Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SNL @ 40: A List of Each and Every Single Saturday Night Live Cast Member (Every Damn One), From Worst to Best

So, just this past week, the fine(ish) folks over at Rolling Stone, celebrating SNL's 40th season on the air, published their list of every single Saturday Night Live cast member, from the worst to the best. Their list can be viewed here. Now even though the Rolling Stone cats beat me to the publishing punch, I actually had decided to do this same damn thing several weeks ago. Oh well, anyway here is my list, and a much better list, even if I do say so myself. It consists of every single one of SNL's 143 official cast members (Rolling Stone claims 141, but I claim 143 oficial cast members). This includes both regular and featured players alike, but no guest hosts like Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin, even if they have hosted about a billion times each. And please remember, this list is judging these cast members on just their on-screen prowess (or lack thereof, in some cases) and not anything else they have done. So even if a cast member goes on to become one of the biggest stars of the day (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Robert Downey, Jr.!), they are being judged solely on what they did during their time on SNL, even if that time was a complete waste of it (Yeah, I'm still talking to you Downey!). So, with all this said, let's get on with the list. And please take into account that with 143 performers to talk about here, it may take a while to peruse (even though I do make it a bit shorter with combined groupings and all) so if you want to read this post in segments, I won't be offended. Oh, and remember, no peaking at the number one spot while you do this. Anyhoo, on with the show. Live from...yada yada yada! Oh, and a quick shout out to the velvety voiced Don Pardo.

143. Emily Prager (1981) - After Lorne Michaels and the remaining original cast members left NBC, and after a very very brief stint by showrunner Jean Doumanian (just 12 episodes), Dick Ebersole took over the show in early 1981. This sort of transitional season (known in some circles as Saturday Night Live '80) has gone down in history as one of the worst. Sure, this was the season that gave the world Eddie Murphy, but otherwise it was a dud and a half. Anyway, when Ebersol took over, he hired a mostly new cast (keeping just Murphy and Joe Piscopo). Among these new cast members was a young woman named Emily Prager, and even though Ms. Prager was listed as an official cast member in that first Ebersol episode, the poor lady never made it past the dress rehearsal stage, and never actually appeared on the air. The following week, the writer's strike happened and Saturday Night was put on hiatus for yet another big reboot. Prager was not asked back. So yeah, Prager never actually appeared on screen, but she was listed in the credits for a single episode, so she does count, and somebody has to come in last place, so why not the chick who never saw any airtime?

142. George Coe (1975) - Yeah, everyone knows the names Belushi and Aykroyd and Chevy Chase, but what about good ole George Coe. He was credited as on of the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" from the first episode ever aired, waaay back in 1975. Granted, by episode two, he was gone from the credits, though he did remain throughout the season, making a brief appearance here and there. At 46 years old, Coe was the oldest member of the SNL cast, and would hold the record of oldest debut until just this past year, when the 47 year old Leslie Jones made her debut. This is pretty much Coe's only claim to so-called fame at SNL. Outside of 30 Rock, Coe made a ton of movies and guested on an equally large amount of TV shows. He even was nominated for an Oscar once, for Best Short Film in 1968.

141. Dan Vitale (1986) - Does anyone remember this guy? He appeared in exactly three episodes of SNL during the 11th season, and I, for the life of me, cannot remember anything about him. Even a Google search gives me next-to-nothing on this guy. Hell, he doesn't even have his own Wikipedia page. What kind of bullshit is that!? But hey, even this apparent nonexistence places him higher than either George Coe or poor Emily Prager. But he's not the only completely forgotten cast member on this list. Let's move on and talk about some of them, shall we?

140. Morwenna Banks (1995) - Seriously, does anyone remember this woman? Anyone? Apparently this English comic was a cast member for exactly four episodes during season 20. I honestly don't remember anything about her though. And to think, this still gets her placing above Coe and Prager as well. After SNL, this mystery woman had done a bunch of voice work for some kid's shows, and has more recently done a series of web videos, mocking modern celebs. I've actually checked out some clips from some web and BBC shows, and she's actually quite funny, but seriously, I do not remember this woman on SNL. Not at all.

137, 138, & 139 - Matthew Laurance, Patrick Weathers, and Yvonne Hudson (1980-81) - Speaking of cast members we've never heard of, here are three who were brought in as featured players during the aforementioned disastrous 1980 season. None of these three ever got much air time during their short partial season run on the show, which might have been a good thing, since with this anonymity comes a lack of blame for such a horrible season. Of course, no fame ever came after their run on SNL either. So there's that.

