In September 2019, Chloe Fineman was announced as a new “featured player” on Saturday Night Live — a designation, she joked to Interview magazine, that was “like being a freshman in high school.” The comedian may not have been a full-fledged member of the cast, yet Fineman quickly made an impression on viewers, thanks to her gift for creating hilariously accurate impersonations of various celebrities.
This was never more apparent than in a series of “Masterclass: Quarantine Edition” sketches in 2020, in which Fineman totally nailed impressions of pop star Britney Spears, Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, actor Timothée Chalamet, Tiger King documentary subject Carole Baskin, and comedian John Mulaney — all while quarantining from home. Since joining the sketch comedy show, Fineman’s Instagram feed — where she regularly posts videos of celebrity impressions she’s working on — has exploded. That April, Vulture reported that she had amassed 170,000 followers; by December, that number had ballooned to more than 438,000, with Fineman regularly receiving shoutouts from A-listers, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Mandy Moore, praising her bang-on portrayals.
As Fineman’s star continues to rise, there’s much that her fans still have to learn about this multi-talented actress and comedian. Let’s discover the untold truth of Chloe Fineman.
Chloe Fineman's Instagram impressions often make it to SNL
Chloe Fineman’s Instagram page is a treasure trove of comedy gold. That’s because she uses her social media to try out new impressions and share these in-the-works comedy creations with her followers — in essence providing a sneak peek at impersonations that will eventually wind up on Saturday Night Live.
That’s been the case on numerous occasions. Back in February 2019, she posted a video of her Timothée Chalamet impression, described as a “work in prog.” A few months later, another post showcased her take on teen pop star Jojo Siwa, while March 2020 brought her first attempt at Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin. Then, in August, she debuted her portrayal of Drew Barrymore. As viewers will recall, every single one of those impressions ultimately wound up in SNL sketches.
When it comes to pulling off her amazing impersonations, Fineman’s secret weapon is her vast collection of wigs (according to Glamour, she has over 100). “[I] have wigs for The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Grimes and Miley Cyrus currently buried in my closet,” Fineman revealed in an interview with Jewish Insider that December.
Chloe Fineman only recently realized she was a great impressionist
Despite emerging as one of the most talented impressionists ever to join the Saturday Night Live cast, Chloe Fineman has admitted that it’s only been within more recent years that she’s taken a deep dive into her gift for mimicry.
When asked by The Washington Post if she thought of herself “primarily as an impressionist” in September 2020, Fineman insisted she didn’t. “No, I think that’s a more recent realization that I could do that,” she said. “I probably started doing them four years ago. And definitely in quarantine I feel like I’ve leaned into impressions. But when I’m doing an impression I’m trying to turn that person into a character, if that makes any sense.”
As for who she chooses to impersonate, Fineman typically thinks outside the box. “I pick people that I’m obsessed with,” she told W magazine that November. “I don’t love mainstream people. While everyone else is trying to perfect their Trump impression, I’m working on Allison Mack, the actress who became a part of the Nxivm cult.”
Chloe Fineman loves to impersonate Melania Trump
While Cecily Strong has traditionally played Melania Trump on Saturday Night Live, Chloe Fineman has been waiting in the wings with a rock-solid impression of her own.
In fact, nearly two years before joining SNL, Fineman shared a hilarious video on Instagram, mocking the all-white White House Christmas decorations, overseen by the first lady in 2017. In the video, Fineman imitated Trump’s Slovenian accent as she marveled at “Santa elfs” and “frosting the snowman.” She repeated the tradition the following year, this time poking fun at the somewhat terrifying blood-red trees that adorned the White House in 2018. “Who says Christmas can’t be sexy?” asked Fineman’s Melania in the video, adding, “This look is from Maxim magazine 2006.”
In another video posted on Vimeo, Fineman’s first lady sat for a mock interview, wearing the African-explorer pith helmet from her 2018 trip to Africa. “What’s the worst thing you’ve read about yourself since you’ve been in the White House?” asked the interviewer (Fineman’s bestie, actor Casey Thomas Brown). “That I am the robot,” she sneered. “That I’m not happy. That sad with my hus-bound. That I have a lot of chocolate hiding under the pillow.”
Chloe Fineman has gained some celebrity fans
When your job is to impersonate celebrities on a popular sketch-comedy show viewed by millions via national television, there’s a pretty good chance that those celebrities will become aware they’ve been impersonated. That’s certainly been the case for Chloe Fineman, who has actually heard from several of the famous folks that she’s portrayed on Saturday Night Live.
In July 2020, for example, she debuted her incredibly accurate impression of Reese Witherspoon in a video posted to Instagram. Witherspoon herself, reported BuzzFeed, responded with love, writing on her Instagram Stories, “And the Emmy goes to… @chloesicrazy,” followed by a laughing emoji. Fineman followed this up by reprising the portrayal in another video, teaming with comedian Sara Ramos to re-enact the iconic courtroom scene from Witherspoon’s 2001 blockbuster, Legally Blonde. So impressed was Witherspoon that she tapped Fineman to be the moderator for a virtual Legally Blonde reunion in October 2020.
