Meet Oz Rodriguez, Our 2020 Spotlight Inductee
Comedy can be a tough genre to break into but for Oz Rodriguez, it’s all he’s ever known. Oz has directed and produced some of the most successful comedy sketches in entertainment. From working at SNL for over a decade to his most recent directing gig for 30 Rock’s quarantine reunion special, Oz stays busy within the comedy circuit.
Like most ardent film and TV fans, Oz watched a ton of movies and cable TV as a kid. “A lot of artistic mediums speak to me but film is the one that I click with the most. One of my favorite things about filmmaking is the human connection,” said Oz. This innate passion helped Oz land his first real film gig at Funny or Die directing video sketches with his directing partner Matt Villines. Oz cut his teeth at Funny or Die when viral internet videos exploded with the advent of YouTube.
Oz’s big break came when SNL approached him for an interview in New York City. He took the interview at SNL, and the rest is history.
Over the years, Oz has worked on more than 50 episodes of SNL and directed the Emmy®-winning show Creating Saturday Night Live, which documents the making of America’s most iconic sketch comedy TV series. In 2019, Oz personally won a Primetime Emmy for Creating SNL.
A sneak peek at our Spotlight interview with Oz
3 Questions for Oz about working in sketch comedy
What drew you to directing comedy?
I was always on a path toward comedy. I’ve always tried to laugh at things because life is hard. Directing comedy is very hard. You are constantly trying to evoke a reaction from your audience. I think I became a better director when I started editing. You look at the bigger picture.
How would you describe your directing style?
My directing style is trying to conduct this orchestra to do their best performance. I want to empower people to do their best. I like to have a lot of collaboration and discussion about what the end goal is.
What was your proudest accomplishment and why?
I definitely have a lot of milestones. Being accepted at Funny or Die was a big accomplishment. I think SNL is a huge milestone for me, too. One of the big reasons why is that it’s such a huge worldwide institution. I also have a movie coming out in October called Vampire vs the Bronx that I wrote and directed.