Vanessa Bayer joked that she used to take home the M&M’S venues offered when she toured with Second City “because I love M&M’S, but also because it made me feel like I was getting paid more.”
The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member got a sweet homecoming Tuesday when she returned to Second City to help local students share their stories at a private M&M’S event to benefit the Red Nose Day fundraising campaign to end child poverty. Bayer said this is her first year participating in the festivities.
“As someone who really benefited from comedy, and it’s been like a very uplifting, kind of inspiring thing in my life, it’s very cool to get to watch these kids experience that,” Bayer told the Tribune. Footage of the Second City show is slated to be available online May 23, a day before the Red Nose Day special airs on NBC.
Bayer, 36, lived in Chicago for the six years between graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and joining “SNL” in 2010. She did improv and stand-up here as she worked at an ad agency.
Before she became famous on “SNL” for her Miley Cyrus impression and Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy character, she made her big debut in the Tribune in 2007 — not for performing, but for running. Bayer and a friend were photographed participating in a city running tour for a story on guided fun runs. One very glamorous shot shows Bayer’s back as the group makes its way through an underpass.
“You pay to have a tour guide lead you on a run, which as sort of a lazy person, I don’t know if I would have done it again, but it was a very cool concept for people that are motivated,” Bayer said.
Since she left “SNL” last year after seven seasons, the Ohio native has been performing stand-up at colleges and guest-starring on “Will & Grace” and “Love.”
She stars in the film “Ibiza,” about a work trip gone wild, that’s set to premiere May 25 on Netflix. Bayer comes to Chicago about once a year and plans to visit friends and her favorite local spot, Penny’s Noodle Shop in Lakeview.
“The veggie bowl… it doesn’t have sauce, but it’s so good,” Bayer said. “It doesn’t overpower the M&M’S.”
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