Meanwhile, Vanity Fair noted that Catherine Zeta-Jones sent Fineman a gift of eyeliner after seeing her impersonation of the Chicago star demonstrating how to achieve “the perfect smoky eye.” As Fineman told the outlet, “This week I heard from [right-wing political commentator] Tomi Lahren, which was a shock.”
Timothée Chalamet confronted Chloe Fineman about her impression of him
As mentioned, Chloe Fineman first debuted her impression of Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet on social media before sharing it with viewers of Saturday Night Live. However, she entered uncharted territory when Chalamet was announced as host of a December 2020 SNL episode.
Meeting the people she impersonates is “always really scary,” Fineman admitted during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “Especially now that things are on SNL and people might actually see stuff, and I never want to be mean.” According to Fineman, she was uncertain if Chalamet had seen her impression until she ran into him backstage ahead of his hosting stint, where he was apparently lurking “undercover with a hat and a mask.”
Chalamet had seen her impression — and loved it. According to Fineman, “He was like, ‘We should figure something out.'” And that’s precisely what happened: In the Chalamet-hosted episode, the two appear in a sketch playing guests on Dionne Warwick’s faux talk show. Chalamet, however, doesn’t appear as himself, but as singer Harry Styles. He’s then followed by Fineman impersonating Chalamet — a mega-meta SNL moment if there ever was one.
Chloe Fineman originally aspired to drama, not comedy
There’s no denying that Chloe Fineman is hilarious — yet, a career in comedy isn’t what she had originally envisioned. “Initially, I wanted to be a serious, dramatic actress,” she told W magazine. “I went to NYU with the idea of becoming Meryl Streep. My New York years were definitely not funny — I did a lot of weeping, a lot of wearing black. I was very pretentious, but I was miserable.”
While studying at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Fineman told Vanity Fair, “I really drank the Kool-Aid. I wore a scarf every day. Constantly crying, period pieces.” As she noted to The Washington Post, “I really fell into [comedy]. I was really into trying to be … a classic actress. I thought I was going to be doing Chekhov plays. Like, my big wish was to do Shakespeare in the Park.”
However, she found her calling when she took a class with Los Angeles-based improv comedy troupe The Groundlings. “I will never forget the first class,” Fineman revealed to StyleLikeU, recalling the “out-of-body” experience of discovering “you can be a character and be crazy, and I can make myself fully insane.”
Chloe Fineman's TV viewing choices are a little unexpected
Like most people who found themselves spending far more time than usual within their homes thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chloe Fineman turned to her television for amusement. Some of her TV choices, however, might seem to be a little questionable.
When asked about her quarantine viewing habits during an interview with Variety, Fineman zeroed in on one show in particular. “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” she revealed, although the Saturday Night Live star did concede that watching “six back-to-back was definitely a lot.” Fineman confessed she also “found [herself] watching anything dark,” saying, “I watched the Jeffrey Epstein documentary on Thursday night. I’m weird. I don’t know what that is. How intense is my life that that is what is calming me down?”
She also shared another of her off-the-wall TV viewing choices with W magazine. “I became obsessed with Alone, on the History Channel,” Fineman divulged. “It’s about all these Shia LaBeouf type of people who are dropped in the middle of nowhere with four tools and have to survive. I watched eight seasons straight. It was the mix of suffering and strength that hooked me.”
Chloe Fineman's first TV appearance was doing a bird call for David Letterman
One of the more peculiar facets of Chloe Fineman’s high school experience was that the school she attended, Piedmont High in Piedmont, Calif., is known for its annual bird-calling contest. Not only did that encourage her innate talent for mimicry, but the future star won the contest, which landed her an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, since each year’s winners were traditionally invited to appear on the show.
In April 2018, Fineman posted a video of that appearance on Instagram, in which she and another student showcased their impersonations of peafowl (which, as Letterman explained, is the “generic term” for a male peacock and female peahen). Not only was Fineman’s teenage bird-calling weird enough to land her a Letterman appearance, it resurfaced years later when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“I took it very seriously, like I had to win this bird calling contest,” Fineman told host Jimmy Fallon, who played the clip of her teenage peafowl impression. “… It’s crazy you found that, because when I was in high school, YouTube did not exist. So I don’t know many people who’ve seen that debut performance.”
Chloe Fineman didn't know she was doing this impression until hours beforehand
During a December 2020 episode of Saturday Night Live, Chloe Fineman appeared as Nicole Kidman, spoofing the actress’ role in HBO’s The Undoing. While anyone who watched had no idea, Fineman told Variety that the Kidman impression was a last-minute addition to the show. “That was crazy because I wasn’t planning on doing it in the cold open, but then at 5:30 on Saturday they added it in,” Fineman revealed, confirming that she was able to pull it all together during the “two hours before dress rehearsal.”
