AT&T's stone-faced funnyman Beck Bennett just received one of the highest honors a comedic actor can hope to obtain: a cast member spot on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," according to Deadline Hollywood.
Mr. Bennett is a Chicagoland native, graduate from the University of Southern California's acting program and a regular performer at sketch and improv comedy club the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. But Mr. Bennett is probably best known for his role as the straight man in AT&T's wildly popular "It's Not Complicated" ads.
The campaign -- which features Mr. Bennett discussing AT&T's network capabilities with various groups of talkative first graders -- has become a sensation among ad industry professionals and TV viewers alike. Social analytics firm BlueFin Labs consistently ranked the ads as some of the most talked about in social media in early 2013. At one point in late January, 16% of the tweets about "It's Not Complicated" ads included the word "love."
Mr. Bennett is a member of sketch comedy group Good
In a late January interview with The Chicago Tribune, Mr. Bennett worried the ads might ultimately hurt his career.
"At this point, this is amazing. It's like a dream job for an up-and-coming actor," Mr. Bennett said in The Tribune interview. "But I am also getting nervous. Sometimes, I'm like, 'Oh, this good thing, is it really a bad thing for me?'"
There's no indication at this time whether Mr. Bennett's addition to the SNL cast will have any effect on his role in "It's Not Complicated." Mr. Bennett's agent, AT&T and AT&T's creative agency BBDO, the team behind the campaign, were not able to return requests for comment at time of press.
While SNL decided to take all three Good Neighbor members, Mr. Bennett's role in the "It's Not Complicated" commercials make him by far the most recognizable of the three.
Mr. Bennett's signing isn't AT&T's only connection to SNL. The "It's Not Complicated" campaign is directed by Caviar's Jorma Taccone, a member of the Lonely Island comedy troupe that has regularly appeared on the show. Mr. Taccone had also been a writer fat SNL and with Lonely Island co-created more than 100 of its Digital Shorts.
For a taste of what to expect from Mr. Bennett and his fellow Good Neighbor members, below is a sketch the group produced and posted to its YouTube page.