Arts and Culture

From JMU to SNL

Alan Linic collage
"Saturday Night Live" writer Alan Linic (right) co-wrote a recent skit in which special guest Matt Damon gets into an argument with cast member Leslie Jones at a dinner party over the band Weezer's career.

SUMMARY: Alan Linic's ('11) Madison Experience put him on a path to a career in comedy, most recently as a writer for "Saturday Night Live."

By Hannah Long (’19)

In high school, Alan Linic (’11) was voted “Most Likely to Be on Saturday Night Live.” Now, he’s living up to those early expectations.

In September, Linic was called in to audition for the iconic sketch comedy show after being seen performing in Chicago with the famed Second City Touring Company. Within a few weeks, he had a job as an SNL writer.

Linic described his first day at SNL as “wild,” as he was in the presence of actors he had watched on TV for so long.

“You want to write good things for them, make them look good and hopefully have them come to trust and like your material,” Linic said. “But at the same time, it’s a job and there are expectations, so you don’t really have time to geek out all the time. I had to cram that down and just get to work.”

At JMU, Linic majored in English with a minor in creative writing. He led an original production at the Studio Theatre, directed a number of student plays and was one of the head writers for the Early Late Show, an interview-style talk show that featured comedy skits and musical guests.Two of Linic’s English professors, Marina Favila and Dawn Goode, encouraged him to follow his dreams and do what was best for him.

“It’s important to have someone who is willing to support your specific learning style or point of view,” Linic said. “There are teachers that you’ll remember forever, and those two are definitely among those for me.”

At JMU, Linic was was one of the head writers for the Early Late Show, an interview-style talk show that featured comedy skits and musical guests.

Linic had always been interested in writing and performing, but what really put him on a path to a career in comedy was the improvisation team at JMU, New and Improv’d. A former director of the team had spent a semester in Chicago working with a program called Comedy Studies, in which students learn the inner workings of professional sketch shows.

"It was like a semester abroad, but you go to Chicago and study comedy instead of going to Italy and studying architecture,” Linic said. “I thought, OK, now that I know these places exist, this is it for me."

Alan Linic - fountain

After graduation, Linic moved to Chicago and began training with the iO and Second City improvisation programs. After a few years as an understudy, he was asked to perform as a member of one of the Second City residence stages. He stayed with the troupe for four years.

In the future, Linic hopes to continue his career at SNL and become a better and stronger writer. “I think at the end of the day, the only thing I know for sure about where I’m at or what I’ll be doing is that I constantly find ways to improve.”


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Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Last Updated: Saturday, January 2, 2021

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