The Untold Truth Of Is It Cake? Host Mikey Day

The reality baking show "Is it Cake?" broadened our definition of what a cake can look like. But it also got us wondering about the lucky host who gets to be surrounded by all that cake (and eat it, too — in fact, these bakeries are home to the best cakes in the U.S.). Mikey Day is a familiar face for those who tune in to "Saturday Night Live" each week. However, we wouldn't blame you if you didn't recognize the knife-wielding host of "Is it Cake?" as the "SNL" comedy whiz, since, on "SNL," he's often seen looking and talking like someone else, be it Donald Trump Jr. or Prince Harry. But on "Is it Cake?" — which enjoyed the top spot on Netflix U.S. for a brief time — Day does no impressions. All he comes with is a knife and a bag of jokes. 

Day has been writing comedy since he was a kid, and though his taste for comedy hasn't changed much, his resume is now a lot shinier — thanks to stints with the well-known improvisation troupe The Groundlings, followed by "Saturday Night Live" and other TV and movie projects. "Stupid stuff always makes me laugh. Someone throwing something and accidentally hitting a person in the face with it made me laugh at age 5 and makes me laugh now," Day told Creative Screenwriting. If you're curious how this "SNL" star became a baking show host, we'll fill you in. Here's all you need to know about Mikey Day. 

Mikey Day grew up in Orange County, California

Mikey Day hails from a relatively affluent part of California: Orange County. This is the same place where celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Will Ferrell are from (per The Orange County Register). In an interview with Yahoo!, Day said that he grew up feeling like an only child, despite having two elder sisters. Turns out, there was such a huge age gap between little Day and his siblings that by the time Day started first grade, they were in college! So Day found ways to keep himself entertained. "I played with action figures a lot and would provide my own sound effects to their adventures," he told Yahoo!.

Some of Day's sketches written for "Saturday Night Live" even have references to his hometown. He has in the past introduced characters — a police officer in one, a fire captain in another — who, as per the narrative, are from Irvine, a city in Orange County. "Whenever I have the chance to organically throw in an Orange County reference, I gleefully do so," Day told The Orange County Register. "Currently on my reference wish list are Holiday Skate Center, Orange County Mining Co. restaurant and the Cinedome movie theater – I think it closed down, but I was all about that place as a kid," he told the publication.

He credits his sixth grade teacher for inspiring him to do sketch plays

Mikey Day probably wouldn't be where he is today if he didn't have a gigantic crush on his sixth grade teacher, Miss Lewis. Day found her "super cute," as did his best friend, he told The Orange County Register. Sharing the same crush seemed to have worked out for the duo, who had no discord deciding to go with the same Miss Lewis as inspiration for a character to enact in their class plays. The criteria for these class plays was to select one person from the school and imagine them do, in Day's words, "all kinds of goofy stuff." "We'd have (Miss Lewis) do karate, because it was stupid ... It involved a lot of falling down," said Day.

While the crush didn't last long, the theater bug in Day sure flourished. When he moved on to El Modena High School, he ran for (and won) student body president because the student government got to perform at school assemblies, and he wanted in, per The Orange County Register. He recounted creating "a bunch of weird, stupid characters" to be presented in these assemblies, as he said in an interview with the publication. "The ones I remember most were the Techno Ninjas, these energetic ninjas who just ran around with squirt guns to the '90s techno anthem 'Get Ready for This,'" Day described.

The comedian struggled for a bit trying to pursue an acting career

Even as a teenager, Mikey Day knew he wanted to get into comedy. He told The Orange County Register that the highlight of his high school experience was creating plays that made his audience laugh. In fact, for his school's senior year homecoming, Day made sure that the theme was 'Batman' just so he and his friend could write an assembly play that had them dress as Batman and Robin. Whether or not Day's classmates enjoyed it, for Day, it was a powerful learning experience. "It was a lot of fun and a great introduction to writing comedy that appeals to a wide audience. We really wanted the whole student body to laugh, not just our friends," he said. After high school, Day became more serious about making others laugh as a potential career. He joined the theater program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to improve his comedy-writing skills.

