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Kristen Wiig's SNL Characters: The Newest Five-Timers Club Member Names Her Favorite

Ahead of hosting SNL on April 6, Wiig looked back at her many memorable characters like the Target Lady, Dooneese, Penelope and Aunt Linda in an interview with Conan O'Brien.

By Samantha Vincenty

On April 6, 2024, Kristen Wiig will become a member of SNL's Five-Timers Club when she hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Raye. "I don't really know what that means, but I'm excited," Wiig told Jimmy Fallon during a March 20 visit to The Tonight Show. Her lack of familiarity with the milestone feels unlikely, given that Wiig was a cast member for seven years. But her comment is a testament to how humble Wiig is when it comes to discussing her enormous comic talent, as she did in a recent interview on the Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend podcast.

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"I've had people interview me that are disappointed," Wiig told Conan O'Brien, who was an SNL writer early in his career. She recalled particularly awkward interviews at the beginning of her time on SNL, saying, "I don't know if they expected me to talk in voices? But I'm also nervous. I don't know, I think people were like, She's not that funny!'"

While Wiig may prefer to keep it low-key off camera, she's all about the work, and she became larger-than-life on TV when the clock hit 11:30pm ET on Saturday night for seven years. 

RELATED: Every Celebrity in SNL's Five-Timers Club, from Buck Henry to Emma Stone

"For me, it was where I wanted to be," Wiig, who joined Saturday Night Live in 2005 and left in 2012, said. "I love the puzzles you have to put together at that show. When it's that meeting between dress and air and you have to take off a minute of your sketch? I love that, trying to figure things out, and what jokes can go."

RELATED: Kristen Wiig's Summaries of Movies She's Never Seen Are Hilarious

Wiig created many iconic characters during her seven-year tenure as a cast member, from doll-armed Dooneese to Sue, the lady who can't keep a secret. The favorite she revealed to O'Brien might be a bit of a deep cut to some.

Kristen Wiig Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers during weekend update on saturday night live

Aunt Linda is Kristen Wiig's favorite character from her time on Saturday Night Live

"It's ridiculous to even try to go through all the characters, but do you have a favorite?" O'Brien asked, wondering if there was one that "really speaks" to Wiig. 

"I feel like my favorite one, honestly, was someone I did on 'Update'—not even a ton of times, but her name was Aunt Linda," Wiig shared. 

"Yes, Aunt Linda!" O'Brien laughed. "The eye rolling alone..."

Wiig's Aunt Linda appeared on "Weekend Update" six times, debuting in 2006 during Season 32 and making a final appearance in 2010. Aunt Linda's sensible hairdo, no-nonsense expressions, and confused movie reviews left a lasting impression.

Update: Aunt Linda

Wiig shared that Aunt Linda "was based on someone that was on a plane," on a flight where everyone watched the same movie on overhead screens.

"It was The Matrix, and she was so confused. She was just like, 'Whaaat?',"  Wiig continued, slipping into Aunt Linda's catchphrase. "She's like, 'Why is he flying? She was like 'ahgh.' She was so loud, I was listening to her and writing down things she was saying. She was so upset and confused, and it just made me laugh."

RELATED: Debbie Downer Was Based on a Woman Rachel Dratch Met on Vacation

Wiig originally performed Aunt Linda when she was a comedian at L.A.'s The Groundlings before it wound up at the "Update" desk years later. 

Kristen Wiig, wearing a silver sleeveless dress and short brown hair, attends the Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love Birthday Special.

Watch more of Kristen Wiig's most memorable SNL characters

O'Brien perfectly summed up why Wiig's laser-precise comedy is so uniquely striking. 

"One thing that I liked so much about the work that you did at SNL — and then, again, you brought that to Bridesmaids — is you can go so quiet," O'Brien told her. "You can be so small, and it's perfect. I think it's one of the reasons I get drawn in. You're not trying to blow me off the roof with your comedy a lot of times. You can go big, but you also can go very small."

Of course, the ability to play it big is a requirement when starring in a live late night comedy show. Revisit a few of Wiig's funniest Saturday Night Live characters below. 

Target Lady

Target Lady: Classic Peg

Another character that originated at The Groundlings, Wiig revived her Target Lady for an actual Target commercial in April 2024. 


Lawrence Welk

The lovely Maharelle Sisters that grace SNL's version of The Lawrence Welk Show are each so unique—especially Dooneese, with her enormous forehead and tiny hands. 


Penelope: Thanksgiving

Kristen Wiig's Penelope is the world champ of one-upmanship, unable to let anyone's moment shine without offering a bigger brag as she twirls her hair. 

Sue the Surprise Lady

Surprise Lady

Sue was known for barely being able to contain her excitement over surprised—she's so freakin' excited!

Anastasia Sticks of "Hollywood Dish"

Hollywood Dish: Jennifer Lopez

Anastasia was one half of the obnoxious pair of entertainment journalists who interviewed/terrified celebrities in the "Hollywood Dish" sketches, and remains one of Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader's most magical team-ups. 


Every Gilly Ever

Wiig is a master at becoming someone else through movement and facial expressions, and troublemaker Gilly's overbite smile and jangly-limbed intro dance is the perfect example.