While Fineman had impersonated Kidman on the show before, this impression required her to drift in and out Kidman’s authentic Australian accent and the faux NYC accent she used on the show. “I’m from the upper east side of Australia,” Fineman-as-Kidman quipped.
“I didn’t write the jokes about the accent, but I definitely went back and tried to find clips where it slipped a little bit,” revealed Fineman, who first shared her Kidman impression on Instagram back in 2017. “And then for me it’s always like when the wig is on. The SNL wig department whooped that in like an hour.”
Chloe Fineman's Drew Barrymore impression earned her a talk show invite
As mentioned, another one of Chloe Fineman’s Instagram impressions to make its way to Saturday Night Live was her hilarious take on Drew Barrymore. After debuting the impression on Instagram in August 2020, Fineman played Barrymore to perfection that fall in a sketch spoofing her then-recently-launched daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show. Barrymore herself weighed in on Fineman’s impression, admitting in an interview with Today‘s Willie Geist that Fineman had “nailed it … she really has me down.”
So impressed was Barrymore, in fact, that she invited Fineman to be a guest on her show in October 2020. The two clearly hit it off: After Barrymore revealed that she was “such a fan,” Fineman responded by gushing, “I’m your biggest fan! You’re gonna make me cry.” Fineman concluded her brief appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show by reading an intro for upcoming guest Jessica Alba off the teleprompter — in character as Barrymore, which made the host howl with laughter.
“I’ve been obsessed with Drew Barrymore my whole life,” Fineman admitted in a subsequent interview with Today.
Tiger King's Carole Baskin wanted to 'slap' Chloe Fineman over her impression
Back in March 2020, Chloe Fineman took to Instagram to debut her impression of Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin. Fineman’s video was met with praise by her followers, including a number of celebrities, notably Gwyneth Paltrow and Mandy Moore. The following month, Fineman brought the impersonation to Saturday Night Live.
One person who was not impressed? Baskin herself. During an appearance on Dennis Quaid’s The Pet Show podcast (via the Independent), Baskin declared of Fineman, “I could just slap that woman!” She added, “This whole, ‘My kitty, meow, meow, kitty, meow,’ and then she would just say these really weird words all in a row … people wanted me to talk like that on the Cameos [personalized videos celebrities charge fans for]. And I’m like, ‘I have no idea how to talk like that. That is not how I speak.'”
In an interview with Katie Couric, Fineman explained the real issue was that she had Baskin rapping on SNL. “And I guess she joined Cameo, and everybody wanted her to do that,” Fineman said. “… I wanna find those Cameos of her doing this horrible song I made her sing.”
The one impression Chloe Fineman's been unable to master
Even someone as wildly talented as Chloe Fineman sometimes comes across impressions she finds tough to crack. A prime example is Shia LaBeouf. In August 2020, Fineman shared a video on Instagram of her impersonation of the Honey Boy actor, admitting in the caption that it was a “#workinprogress.”
However, Fineman later confessed that she wasn’t yet completely satisfied, expressing her frustration that she hadn’t managed to hone in on the look and get it quite right. “There’s got to be a way,” she said in an interview with Paper magazine. “I looked like an Amish husband — the beard wasn’t right. On top of that, I also look nothing like him — but I’m determined.” She was also working on getting the voice down, but achieving the perfect LaBeouf was proving to be elusive. The voice, Fineman explained, was “a California bro,” but with just a hint of a “Southern drawl.”
Mastering her LaBeouf impression, she told Vanity Fair, was part of reaching her ultimate goal, to add “more boys, like a Shia LaBeouf” to her Saturday Night Live repertoire. “I love those men!” Fineman declared.
That time Chloe Fineman got 'married' on Instagram Live
In March 2020, Chloe Fineman made headlines when she announced on Instagram that she and her bestie, The Kominsky Method actor Casey Thomas Brown, were getting hitched. “Tomorrow I gonna marry my best friend and the love of my life @shartyparty69 on Instagram live,” she wrote, tagging Brown’s Instagram handle. “Had to cancel wedding IRL cuz everyone refused to come BUT OUR LOVE CAN’T WAIT.”
There were, however, several red flags indicating the wedding wasn’t on the up and up — particularly the fact that actor-comedian Drew Droege portrayed Brown’s mom, while actresses Hannah Pilkes and Sarah Baker participated as the maid of honor and officiant. Not to mention, the ceremony could be viewed by anyone, live on social media. If money were being wagered, the smart bet would clearly be on “joke.” But that didn’t stop multiple outlets from reporting on the wedding as if it were real — leading Fineman to officially come clean to Vulture.
“My ‘fiancé’ is my gay best friend Casey in Montana,” Fineman explained with a laugh. Noting that people believed they were romantically-involved partly because the two “make videos together” on Instagram, she added that she was quarantining with her actual boyfriend in Los Angeles. So, why go through with the faux nuptials? “It was purely, ‘How can we get through the boredom of quarantine?'” Fineman admitted. As for her real boyfriend, the SNL star revealed “he rolled his eyes” over the fake wedding antics, adding, “He was happy I finally had something to do.”
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