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Vanessa Bayer '00 Joins Cast of Saturday Night Live

September 24, 2010

The girl named "Most Likely to Succeed" by her fellow Orange High School graduates has been named to the cast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live". Vanessa Bayer '00 will appear on the September 25th season debut as the live comedy show kicks off its 36th season.

Bayer is one of four new featured players that will appear on the season opener that will be hosted by SNL Alum Amy Poehler with musical guest Katy Perry. Now living in New York, Bayer joins the cast of SNL from iO Chicago (formerly Improv Olympic), a Chicago theater outlet that counts Tina Fey, Mike Meyers, Chris Farley as well as Poehler among its notable alumni. Bayer has also been a part of the Annoyance Theatre and The Second City improv troupes.

Having trained in the Chicago area, Vanessa Bayer starred in the edgy puppet show "Felt" and the improv team "Revolver" at iO Chicago. She also performed stand-up at Zanies. Bayer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. While in college, she interned at "Sesame Street" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien".

Vanessa is the daughter of Todd and Carolyn Bayer, formerly of Moreland Hills. Her Orange City School District teachers remember Bayer from her days at OHS as a "straight A student" who graduated in the top five percent of her class of more than 200. Although she was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age, Bayer "met that challenge head-on with a smile on her face," said Marcia Katz, one of her guidance counselors at Orange.

That smile was contagious - classmates honored her with the "Best Smile" award her senior year along with the prestigious ‘Most Likely to Succeed" title.

"Through all that she had been through, she never stopped smiling and she never lost her sense of humor," said Eric Oberster, one of her cross country team coaches. "She is one of the sweetest, nicest, bravest girls that I have ever met."

Oberster recalls her nerves before her first cross country meet freshman year as he and fellow coach Jon Keller tried to instill in the girls to "do their best."

"And then at the starting line, hoping all the girls would have that fired-up look, we heard Vanessa tell the girl beside her that she liked her hair - she was so nervous that complimenting someone made her relax; it was so funny," said Oberster.

Selected for the OHS Homecoming Court, the Orange 13-year-club-member was also a part of the Spirit and Unity in Diversity clubs, the Student Government, the Orange Arts Seminar and the National Honor Society.

"Vanessa was a dedicated, strong, upbeat student who was kind to everyone and was very well liked," said history teacher Gail Price, who recalled Vanessa giving up her study hall to tutor another student who was struggling in math. "She is a great girl...Orange graduates are capable of anything they want. They are well prepared to be a success. Graduates should pursue their dreams because they CAN come true."

And if nerves set in on September 25th, perhaps Bayer can reflect back on that first cross country meet. Quoting singer Natalie Merchant in her senior yearbook, Bayer wrote "Life is sweet, in spite of the misery, there's so much more, be grateful." No doubt the successful Bayer is grateful for just how sweet life is...and no doubt that her soon-to-be nationally-recognized award-winning smile is broader and brighter than ever.


Check out the WKYC-TV 3 story that reporter Jennifer Lindgren aired about Vanessa on 9/24/10 at:

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