Though he graduated with a degree in theater, Day couldn't find a job as an actor despite attending multiple auditions. So, per The Orange County Register, he took up odd gigs like babysitting and tutoring to foot his bills. He even had to pawn his collection of DVDs for rent money, per the interview. It took him three years after graduating to land his first TV opportunity in MTV's "Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'n Out" — a role in NBC's "Kath & Kim" followed soon after.

The Groundlings comedy troupe is a big reason why he is where he is today

The Groundlings, the popular improvisational comedy troupe which has been the launchpad for many comedians, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and Fortune Feimster, among others (per The Groundlings Theatre & School), transformed Mikey Day's life, too. As he told The Orange County Register, "Every accomplishment I've had is from the Groundlings."

As per the article, Day had been associated with the organization for over a decade, learning, performing, and even teaching. And, during his time there, Day probably shared notes with Kristen Wiig, who was his classmate, and Melissa McCarthy, who was with him in The Main Company (which, as per The Groundlings website, is a team of Groundlings members who make business and creative decisions for the company). All in all, Day was surrounded by "really awesome people who you get to watch, learn from, write and perform with," as he told Creative Screenwriting.

According to their website, the Groundlings get as many as 8,000 students per year and operates in a 5,000 square-foot venue in Los Angeles, where its in-house shows are performed for audiences. Day directed his first play for The Groundlings, "Groundlings Space Camp," in 2009, per The Orange County Register. At that time, little did he know that he would, like so many other Groundlings alumni — Laraine Newman, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Julia Sweeney, to mention a few — would one day become part of the "Saturday Night Live" team.

Mikey Day's first upload to YouTube went viral

Seeing people chuckle by themselves while scrolling through mini comedy videos on their phones is absolutely normal today, but back in the early 2000s, when Mikey Day's fledgling career in comedy was taking shape, we doubt if people knew what 'viral' meant. So, when Day and Michael Naughton, his peer at The Groundlings improvisational comedy troupe, saw their sketch "David Blaine Street Magic" break the Internet in 2006, they were confused. Day told The Orange County Register, "I knew of YouTube, but I'd never put anything on it. And I remember calling Naughton (soon after) and I was like, 'Dude, this has 30,000 views, is this normal?'" It is to be noted that YouTube itself had just launched a year before, in 2005.

As per The Groundlings website, the short video clip and its sequels have "been viewed over 50 million times by people all over the world, broken YouTube records, and helped launch a wave of internet comedy videos." The shockingly high viewership made it clear that people were thirsty for the type of rib-tickling comedy that The Groundlings were known for. So, in 2008, they partnered with Sony Pictures to release 50 more such videos, as the Los Angeles Times reported. Meanwhile, as per Wired, other networks, such as Fox, Comedy Central, and HBO, also turned their focus to comedy on the web, thus kickstarting a revolution that left even more people laughing.

Working at Saturday Night Live was his childhood dream come true

Mikey Day has been with "Saturday Night Live" since 2013. He first joined the team as a writer before joining the cast three years later (per TV Line). Though his work with the legendary Groundlings comedy platform definitely gave Day visibility, when it came to his job offer with "Saturday Night Live," he credits comedians Nasim Pedrad and Taran Killam, whom he knew from UCLA. The duo was already part of the "SNL" family, and, according to Day, it was their recommendation that helped him land a job with the famed late-night sketch show.

When Day got the call from Rob Klein, head writer at "SNL," he was stunned. He told The Orange County Register, "I was quiet for a few seconds and then said, 'Um, that is awesome. Thank you.' Then I walked around in a weird haze for the rest of the day." The opportunity meant a lot for Day, who had grown up watching the show. "My friends and I would videotape our own 'Wayne's World' sketches in my room. So to work there is unreal. It's so creatively fulfilling, and I get to work with so many talented people," he said. 

Mikey Day has worked on a number of television and film projects

In 2016, Mikey Day wrote the screenplay for the comedy movie "Brother Nature," produced by Lorne Michaels. It should be noted that Michaels also produced the "Saturday Night Live"-inspired sketch comedy "Wayne's World," one of Day's favorite comedies growing up — "I've seen Wayne's World a ridiculous amount of times. When I was 12, I owned and wore that black Wayne's World hat," Day told Creative Screenwriting.

