background. No one watching expected what came out of her mouth next: A low-toned, gorgeous singing voice uniquely delivering a very, very funny song about why she's unadoptable, with intermittent commentary from the moon (November 11, 2023 Host Timothée Chalamet). 

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While Troast had appeared in Season 49's prior three episodes — she played Marcello Hernández's latest girlfriend in the "Overprotective Mom 2" sketch with Bad Bunny and Pedro Pascal — "Little Orphan Cassidy" was an instant breakout moment.

A headshot of Chloe Troast for Saturday Night Live

Chloe Troast's "Little Orphan Cassidy" can't get adopted 

"What is it about me that they don't understand? What is about me that they don't get?" Troast's Orphan Cassidy croons, contorting her mouth to lean into the lyrics. "Oh, what is it that makes me never get adopted? Oh, what is it about me?" 

The moon attempts to soothe her concerns, but soon backtracks as he learns what the problem might be: She's a 27-year-old flat earther who may have "started Covid," and is definitely running scams with her 51-year-old boyfriend, Putty (Day).

"You're a bad person!" Chalamet's moon declares at the end of Cassidy's ballad. 

"Little Orphan Cassidy" was written by Chloe Troast, Mikey Day, and Streeter Seidell

"A week prior, Mikey Day came up to me and was like, 'You know, I really see you, like, looking out a window and singing something. And maybe you’re, like, an orphan or something,'" Troast told Cosmopolitian. "We need new ideas every week, so I was like, I think I’m going to try and write that. So it was born out of that little seedling of an idea mentioned in passing in the hallway."

While Troast's gorgeous singing voice has since been used to great effect in other Season 49 sketches, her choice to go low was inspired by a certain soulful vocalist. "As I sat in my office writing it, I did a little bit of a Michael McDonald impression," she told Cosmopolitan. "And that made me laugh."

Noting that she'd wanted to invoke a "rolling giggle" from the audience throughout, Troast continued, "I wrote it on a Tuesday and sent it to Mikey and Streeter Seidell, who’s one of the head writers at SNL. They write together all the time, so I was like, 'If you two can make a pass at this and change or edit whatever. I don’t know if my format is even right.' And they did."

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Troast said that Day was supportive at the sketch's table read, adding, "Mikey leaned in toward me and was like, 'No matter how this goes, don’t sweat it.' But once I started singing, even Mikey, who had worked on the sketch, started laughing! Everyone in the room was like, 'What the hell is this?!' That was my biggest feeling of true euphoria, doing that for the first time at table. Feeling like the people I look up to had given me their stamp of approval."

Troast told Cosmopolitan that she was barely certain the sketch would make it on the air, as sketches get cut for various reasons each week. "But once I got on the stage, and we’re all in costume, and I see Timothée wearing the green screen morph suit that I made him wear to become the moon, I was like, Oh my god, okay, it’s actually happening."

Troast's other Season 49 musical moments include playing Mama Cass in Emma Stone's "Make Your Own Kind of Music" sketch, and playing Chris Stapleton's terrifying girlfriend in the "Get That Boy Back" music video from Ryan Gosling's April 13 episode.

Emma Stone during a sketch on Saturday Night Live Episode 1850

RELATED: Chris Stapleton Plays a Golden-Voiced Boyfriend in SNL's "Get That Boy Back" 

Chloe Troast during a sketch on Saturday Night Live Episode 1861

Watch SNL's "Little Orphan Cassidy" sketch above, and stream all 49 seasons of Saturday Night Live on Peacock