Ever since Phil Hartman’s tenure, there’s been plenty of speculation about who’s now filling his role as the “glue” on “Saturday Night Live.” Chris Parnell, a cast member from 1998 to 2006, had a similar reputation as someone who never broke in the sketch, and who almost always played the straight man. After Parnell, people often point to Bill Hader or Kenan Thompson; but while they’re both undoubtedly great and fun to have in a sketch, both Hader and Thompson often bring some sort of quirky charm to the character that prevents them from being a regular, grounded presence. And while we can’t really fault Hader for breaking as much as he did, this does disqualify him from being Hartman’s successor.

The closest thing to a glue character in modern “SNL” is probably Mikey Day, an actor who’s been on the show for seven seasons now but still hasn’t really become a household name. Even though he’s a constant presence on the show, playing in what seems like a solid 4 or 5 sketches a night, he hasn’t become as well known as fellow cast members like Chloe Fineman or Bowen Yang, whose characters tend to be the sketch’s main focus. Most of the time, Day plays the guy whose reactions are meant to reflect what a regular person would say if thrown into the same exact situation. And much like Hartman, Mikey Day rarely ever breaks.  

Day does get to play eccentric characters from time to time, such as Donald Trump Jr. or one of David S. Pumpkins’ skeletons – but like Phil Hartman 20 years before him, some of his most important work on the show is in that thankless, seemingly unremarkable glue role that holds everything together.