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Interview: Ana Gasteyer of ‘American Auto’ On Her Love of Ensembles, SNL, and Singing

Ana Gasteyer has been entertaining fans for decades. You probably recognize her from her work on Saturday Night Live which included several iconic characters such as Margaret Jo McCullin on the NPR lark, ‘Delicious Dish’ with Molly Shannon. The sketch had everyone wondering (and laughing about) just how salty and misshapen a Schweddy Ball could be. Gasteyer has also appeared on numerous television series, from Suburgatory to The Good Wife to The Goldbergs. Her appearance on screen was usually a sign that something funny is about to happen.

You may be surprised her skills do not end at acting. She is also an accomplished singer. Sure, her work alongside Will Ferrell as Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp on SNL should have given me a clue, but she takes it to the next level with her work on Broadway (including this chill-inducing song from Wicked) and her solo albums (including the jazzy, holiday delight ‘Sugar & Booze.’)

Even a bigger surprise was that her work on NBC’s American Auto is also her first television starring role – something she seems to pay no mind to. “To me, it’s much more important that I’m an ensemble member,” she unselfishly stated. “As a senior member of a staff, it sort of falls upon you to set the tone and take care of the people that you work with. But I was mostly grateful that it was a really good ensemble, because I love ensemble work.”

Gasteyer plays the Katherine Hastings, the new CEO of Payne Motors, who may be business savvy but is not the ideal fit to lead an automotive company since she comes armed with a pharmaceutical and a complete lack of cars themselves.

The series, from the creator of Superstore, Justin Spitzer, does not pull punches with its humor – it is smart and gutsy humor. This surprised Gasteyer at first, “When we set out to make a lot of these episodes, there’s this kind of like the old SNL in me that is like, ‘where have the Standards and Practices people that NBC has, been?.’ She continued, “I think it’s what makes it a good show. And I appreciate that it’s not softened or dumbed down or watered out. I think audiences are especially after having a steady diet of streaming for so long audiences are really comfortable with edges.”

For longtime fans we discussed plenty of SNL including if she would ever return to the long-running, prestigious comedy sketch show, her continuing friendships and an appearance by a genie that provides 

Watch the full conversation below. Ana was a true pleasure to speak with and through a heatwave, a few technical glitches and a genie I had a wonderful time speaking with her:

Watch season one of the recently-renewed for season two American Auto on Peacock.

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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Screen Radar and Awards Circuit. He has conducted celebrity and red carpet interviews with some of the industry’s biggest names. He is a graduate of RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.
Email: filmsnork@gmail.com

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