136. Laurie Metcalf (1981) - Just like poor Emily Prager above, Metcalf was brought in for one episode for Dick Ebersol before the writer's strike hit. Unlike poor Emily though, Metcalf did make it onto the screen. Granted, it was for one brief moment on Weekend Update, but she was on screen. Of course, years later, Metcalf would become one of the funniest women on TV on shows like Roseanne and The Big Bang Theory, but as far as SNL goes, she's pretty low on the list. Sorry.

133, 134, & 135. Ann Risley, Denny Dillon, and Gail Matthius (1980-81) - Here are three more mostly forgotten cast members from that 1980-81 season. Unlike some of the others mentioned earlier (see nos. 135 through 137) at least this trio had some memorable moments. Well, at least semi-memorable. Okay, maybe not memorable at all, but at least I remember these guys. Yeah, barely, but I do remember them. So, there's that.

131 & 132. Jim Downey & Alan Zweibel (1979-80) - After Belushi and Aykroyd left for greener pastures in Hollywood, Lorne Michaels needed some fresh blood to join Bill Murray, Jane Curtain, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, and Gilda Radner, so he went into the writer's room and pulled a few of the more camera-friendly ones out onto the stage. Two of these were Downey and Zweibel. Neither one lasted past this one season as a performer, though both would come back as writers in later seasons. Downey just left the show last year actually, and Zweibel helped to create such memorable characters as Gilda's Roseannadanna and Belushi's Samurai. He would also later go on to write a book and play about the life and death of his muse, Gilda Radner. As far as performers on the show though, neither Downey nor Zweibel are all that remembered.

130. Victoria Jackson (1986-92) - Basically, Jackson's only purpose on the show was to be the bubble-headed blonde bimbo in sketch after sketch after sketch. This was really a one note kinda career. After finally leaving the show, after six terrible seasons (at least she was terrible, she was actually surrounded by a talented cast) Jackson would go on to become an actual idiot. Granted, she was probably always an idiot, but in more recent days she has become a rabid right wing nut, making racist and homophobic remarks on each and every occasion she has the opportunity. Damn, this actually makes her tenure on the show look not that bad, in comparison. Yikes.

128 & 129. Christine Ebersole & Tony Rosato (1981-82) - These two were brought on after Dick Ebersol's seventh season reboot, but would both leave after that one season, without making all that big of a mark on the history of the show. Sure, they had some good celebrity impersonations during their short tenures, but nothing to write home about. Ebersole would go on to a slew of TV guest appearances, while Rosato would go on to a lifetime of mental problems, and an on again off again affair with the US penal system. Yup. Rosato does have the distinction of being the first SNL cast member to be born outside of North America. So, there's that. Yup.

126 & 127. Peter Aykroyd (1979-80) & Jim Belushi (1983-85) - So, after Belushi and Aykroyd left, one of the featured players to come in to fill the empty space, was Dan's little brother Peter. This Aykroyd never made the impact his brother did. Then, after a few more seasons, along came John's baby bro Jim. Again, Jim was no John. Meanwhile, as the younger Belushi would go on to some success (including an inexplicably successful sitcom called According to Jim), baby Aykroyd has made a career out of co-starring in his brother's movies. Both of these guys would later do the voices of Jake and Elwood Blues in a Blues Brothers animated series.

124 & 125. David Koechner (1995-96) & Jim Breuer (1995-98) - These guys pretty much hung around in order to play typical douchebags. Granted, they were good at playing these douchebags, but when you are good at being stupid and/or boring, you probably aren't going to shout that from any rooftops.

101 to 123. Pamela Stephenson, Terry Sweeney, Beth Cahill, Siobhan Fallon, Melanie Hutsell, Nancy Walls, Fred Wolf, Jerry Minor, Dean Edwards, Jeff Richards, Finesse Mitchell, Rob Riggle, Paul Brittain, Michaela Watkins, Jenny Slate, Tim Robinson, Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells, John Millhiser, Beck Bennett, Sasheer Zamata, Colin Jost, and Michael Che - Okay, in order to speed things along a bit, here are 23 various cast members who are either rightfully forgotten or, in the case of the ones who are currently on the show, soon to be forgotten. These 23 players, including Terry Sweeney, the first openly gay cast member (Kate McKinnon of the current cast is the only other out member in SNL cast history), run from the mid 1980's right up until the current season. Granted, several of these cast members have gone on to bigger and better things (Rob Riggle, Michaela Watkins, Nancy Walls) and perhaps some of the current cast members still have a chance to impress (it may be somewhat unfair to judge them so early on) but I'm still lumping these 23 in together. As I said, just to speed things along. Now on with the top 100.

