'Saturday Night Live' hires 2 new cast members

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NEW YORK (AP) -- "Saturday Night Live" was left with some big shoes to fill when Amy Poehler departed for her new role of motherhood.

As a step in that direction, two fresh recruits, Abby Elliott and Michaela Watkins, will be joining the show this week as featured players, NBC announced Thursday.

Elliott comes to "SNL" via the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre - the improv/sketch company co-founded by Poehler - where she trained and performed in both New York and Los Angeles. She is a second-generation "SNL" cast member whose father, Chris Elliott, was a regular on the show during the 1994-95 season. (Her grandfather, Bob Elliott, was teamed for four decades with Ray Goulding in the comedy duo Bob & Ray.)

A native of Wilton, Conn., Elliott also trained with the Los Angeles-based Groundlings theater.

Watkins is a fellow Groundlings alum, where past "SNL" players including Will Ferrell, Phil Hartman, Laraine Newman and current cast member Kristen Wiig got their start. Watkins was born in Syracuse, N.Y., and raised in Boston.

Poehler, a longtime "SNL" regular who is married to comedian Will Arnett, last performed on the Oct. 23 prime-time special. She gave birth to a son, Archie Arnett, just hours before she was to appear on the Oct. 25 broadcast.


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