Laraine Newman, 57
How We First Met Her:
Laraine was the lovable pixie who made her debut along with the first season of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ You may remember her best as Connie, the rebellious teenage daughter of the alien family, The Coneheads, the airheaded Valley Girl, or Gilda Radner’s slumber party sidekick. But don’t let her innocent characters fool you. Laraine was a force to be reckoned with in the comedy circuits of Los Angeles. She was one of the founding members of the infamous comedy troupe, The Groundlings, which serves as a breeding ground for young talent, and feeds series like Reno 911, MADtv, and of course, ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Laraine was discovered at Groundlings by SNL mastermind, Lorne Michaels and the rest – as they say – is history.
Laraine, whose family was Jewish, has said she had a difficult time as a teenager attending Beverly Hills High, where she says she experienced “pervasive Jewish anti-Semitism,” during her time. Her adolescent awkwardness didn’t help things either. “I had acne, braces and my nose was my adult size, although I wasn’t,” she said. But she took these experiences and built some of most recognizable characters in SNL history – the WASPY Sheri who tries to fit in with her Jewish in-laws (her line was once, “Look, the shiksa made a Presbyterian pie.”), or Connie Conehead, who tries her hardest to rid herself of her alien roots, going so far at considering a “cone-job.”
“Well my favorite character that I brought from The Groundlings [Theater Company], was the Valley Girl. And my favorite character that I created at Saturday Night Live, which, I think, only pleased me and no one else, was Lena Wertmuller.”
Does she watch the current SNL season?
“Now that there’s TiVo, yeah!” she says. “I have a season pass and I think the cast is better than it has ever been. I just love the show.”
Why she left the show:
In the book ‘Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live,’ Laraine says she was unsatisfied with the amount of air time she had on the series – and also speaks of a rivalry with Gilda Radner. In another popular book, ‘Live From New York,’ she has also states that she had an ongoing heroin habit during her time on the show.
Laraine is currently married to writer/actor chad Einbinder and has two daughters, Lena and Hannah.
What She’s Doing Now:
The funny gal is currently working on a memoir about her life and her work at SNL, and is a contributing writer over at Huffington Post and the food blog, One For the Table. She also does extensive cartoon voice-over work in films like ‘WALL-E’, and has worked in numerous television series, most recently with guest appearances on ‘Entourage’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters.’