Day has made brief appearances in a bunch of movies, too, including Adam Sandler's 2020 comedy "Hubie Halloween" (along with other "Saturday Night Live" stars and alumni) and the 2019 comedies "Brittany Runs a Marathon" and "Little." In these movies, Day's part is so small you could easily miss him if your eyes aren't glued to the screen. But those who did spot Day were happy to see an "SNL" cast member in a wide-release movie. "It was a pleasant surprise when I saw him. It may have been a small role [in "Little"], but I hope this opens him up to a wider audience," ADWeasley told Reddit. Day also co-wrote (along with Streeter Seidell) the sixth movie in the "Home Alone" franchise called "Home Sweet Home Alone," which debuted on Disney+ in 2021 (via Inside the Magic).

Day's days are now also busy turning the 1980s animated series "Inspector Gadget" — which is about a cyborg inspector — into a Disney movie, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter.

Mikey Day and actress Paula Christensen have been together for 11 years

Though Mikey Day writes comedy for a living, he takes his family pretty seriously. He and actress Paula Christensen have been together for over a decade. Christensen, who was part of the series "Modern Family" and "Cannabis Moms Club" (via IMDb), wrote a heartwarming post on Instagram in 2017 about her and Day's relationship. "Seven years with this gem of a human being. Feels like less because it's still so much fun. Feels like more, because he's my forever friend. He has a heart of gold and makes the sun shine every day," Christensen wrote.

Day has also been vocal about his admiration for his partner — about how Christensen has juggled the roles of home schooling their son, cooking for the family, keeping the house organized, among other things, during the pandemic. "Thank you for everything you do and for loving me, a full idiot," he wrote in an Instagram post.

What many might not know is that Day and Christensen's son was featured in a 2019 episode of "Saturday Night Live" — a parody of a Macy's commercial — along with his dad. "He hit his mark, took direction like a pro and was professional and polite to all the hardworking people around him. Plus, dude woke his ass up at 5[a.m.] as he had a very early call time. So very proud of this little crusher," wrote Day on Instagram.

It was a video of a 'puppy' cake that made him play host of Is it Cake?

We are used to seeing Mikey Day wear a hoodie and rap in Nick Cannon's "Wild n' Out," dance in a skeleton costume alongside Tom Hanks' David Pumpkins character, and even turn Prince Harry into the funniest person in a room. But when Day appeared in a baking show, some of us couldn't help but wonder what attracted him to "Is it Cake?" besides the obvious reason that "everyone likes cake!"

Day told Yahoo! he "was alerted to this internet fad when I saw some video of someone cutting into a 'puppy.'" Unless you were on an Internet detox, you most definitely have seen the video, where people cut puppy-look-alike cakes in front of their dogs to see their reaction. About the video, Day added, "It was unnerving, but weirdly fascinating." 

Day liked the concept of the show, which has contestants bake cakes that look like inanimate objects — everything from bags, shoes, and hats to fast food and plastic cups. The challenge is that the cakes should look realistic enough to fool the show's judges. Whoever succeeds in doing so takes home the riches — $10,000 per episode. "It sounded really fun because there's that baking show element, but there's also this play-along-at-home portion that I found super compelling. I was definitely introduced to the artistry that goes into baking hyper-realistic cakes through this show," he told Yahoo!.

Not every Is it Cake? viewer approves of Mikey Day's cake-cutting skills

Mikey Day's job on Netflix's "Is it Cake?" seems pretty simple. It's the contestants who have the tough job of crafting cake replicas of objects, as random as a bowling pin or an antique radio (per Netflix) — a process that can take eight hours to finish. After the cakes are done, Day has the seemingly uncomplicated job of asking the judges "Is it cake?" and then using the knife to find out the answer. Only, it's actually not that simple. It's, in fact, "complicated," Day told Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Day said he's instructed when exactly to cut the cake, through an earpiece he wears on the show. Besides getting the timing right, Day has to make sure the cut is perfect, as there are no replacements. "You have to slice it right and wedge it out," he explains.

While it may seem like Day's got this, some fans of the series don't think so. One of them, Day said on Fallon's show, sent him a message on Instagram that read, "You cut cake like an 8-year-old." And some others can't resonate with his jokes. One of the tweets read, "The Is it Cake host makes the show difficult to watch." Yet another called him "the unfunniest presenter." Regardless of the varied opinions from the Internet, we enjoy seeing Day away from the "SNL" stage.