Alan Linic thought back on his time as a student at Mountain View High School after landing a coveted job with “Saturday Night Live.”
The Stafford County school’s 2007 yearbook included something specific about him, but he could not remember exactly what. So he asked a friend to text him a picture of the yearbook’s senior superlatives page.
“She sent it to me, and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” recalled Linic, who graduated from Mountain View in 2007.
He was one of three students named “most likely to be on Saturday Night Live.” Linic recently Tweeted a picture of that yearbook page—which shows him flashing a toothy smile—along with an announcement: “I am happy to say that I am joining #SNL as a writer this season, finally fulfilling the prophetic predictions of the Mountain View High School class of 2007.”
Linic does not appear on screen during SNL’s 44th season, but his name is listed in the credits along with the other writers.
In a telephone interview this week, he reflected on his humble beginnings as a founding member of Mountain View’s “Wild Acts” improvisation club, which accepted anyone who auditioned. He remembers a skit where he and a buddy fended off an attack from a Godzilla-like monster, bench-pressing the imaginary creature’s foot to prevent it from crushing a building.
He also distinctly recalls a friend who acted out the human life cycle, pretending to be born though the legs of a chair that Linic was sitting on.
The club’s performances didn’t exactly draw a large audience, he said. “It was like, the parents of the students who were in it and not even all the parents,” he said. “There were never full houses.”
Still, he said club sponsor and drama teacher Jeanne Carter, now retired, showed genuine excitement for the students. “It never felt like we were high school kids trying to do something beyond us,” he said.
Linic went on to James Madison University, where he unsuccessfully tried out for the improvisation team as a freshman. He made the team the next year—and for the rest of his college career—after watching some of its shows and seeking advice on how to improve.
Linic spent the last two years as a writer and performer for Chicago’s Second City, an improvisational theatrer troupe with notable alumni such as actor and former SNL star Dan Aykroyd.
Carter, Linic’s high school improv coach, described him as outgoing and funny—but not in an annoying way.
“He was one of those really likeable people,” she said.
During the improv team’s practices, Carter would ask Linic and the other students to come up with punchlines for jokes such as: “An umbrella walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘We don’t serve umbrellas here.’”
“What, you don’t get the point?” a student might say.
Carter said Linic could come up with joke after joke and was perhaps the most quick-witted student she ever had. “That’s why I’m not at all surprised he’s writing for them,” she said.
Eventually, she thinks Linic will be an on-screen star for SNL. Videos of his high school performances—including one where he and a classmate move in sync on either side of an imaginary mirror—never get old, Carter said.
Linic declined to discuss his work on SNL’s current season, which featured a memorable premiere Sept. 29 with actor Matt Damon playing a combative Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He said it’s kind of surreal to achieve a dream and try to rise up to the task.
“I’ve always been drawn to doing comedy and writing and performing,” he said. “I just chased it as hard as I could and as long as I could and never let go.”