Taran Killam

Taran Killam

Though Taran Killam seemed like an overnight success when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975-) as a featured player in the fall of 2010, he already had an extensive resume at the time, including a stint on SNL's most successful competitor, "MADtv" (Fox 1995-2009). April Fool's raised in a small town near San Bernadino, CA, Killan made his film debut in 1994 in a small role in "The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult." In 2001, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of Fox's "MADtv" for one season. While studying with improv troupe The Groundlings in Los Angeles, Killam made guest appearances on a handful of comedy and variety series, including "All That" (Nickelodeon 1994-2005) and its spinoff, the Amanda Bynes vehicle "The Amanda Show" (Nickelodeon 1999-2002). He also had a small part in the Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy "Just Married" (2003). In 2005, Killam had a key role in a fascinating TV misfire called "Nobody's Watching." Created by writer/producer Bill Lawrence, the show was conceived as a meta-sitcom, in which two TV-obsessed young men, Derrick (Killam) and Will (Paul Campbell) are followed by a reality-TV camera crew as they try to write and produce their own sitcom. A pilot was produced for The WB, but the network declined after focus groups reacted negatively. But when the show appeared on YouTube the following year, it found enough fans to get a series of web-only episodes bankrolled by NBC in 2006-07. As part of the ongoing conceit of the series, Killam and Campbell appeared in character as background actors on a number of NBC series during this period, including "Days of Our Lives" (NBC 1965-) and Lawrence's own "Scrubs" (NBC 2001-08 / ABC 2009-2010). Killam returned to sketch comedy as a cast member on the improv show "Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out" (MTV 2005-07) and its more conventional sketch-based spinoff "Nick Cannon Presents: Short Circuitz" (MTV 2007). In 2006, Killam began an occasional recurring role on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS 2005-2014) as Blauman, an obnoxious co-worker of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). While working on that show, Killam met and began dating actress Cobie Smulders, who played the leading role of Robin Scherbatsky. The couple had a daughter, Shaelyn Cado Killam, in 2009, and got married in 2012. In 2010, Killam joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" as a featured player alongside fellow new faces Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittan and Jay Pharoah. Killam's boyish charisma made him an immediate standout among the new cast members. He proved adept at celebrity impersonations (including a dead-on skewering of Michael Cera's twee mannerisms in co-star Abby Elliott's recurring sketch "Gettin' Quirky With Zooey Deschanel"), and his original material had an oddball charm of its own. For example, his nearly wordless recurring sketch "Les Jeunes de Paris" consisted of cast members dancing madly to French pop songs on a set decorated like a nouvelle vague film of the early 1960s. Killam was promoted to the show's main cast at the start of the 38th season in 2012. The following year, Killam got his first major film role, as a disgruntled DEA agent in the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy buddy comedy "The Heat" (2013). Between seasons of SNL, Killam appeared in small roles in films ranging from the comedy sequel "Grown Ups 2" (2013) and "Teenage Mutant Ninaja Turtles" (2014) to Oscar-winner "12 Years a Slave" (2013). He also appeared as himself in a cameo in "Ted 2" (2015) and starred in the educational animated series "Nature Cat" (PBS Kids 2015-) in the title role. In August 2016, it was announced that Killam would not be returning to "Saturday Night Live" for his seventh season, in part because he was busy directing and co-starring in the action comedy "Why We're Killing Gunther" (2017) with Arnold Schwarzenegger.