Saturday Night Live
An American actress and comedian Cheri Oteri is most popular for her role on the NBC late night staple “Saturday Night Live” (1995-2000), where she amused audiences with her chameleon like comedic talents in numerous outstanding skits and characters. Some of her well-known and varied characters included Arianna (the Spartans cheerleader wanna-be who cheers with Craig, the male Spartans cheerleader wanna-be), Cass Van Rye (talk show hostess) and Judge Judy.
Her fame on SNL made the dazzling comedienne an innate choice to play small, weird character parts in comedies like the receptionist of Jim Carrey in the highly successful Liar, Liar (1997), an over-ambitious journalist in the hit spoof Scary Movie (2000, won a blockbuster Award) and the gossipy co-worker in Love & Sex (2000). Oteri received an Emmy nomination for her guest role as unskilled, but relentlessly cheerful assistant on the hit NBC sitcom “Just Shoot Me” (1999). Recently appearing in Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales (2006), Park (2006) and the animation The Ant Bully (2006, voice of Doreen Nickle), Oteri is scheduled to provide the voice of Sleeping Beauty in Shrek the Third, an animated movie for 2007 release.
Childhood and Family:
Cheri Oteri was born Cheryl O’Teari on September 19, 1965, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While growing up in the Pennsylvania suburb of Upper Darby, Oteri made a reputation for herself as the class clown during grammar and high school, and dreamed one day she would be a rock star. She graduated from Archbishop Prendergast High School and moved to Los Angeles at age 25. There, Oteri found work as a receptionist at A&M Records and was later promoted to coordinator of promotions.
Leaving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Los Angeles at age 25, Cheri Oteri was first hired as a receptionist before being promoted to coordinator of promotions at A&M Records. In the workplace, she was eulogized by her coworkers at the record company for her sharp drollness and comic timing and they encouraged her to audition for the renowned comedy troupe The Groundlings. It was while Oteri was performing with the improv group that the sparkling comedienne caught the eye of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) staffers who persuaded her to try for the tormented series.
Oteri then flew down to New York to audition and, in 1995 she was recruited as part of a nearly all-new cast brought to save the SNL after its unsuccessful 1994 season. As one of NBC’s sketch comedy series’ most brilliant talents, Oteri was well-remembered for portraying vivacious, upbeat and hyper characters such as cheerleader-aspirant Arianna, excessively perky talk show hostess Cass Van Rye, prescription tablet-addicted Collette Reardon, and a testy employee Nadine. She achieved further popularity with her testy, dead-on impressions of such big names as Mariah Carey, Tori Spelling, Barbara Walters, Robin Byrd and Judge Judy. Oteri departed SNL at the end of the 1999-2000 season.
While working on the show, Oteri made a remarkable guest performance as an inept assistant, Cindy, in “The Assistant,” a 1997 episode of the popular NBC sitcom “Just Shoot Me,” a role that brought her an Emmy nod for Outstanding Guest Actress when she reprised for the 1999 episode “First Date.” She also had small roles in such films as the blockbuster comedy Liar, Liar (1997, played Jim Carrey’s wacky receptionist), the Mike Myers vehicle Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997, as a flight attendant), director Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers (1998, as Globotech telephone operator) and the comic caper Inspector Gadget (1999, portrayed Mayor Wilson).
Following her departure, Oteri was seen as Famke Janssen’s gossipy associate in the romantic/comedy Love & Sex (2000) and took home a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actress for her fine portrayal of a loud-mouthed reporter, the Courtney Cox character in the popular ‘Scream’ parody Scary Movie (2000). Next up for Oteri, she supported Balthazar Getty and Katharine Towne in the Danny Comden-helmed comedy Sol Goode (2001), acted in television films Loomis (2001) and With You in Spirit (2003), as well as appeared with Mimi Rogers in the comedy Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). Meanwhile, she could be seen guest starring in such series as “Strangers with Candy” (2000), “Ally McBeal” (2001) and Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2002), as well as the pilot episode of “The Colin Quinn Show” (2002).
Oteri took on the female lead in the mockumentary Surviving Eden (2004), where she was cast as a professional dog-murderer named Maria Villanova, was featured as Linda in the adventure Smile (2005), written and directed by Jeffrey Kramer, and portrayed Principal Ainsley in the made-for-TV film Stephen’s Life (2005). She recently co-starred with The Rock, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, Amy Poehler and Jon Lovitz in director/writer Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales (2006), teamed up with William Baldwin Ricki Lake in the comedy/drama Park (2006) and provided the voice of Doreen Nickle in The Ant Bully (2006), a computer-animated film directed by John Davis. Oteri’s fans can hear her voice in the upcoming animated film Shrek the Third (2007), as Sleeping Beauty.
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy, Scary Movie, 2001