Many members of the Groundlings went on to fame and fortune on stage, film, and especially television; Saturday Night Live frequently raided its company for cast members. The troupe’s best-known alums include Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow, Phil Hartman, Kathy Griffin, Will Forte, Julia Sweeney, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Coolidge, Jim Rash, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell, Rachael Harris, Cheryl Hines, Jan Hooks, Jon Lovitz, Cheri Oteri, Laraine Newman, Jillian Bell, Craig T. Nelson, Edie McClurg, Wendi McLendon-Covery, Taran Killam, Chris Kattan, and Pat Morita. Cassandra Peterson developed her “Elvira” character there; Kattan and Ferrell’s “Roxbury Guys” were created in Groundlings sketches. Most famously, Paul Reubens created Pee-Wee Herman in Groundlings revues and workshops, and first presented the Pee-Wee Herman Show on their stage. Austin contributed the character’s grey suit.
As noted by the New York Times:
“My aim is to be totally present in the moment, and when I’m totally present in the moment I can do no wrong,” Austin said in 2015. “That’s a feeling I like to have, and I have it sometimes. If I had it 100 percent, I probably already would have gone off to heaven and would be enjoying eternal life.”