Vanessa Bayer is giving single parenthood a try.
The actress and SNL vet joins ABC’s hit sitcom Single Parents for two episodes beginning Jan. 16, and EW has your first look at her character Mia — the ex-wife of Taran Killam’s Will.
“She sort of left Taran and their daughter because she felt she needed to go around the world and help different people,” Bayer tells EW of her character. “She’s a very globally minded person, and she’s a good person. But what we think of normal domestic life, she was just not into at all, so that’s why she left.”
Signing on to guest star on Single Parents was a no-brainer for Bayer as it gave her the chance to reunite with Killam. The two both joined the cast of SNL the same season in 2010. In fact, playing husband and wife was second nature to them in a way. “As soon as we started working together on SNL, I would always call him my work husband and he would call me his work wife, and we established that dynamic pretty immediately,” Bayer says. “He makes me laugh more than anyone else. He delights me.”
The role gave Bayer the opportunity to dig into a pretentious approach to living life. “Throughout my life, I’ve met a lot of people who you say something that you did that you think is totally harmless, and they tell you why that’s not a good thing to do or why there’s a better way to do it. It’s very holier than thou. It was just fun to play. I hope I’m not that kind of a person, but it was fun to act like that kind of a person,” she explains of her take on Mia.
“It was fun to play around with what it would be like if I was trying to one-up people and show them my way was the best way. Which, honestly, it is,” she jokingly adds.
In her first episode, “All Aboard the Two-Parent Struggle Bus,” which airs Jan. 16, Mia unexpectedly returns for Sophie’s (Marlow Barkley) birthday party, throwing Will’s life into turmoil as she undermines his parenting and makes him question his status as a single parent. The exclusive first photos show Mia at this birthday party, which appears to have a very British theme.
“Taran’s character is such a wonderful dad that he’s willing to do this whole party surrounding this character that Sophie likes,” Bayer teases. “It seems like it would maybe be my character’s idea because she fancies herself such an international expert, but [it’s] a character that Will knows that Sophie loves.”
Mia sticks around for a second episode, “Graham D’Amato: Hot Lunch Mentalist,” airing Jan. 23, which finds her trying to rekindle her relationship with Will and attending the school talent show.
“This is one of the first school events that my character gets to go to,” Bayer explains of the below photo. “It’s interesting for her to be in that world and see what the school is like. It’s more exploring what Will and Sophie’s life is like now after I’ve been away for so long.”
It’s not all bad for Will and Mia, as this photo of them sharing some laughs (below) indicates. In fact, Bayer reveals that her guest star arc required her to return to a hilarious sticking point back from their SNL days. She explains that during their freshman season a sketch required her to kiss Killam. “We really have more of a brother-sister type of relationship…Literally, it was just a peck on the lips and before we did it, I gagged.” she recounts. “He has never forgotten that I gagged right in his face. He’s like a brother to me.”
This role required her to once again revisit that moment as a scene called out for her to make-out with Killam, which Bayer says felt like a sort of poetic justice. “It was kind of what I deserved,” she laughs. “When I had to do a longer kiss with him — every time before we would do it, like five times I started laughing. I couldn’t get through it and I was honestly really trying to. It was so bizarre and so funny.”
While these are the only episodes Bayer is currently scheduled to appear in, she says she would be thrilled to have the chance to return. “I had so much fun doing the show. They’re all so great, and it’s such a funny show but it also has a lot of heart,” she adds. “Taran makes me laugh more than anybody. The whole cast is so funny. It was just a joy to do it.”
Single Parents airs at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.