100. Ben Stiller (1989) - Yeah, that's right kids, Ben Stiller was a cast member on SNL. Actually, two years before he joined the cast, Stiller had made a short film which was shown in season 12. Cut to season 14, and Stiller came aboard as an official cast member. Stiller lasted exactly four episodes before calling it quits due to what he called creative differences. Yeah, after this, I guess he did some other stuff. Who knows?

99. Michael O'Donoghue (1975) - O'Donoghue was the first head writer for SNL, and appeared in the very first sketch ever done, and is actually the very first person seen on the show, wherein he plays an English language coach, teaching John Belushi's foreigner how to say phrases like "I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines." Granted, his writing contribution is much greater than his on screen persona (he was only a credited performer during season one), which is why he isn't higher up. O'Donoghue left the show after the third season, but would come back when Ebersol took over in early 1981. As the story goes, O'Donoghue, who loved dark and dangerous comedy, was fired after writing and setting up a sketch comparing NBC chief, Fred Silverman, to Adolph Hitler. The sketch itself, which never aired, was a massive undertaking, with a huge set design (including a Nazi-styled eagle clutching the NBC logo), the rumoured return of Belushi to play the NBC head, and  a proposed running time of twenty minutes. Now I would have loved to have seen that. O'Donoghue was also the reason SCTV great Catherine O'Hara was never on the show. O'Hara was meant to be in Ebersol's new cast but walked out during rehearsal due to O'Donoghue's demeaning attitude toward the actors.

98. Robin Duke (1981-84) - Duke was one of the fresh new faces in Dick Ebersol's season 7 reboot (only Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo were asked back from the failed sixth season). Duke had gone to high school with Catherine O'Hara, and it was O'Hara, after having walked out, who suggested Duke take her place on the show. She lasted on the show for three years, and is most remembered for playing Wendy Whiner, one half of the annoying couple, The Whiners (Piscopo was her equally annoying hubby in the recurring sketch). 

97. Danitra Vance (1985-86) - It took until season 11 for the cast to include a woman of colour as an actual cast member (Yvonne Hudson had bit parts in 8 episodes as a feature player in 1980), and even then, the poor comic was given very little to do. And what she was given to do was all stereotypical in the whole racial scheme of things. She had a hit on the show, singing a Barry Manilow-esque number titled, "I Play the Maids," satirizing the lack of quality roles for African-Americans in show biz. This number was highly ironic since Vance herself was experiencing that very same thing on SNL. The comic quit after just one season. She passed away in 1993, due to breast cancer. She was just 40 years old.

96. Paul Shaffer (1979-80) - Before he became David Letterman's band leader and sidekick in 1982, a position he still holds to this day, Shaffer could be found behind the keyboards of Saturday Night Live's house band. He spent five seasons doing this before being "promoted" to feature player during his final season on the show. His most notable appearances are with Bill Murray during his lounge singer sketches. Granted, he didn't get much to do on screen, but when he did, he was a blast.

95. Laura Kightlinger (1995-96) - Kightlinger was both a writer and a feature player for one season of the show. She did a killer Paula Poundstone impression. There's something you don't hear every day. Otherwise, her short tenure is mostly forgotten. The comic writer would later move on to writing for Will & Grace (as well as appearing on a few episodes) and in 2007, wrote and starred in her own series on IFC, called The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman. She has also written for Funny or Die.com, and has been known to date Jack Black as well.

