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From ‘Saturday Night Live’ to ‘Bridesmaids’, 18 of Kristen Wiig’s Best Movies!

The comedienne extraordinaire has done it all!

Watching Kristen Wiig playing her memorable characters on Saturday Night Live would make the audience almost cry with laughter: The excitable Target clerk, Lawrence Welk singer with the claw hands, Doonese or Penelope, who had to one-up everyone in sight; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Suze Orman were among her standout performances.

But in the spring of 2012, Wiig packed her hilarious comic bags and sailed off into the sunset. More accurately, she began writing and starring in some big box office Kristen Wiig movies and brought home several awards. 

Born Kristen Carroll Wiig in small town Canandaigua, New York, the family moved to Amish country — Lancaster, Pennsylvania — before settling down in Rochester, New York. 

With no acting ambitions, Wiig attended the University of Arizona, majoring in art. When she took an acting class to fulfill a course requirement, the teacher suggested she continue to act and so she did, relocating to Los Angeles to do so while working odd jobs to support herself — including waiting tables in the executive dining room of Universal Studios.

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Kristen Wiig movies
Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids” (2011)

Thinking that she was better suited for improvisation than acting, Wiig performed with The Groundlings comedy group to improve her comedic skills. While still with The Groundlings, she submitted an audition tape to SNL in which she played the high strong Target lady. No surprise – Kristen was hired and debuted in 2005, being nominated four times for Emmy awards. “It’s fun for me to play people that are just kind of odd.” 

Now starring on Apple+ TV’s 10-part miniseries “Palm Royale,” Wiig transports viewers to the year 1969 where her character, Maxine Simmons, is center stage. She’s accomanied by top talent in form of TV queen Carol Burnett, Allison Janney, Laura Dern, Ricky Martin, and many others. Wiig is a true standout, also teaming up with Dern as a producer as well as star.

Here’s a look at some of Kristen Wiig’s movies as she joins the ranks of Hollywood’s box office successes.

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Knocked Up (2007): Kristen Wiig movies

This was Kristen’s first significant film role in a comedy, which was directed by Judd Apatow. Billed as just “Jill,” Wiig played a passive-aggressive boss to Katherine Heigl’s character. 

Ghost Town (2008)

Once again, Wiig took on a minor role in this comedy/drama, where she portrayed a self-involved surgeon. Fantasy comes into play after a man unexpectedly dies but is revived and can now see ghosts. Of her taking smaller parts, she says, “I do sort of gravitate towards smaller, indie-type movies.” 

Whip It (2009): Kristen Wiig movies

As Maggie Mayhem in this sport drama, Wiig moved up the cast member ladder. Set in a small town near Austin, Texas, the story centers around an indie-rock-loving 17 year-old who finds passion in the roller derby rink. 

Adventureland (2009)

Filled with comedy, drama and romance in the summer of 1987, this coming-of-age dramedy focuses on a college graduate who takes a job at his local broken-down amusement park to save up money, only to find it’s the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world. Wiig is Paulette in four scenes that had to be condensed due to her SNL commitment. 

All Good Things (2010): Kristen Wiig movies

Switching gears, Wiig had a brief role as Lauren Fleck in this crime drama starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Based on a true New York murder mystery, court records and newly discovered facts were woven into the script.

Macgruber (2010)

In this action comedy, Kristen plays Vicki St. Elmo, who teams up with former special operative MacGruber when he is called back into action to take down his arch nemesis, Dieter von Cunth. 

How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Kristen Wiig movies

Kristen voices Ruffnut in this animated adventure movie about a young Viking who wants to hunt dragons, but becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon instead. This successful film spawned a sequel in 2014. 

Despicable Me (2010)

Taking to the animated screen once again, Kristen voices Miss Hattie in this huge box office hit that gave us three sequels (the latest arriving on July 24th) and two spin-off films. A small army of Minions are hiding underneath a black house in a typical suburban neighborhood and that’s where we discover Gru (Steve Carell) planning a huge heist. He’s going to steal the moon! In Despicable Me 2 (2013), Wiig voices eccentric Anti-Villain League agent Lucy Wilde, the object of Gru’s growing affections. The third and fourth installments (2017, 2024) of the animated film series has Wiig, returning as the quirky and highly capable agent for the AVL.

Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig movies

Wiig co-wrote and starred in this comedy, which was a box office bonanza and earned her many award nominations. This was undoubtedly her breakout film and a turning point in her career. Wiig is Annie, a down-on-her luck baker whose life crumbles spectacularly when best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) asks if she’ll be her maid of honor. With money woes, a disastrous fling with a self-centered playboy (Jon Hamm), as well as the escalating competition with a wealthy fellow bridesmaid (Rose Byrne), has Annie stumbling through pre-wedding events. The airplane scene is the pinnacle of her hilarious mishaps and well worth the price of admission. 

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Friends with Kids (2011)

Returning with Bridemaids fellow cast members Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, Wiig portrays Missy in this comedy drama sprinkled with romance. Two besties decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship as just best friends. Eventually, though, the two meet other romantic prospects. What could possibly go wrong? 

Girl Most Likely (2012): Kristen Wiig movies

Wiig headlined opposite Annette Bening as Imogene Duncan, a failed playwright who stages a suicide in an attempt to win back her ex, only to wind up in the custody of her gambling addict mother living in New Jersey. Through strange incidents, Imogene finally realizes that she has to love and accept both her family and her Jersey roots if she’s ever to escape her current environment. 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

The actress portrays, Cheryl Melhoff, a recent hire at Life magazine where Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has been working in the same boring job for 16 years. To escape this life, he daydreams many times a day. At the same time, he’s developed a crush on Cheryl and is too shy to ask her out, so he tries to contact her via online dating. Sounds easy, right? Don’t count on it. 

The Skeleton Twins (2014): Kristen Wiig movies

After 10 years of being estranged, twins Maggie and Milo Dean (Bill Hader), ironically and coincidentally, cheat death on the same day. They reunite with the hopeful possibility of mending their relationship and their own personal paths in life. 

Welcome to Me (2013)

Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a multi-millionaire with borderline personality disorder, who wins the mega-millions lottery. She immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own autobiographic talk show. The film had a limited theatrical release.

The Martian (2015): Kristen Wiig movies

The film stars Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut on Mars. Wiig is Annie Montrose, a public affairs officer at NASA who is presented with the pressure of keeping the world informed during rescue efforts. The whole world unites to bring the astronaut home safely. A more serious role for Wiig. 

Zoolander 2 (2016)

This one is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with Wiig taking on the role in this comedy of a villain and the Queen of Haute Couture alongside Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. Not very well received by critics or movie-goers. 

Ghostbusters (2016): Kristen Wiig movies

In a reboot of the beloved franchise, this re-imagined story has an all-female lead cast. Wiig portrays paranormal enthusiast, Dr. Erin Gilbert, one of the four eccentric women who embark on a ghost-catching venture in New York City following a spooky invasion. Alongside other outrageous funny ladies (Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones), they band together to stop an otherworldly threat.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

A small indie comedy that Wiig co-wrote and co-stars in that received positive reviews. She plays Sharon Gordon Fisherman, one half of a pair of lifelong friends, Barb and Star, who go off on an adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town and never look back. 


  • As a Groundlings grad, she joins the ranks of such SNL cast mates, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and Jon Lovitz. 
  • She also guested on the Emmy winning series 30 Rock
  • Was nicknamed “The Brown Cow” by friends for her love of chocolate
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