Despite the fact that Chicago is only the third-largest media market in the United States, a solid group of alumni represent Northwestern in American television and cinema. Legends like Charlton Heston and Patricia Neal graced the silver screen for decades, while David Schwimmer of Friends and Seinfeld’s Julia-Louis Dreyfus were staples of '90s sitcoms. In the pop culture world of 2013, NU alumni are as prominent as ever—directing cult classics, shaping satire and providing comic relief. From Zach Braff to Jason Moore, here’s a look at what Northwestern grads and dropouts are doing today.
Most likely to end up on SNL: Seth Meyers
Willard resident and Phi Gamma Delta brother, Seth Meyers graduated from NU’s School of Speech in 1996. As head writer on Saturday Night Live, Meyers is known as the “Weekend Update” anchor, delivering the week’s top news and strangest stories with charming wit. In a 2009 interview with North by Northwestern, Meyers claimed that being a member of Mee-Ow “is absolutely the reason I am in comedy today.”
Most likely to direct teen flicks: Jason Moore
Moore is a ‘93 graduate of Northwestern’s School of Speech who majored in Radio, Television, Film. He went on to direct the musical Avenue Q on Broadway, which earned him a best director Tony nomination in 2004. Moore also directed the 2012 college comedy Pitch Perfect, his big-screen debut.
Most likely to drop out: Zooey Deschanel
Before she was breaking hearts in (500) Days of Summer or collaborating with M. Ward in She & Him, Zooey Deschanel attended Northwestern. But she dropped out of school after seven months in Evanston to pursue acting, telling Allure last year that her “specialness is not appreciated in this place.”
Most likely to become a doctor: Zach Braff
Zach Braff graduated from NU’s School of Speech in 1997. A brother in Phi Kappa Psi, Braff was the brain behind the critically-acclaimed indie flick Garden State, which he wrote, directed and starred in. This March he returns to the big screen in Oz the Great and Powerful as the voice of a flying monkey.
Most likely to become a fake Republican: Stephen Colbert
One of the most recognizable faces in television, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report graduated from Northwestern with the School of Speech class of 1986. Colbert became interested in improv through the group No Fun Mud Piranhas, which was revitalized this year. In his 2011 commencement address, Colbert remarked that NU “represents humanity at its best ... and on Dillo Day it represents humanity at its worst.”