90. to 94. Joan Cusack, Robert Downey, Jr., Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, & Damon Wayans (1985-86) - With the coming of season 11, after five years away from his own creation, Lorne Michaels was back at the helm. The returning hero brought aboard an entirely new cast to try to revitalize the dying show (it was meant to be canceled after season 10, but NBC head, Brandon Tartikoff, was a fan and kept the show going by hiring Michaels back). Several members of this new cast have already been talked of here (some of the mostly forgotten cast members earlier on the list) and some made a name for themselves at SNL, and will be talked about a bit higher in the rankings (Jon Lovitz coming soon), and then you have these five. All of these performers have gone onto better days. Quaid was actually already a star, as well as an Oscar nominee from the early 1970's, and Hall had just come off of The Breakfast Club (at seventeen on his debut episode, he is still the youngest cast member ever). Wayans would go onto TV and movie stardom and Cusack would as well (including her own Oscar nomination in 1988). I think that Downey, Jr. guy may have had some amount of success after SNL as well. As far as their brief runs on Saturday Night (out of the 11 new cast members of this season, only 3 made it to a second season, and none of these guys were amongst those three) all five of these talented actors were completely wasted. Completely!

89. Tom Schiller (1979-80) - Granted, Schiller's short one season jump from writer's room to center stage (or at least side of the stage) was not all that memorable, but the short films the guy put together for the show are some of the best things to ever play on SNL. One of these was the film, "Don't Look Back in Anger," wherein we see an aged Belushi, as the last living "Not Ready for Prime Time Player," a rather ominous thing indeed.

88. Charles Rocket (1980-81) - After Lorne Michaels left in 1980, the show was revamped (and as we surely know by now, terribly so) and a whole new cast was brought in. Charles Rocket was meant to be the centerpiece of the show, just as they had done with Chevy during the first season, and  tried to do with Bill Murray after Belushi and Aykroyd jumped ship in 1979. Well, this din't work out so well, now did it? Remember, this was the same season which gave us Eddie Murphy. On Rocket's final episode, just 12 episodes into the truncated season, he dropped the f-bomb, basically just to see what would happen. He was fired the next day , and crawled into obscurity after that. After years battling depression, Rocket took his own life in 2006.

87. Robert Smigel (1991-93) - Granted, during his official two season run as a feature player, Smigel was rarely seen on screen, but thanks to his long running animated shorts (The Ambiguously Gay Duo, among others) he gets a higher spot on the list than he would have otherwise gotten.

86. Tom Davis (1977-80) - Playing (unwillingly I am sure) the Garfunkle to Al Franken's Simon, Oates to Franklin's Hall, if you will, Tom Davis nonetheless was a talented writer and performer. Granted, he didn't get to show it that much on the show, but the few times he did, it was kinda priceless. Of course he was no Al Franken, a guy who sits much higher on our list.

84. & 85. Sarah Silverman (1993-94) & Janeane Garofalo (1994-95) - Here are a couple of funny ladies who SNL had no idea what to do with. Both acerbic comics at a time when SNL wasn't really all that acerbically-minded. And they are women as well, which has always been a sore spot when it came to Saturday Night Live. 1990's SNL was not a good place for talented women, as it was a boys club at the time, at least until Tina Fey empowered her gender a half a decade or more later. Talented and funny ladies indeed, but completely wasted at SNL.

83. Gilbert Gottfried (1980-81) - Since his one season on SNL (a season that many call one of, if not the worst), Gottfried has gone and done a whole hell of a lot of things in the comedy world. With his ridiculously mannered voice (something of a cross between a screech owl and a disappointed Jewish mother) Gottfried may not be the most palatable of comic tastes, but his foul-mouth Friar's Club banter is pretty fucking hilarious. Of course, the guy never did any of that on SNL, but still, he's not as forgettable as some. How's that for a rave review?

67. to 82. Tim Kazurinsky, Brad Hall, Gary Kroeger, Rich Hall, A. Whitney Brown, Julia Sweeney, Chris Elliott, Mark McKinney, Colin Quinn, Jay Mohr, Jay Pharoah, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Pete Davidson, and Leslie Jones - Okay, just to go ahead and speed things along again, her is a lump sum of a sixteen SNL'ers. From the often overlooked Kazurinsky to Gary Kroeger and his Donny & Marie make-out sessions with Julia Louis-Dreyfus to the interchangeable Hall boys (no relation) to the over-your-head intellectualism of A. Whitney Brown to the rather overpraised Julia Sweeney (Pat was funny, but what else did she ever do?) to the obnoxiously amusing Chris Elliott to McKinney's slumming to Jay Mohr's assholery to Colin Quinn's raspy fuck yous to all the so-called new kids on the block. Yup. Now I think we can move on with the list proper.

66. Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) - An alum of Def Comedy Jam and In Living Color, Ellen Cleghorne joined the cast of SNL in season 17. Her most famous character was that of Afrocentric Weekend Update guest Queen Shenequa. Of course, as is often the case, SNL never really knew what to do with Cleghorne. She left the show to star in her own self-titled WB sitcom, which lasted just 12 episodes. In an episode of Family Guy, Stewie is heard asking if they ever found a suitable vehicle for Ellen Cleghorne. Sadly, they never did.

65. Brian Doyle-Murray (1979-82) - Just like Aykroyd and Belushi, Bill Murray also had a brother as a cast member. Yeah, big bro Brian didn't get all that much air time as a feature player during those lean years, and he is certainly not his brother (that guy's pretty high on our list), but you always have a blast watching him do his thing.

64. Joe Piscopo (1980-84) - Often considered a joke in retrospect, this second banana to Eddie Murphy (the second best cast member in a cast that really only had one good cast member!?) did do a fine job on the show. A much better job than he is usually given credit. Yeah, his Sinatra was outdone by Phil Hartman's a few years later, but it was still a damn good Frank...and he got to hang with Eddie Murphy too. You know, back when Eddie Murphy was still funny.

63. Horatio Sanz (1998-2006) - Probably the least professional of all then cast (save for maybe bud, Jimmy Fallon) Sanz made a habit of breaking into giggle fits in scenes. This could also be due to the fact that the guy was usually stoned (I'm guessing). But yeah, the guy did have his moments. He did come up with one of the best Christmas moments on TV (see pic below).

62. Kevin Nealon (1986-95) - Nealon was one of the new kids when the show finally pulled itself up from the ugly depths of the early 1980's. Granted, his average guy schtick usually got lost in the juicy goodness that were his equally fresh faced cast mates (Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks) but he did have some hits. He was a relatively good Weekend Update anchor, though cast mate Dennis Miller did it much better. But hey, the guy knew how to Pump...You...Up!

61. Tim Meadows (1991-2000) - Meadows was another one of those workhorses at SNL (see Chris Parnell and Will Forte, later in the list), who never got the credit they were due. The hardest working guy in the cast (and the one with the longest tenure until Darrell Hammond, another workhorse, broke that record), Meadows usually flew under the radar, but who doesn't love his Ladies Man? Okay, not the movie, the SNL skit. No one loves that movie.

60. Bobby Moynihan (2008-present) - One of the first of a new wave of cast members, Moynihan had been doing some comedy bits on various web series (one produced by Lorne Michaels, written by Seth Meyers, and co-starring Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis) when he was cast on SNL. On the show, he has played about 1000 different characters, teh most memorable of which is his Drunk Uncle bit on Weekend Update. Oh yeah, and he was also Ass Dan, may he rest in peace.

59. Rob Schneider (1990-94) - Making copies. Yeah, Rob Schmeider is kind of a joke - and not in the good way. His post SNL film career is the thing of legend - and not in the good way. But while on SNL, as a member of the so-called "Bad Boy" clique that included Sandler, Rock, Spade, and Farley, Schneider was better than his post SNL career would have you think.

58. Chris Kattan (1996-2003) - The wild child of his time, Kattan had a lot of annoying characters, but they were charmingly annoying. Okay, that may just be a way of getting around characters like Mango and Mr. Peepers, and focusing on Kattan's strange charisma.

57. Nasim Pedrad (2009-14) - When Pedrad joined the cast in season 35, the Iranian born comedienne became just the fifth cast member born outside of North America. Her most notable celeb impressions were Kim Kardashian, Nicki Mnaj, and Arianna Huffington. Her most endearing original character was Bedelia, a teenager who would rather hang with her parents than her friends. After five seasons, Pedrad left the show to star in the sitcom Mulaney, created by and starring SNL writer John Mulaney. She probably had second thoughts after Mulaney was canceled almost immediately after it premiered.

56. Vanessa Bayer (2010-present) - The wide-eyed, sunny-faced disposition of Bayer is her best attribute. It allows her to play the schmarmiest of characters with equal amounts of pathos and hilarity. Her take on Miley Cyrus and her parody of Fox & Friends, are just two of many instances of such wide-eyed, sunny-faced hilarity.

55. Nora Dunn (1985-90) - Nora Dunn was one of just three holdovers after the majority of the new 1985 cast was let go (Dennis Miller and Jon Lovitz being the other two). Her most remembered character was one half of the Sweeney Sisters, a singing duo with Jan Hooks, but she will probably be remembered most for her troubles with Lorne Michaels and some of her cast mates. She was outspoken about the supposed misogyny running rampant on the show (an all-too real problem at SNL over the years) even boycotting an episode because of her reluctance to work beside host Andrew Dice Clay. That boycotted episode would be Dunn's last.

54. Abby Elliott (2008-12) - The cute-as-a-button Abby Elliot is sort of a legacy at 30 Rock. She is the first cast member to be the child of a former cast member (Chris Elliott), and on top of that, her grandfather (Bob Elliott, half of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray) appeared on the show in the 1970's. So yeah, she's a third generation SNL'er. But hey, she has talents all her own also, and shouldn't be thought of as mere legacy. Elliot could do a slew of celebrity impersonations, from Katy Perry to Rachel Maddow to her spot-on Anna Faris. Abby was one of the highlights of recent years, and it's a shame her tenure only lasted a short time, though it was four times as long as her one season dad.

53. Mary Gross (1981-85) - Her name aside, Mary Gross was adorable, and yet anotehr undervalued cast member. Mary did a great Dr. Ruth, but her best character was Alfalfa, opposite Eddie Murphy's iconic Buckwheat. Mary left teh show in 1985, along with teh rest of teh cast, and lackluster producer Dick Ebersol.

52. Norm Macdonald (1993-98) - My lovely wife questioned my placing Norm Macdonald this high on the list (I think she may have placed him in the 140 range) but dammit, I find the guy hilarious. Okay, maybe not top 50 hilarious, but still. Yeah, he didn't do many sketches, but his time as Weekend Update anchor was ofttimes brilliant...and ofttimes controversial. Eventually he was fired for his news antics. Yeah, the guy may have been an asshole, but I enjoyed his so-called controversial antics.

51. Garrett Morris (1975-1980) - Garrett is the only original "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" to miss out on the top 50. Sorry Garrett, but it's not your fault. Saturday Night Live has always had problems with writing good material for their African American cast members. Morris was usually stuck playing the drivers and waiters and pimps and criminals and such, while Chevy and John and Danny were getting all the good screen time. But even with this unfortunate stigma, Morris gave it his all.

48, 49. & 50. Harry Shearer (1979-80, 1984-85), Christopher Guest (1984-85), & Michael McKean (1994-95) - I've lumped these three guys together for the mere fact that they are Spinal Tap. As performers on the show, each had their moments (there is one sketch, probably completely forgotten by most, where McKean played a private eye named Bill Blake, that I fondly remember) and they even got to perform as Spinal Tap on one episode.

47. Casey Wilson (2008-09) - Casey Wilson, the first cast member to be born in the 1980's, only spent one season at studio 8H, and is probably mostly forgotten as even being a cast member, but I remember her as being funny on the show - even if I am the only one who thinks such a thing. Since SNL, Wilson has done pretty well for herself, starring in the sitcoms Happy Endings and currently in Marry Me, both created by her husband David Caspe.

46. Don Novello (1979-80, 1985-86) - Novello did one thing on the show, but he did it well. You see, Novello was better known as Father Guido Sarducci, the sardonic priest character he created. Novello played this character as if he was this character, and parlayed that into a career as Father Guido Sarducci in movies and television. Hell, he even got a record deal.

45. Chris Parnell (1998-2006) - Parnell was one of those workhorses of SNL. Never acting the star, he played character after character as if he were some sort of method character actor of 1950's Hollywood. One could even say that Chris Parnell was the Rod Steiger of Saturday Night Live. Parnell has kept such a career going in shows like 30 Rock and Archer.

44. Darrell Hammond (1995-2009) - Talk about your workhorses. Hammond spent a record 14 seasons at SNL, and once held the record for most characters played with 107 (a record broken last season by Kenan Thompson, At 53 when he left the show, Hammond is also the oldest SNL cast member ever. But hey, records aside, this workhorse may have also been the best dam Clinton on TV - and that includes the real Bill Clinton. More recently, Hammond has rejoined the show, taking the place of the late Don Pardo, as the show's announcer.

43. Billy Crystal (1984-85) - Like his cohort Martin Short, Crystal only spent one season at SNL (the same season at that), but his contribution makes it seem like he was there for years. Crystal, again like Short, was one of several already established comedians to come aboard in the mid 1980's, giving the show's production at the time the inevitable comparison to Steinbrenner's Yankees of the time. But yes, in his short time on the show, he did make a legacy for himself.

42. Dennis Miller (1985-91) - One of the few players to be asked back after the beyond disastrous 1985 season (Lorne Michaels first year back), Miller never did all that much in the sketch department, but his naturally snarky attitude helped made his tenure behind the Weekend Update desk was one of the best the show had ever seen. Yeah, the guy has since become a raving, right wing nutcase, but his days on Weekend Update are still fond memories.

41. Laraine Newman (1975-80) - Each cast has that inevitable one or two cast members who are talented, but who also fall through the cracks. Laraine Newman is one of those inevitable cast members. I mean really, how are you supposed to compete with the likes of Belushi and Gilda and Aykroyd and Murray, when trying to get airtime. But nevertheless, Newman had some great moments as one of the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

40. Martin Short (1984-85) - Short, like Crystal, would only spend a single season at studio 8H, but his contribution, again like his one-season partner Crystal, makes it seem like he was there much longer. This one season on the show, gave Short the opportunity to extend the popularity of his SCTV persona to a much wider audience. It seems to have worked for the guy. His Ed Grimley (see pic just above) is a personal fave of the era.

39. Kenan Thompson (2003-present) - When joining the cast in season 29, the then 25 year old Kenan Thompson became the first cast member born after SNL had debuted. Thompson also holds the record for longest tenure of any African American cast member (breaking Tim Meadows record of 10 seasons) and for playing the most different characters (breaking Darrell Hammond's record of 107). Oh yeah, and Thompson is pretty funny too. I seriously cannot get enough of his talk show, What up With That.

38. Cecily Strong (2012-present) - I must admit to not having been a fan of Cecily Strong when she first appeared on SNL, but after watching her for awhile, I began to realize just how damn funny the lady happens to be. She is definitely one of the funnier and more talented performers in the current cast.

37. Cheri Oteri (1995-2000) - A tiny powerhouse of a performer, Oteri had many great moments in her five seasons of SNL, but my favourite (and probably everyone's favourite) is when she teamed with Will Ferrell to play those wonderfully ridiculous cheerleaders. Oteri was always a performer who put her all into her characters. There was never any halfway for Oteri. She played it balls to the wall.

36. Tracy Morgan (1996-2003) - Tracy, like many performers of colour on the show, never got as much screen time as their white counterparts (not just a theory, but a statement of fact), and therefore never really got to shine as much as he would have, could have, and should have. His Brian Fellow and Astronaut Jones characters were a blast though. I wish he had the opportunity to have others. Morgan's light really began to shine on 30 Rock, where he got to finally show his fantastic talent.

35. Ana Gasteyer (1996-2002) - Gasteyer was one hell of a performer and she had many memorable characters during her tenure on the show (her portrayal of Martha Stewart, Lilith Fairer Cinder Calhoun, her coupling with Will Ferrell as a pair of schmarmy singers) but her most memorable was as the co-host (along with Molly Shannon) of public radio show Delicious Dish. This was the recurring sketch that gave us Alec Baldwin hawking his Schweddy Balls. Yeah, this sketch ran fifteen different times over the years, but it was that one episode that everyone remembers.

34. Taran Killam (2010-present) - My second favourite member of the current cast, Killam is an hilarious performer, specializing in cool and charming freaks and outcasts. A great impersonator as well. His best character though is his colonial critic character from Weekend Update. I think this guy is just getting started, so in another 40 years, we may find him a bit higher on the list. All this and he is married to Cobie Smulders to boot.

33. Rachel Dratch (1999-2006) - Not to sound rude or anything, but Rachel Dratch is a rather funny looking person. I mean this in the most complimentary way. Dratch has always used this strange beauty of hers (and yes, it is a beauty!) to her great advantage. Playing weirdos and freaks, Dratch made a habit of of finding the funny in teh sad and sometimes pathetic. Her Debbie Downer is always a fave.

32. Will Forte (2002-10) - Forte, much in the same manner as Chris Parnell, was a workhorse of the show. He never got to shine like some of the more so-called vibrant performers surrounding him, but he did his job and he did it well. My favourite Forte moments though, have always been when he broke free and let his freak flag fly.

31. Jane Curtain (1975-80) - Surrounded by the likes of John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner, Curtain was, probably inevitably, one of the most overlooked cast members of her era. Highly talented, she laboured at acting the straight person to Gilda, Billy, and the gang, and probably never got to shine as much as she should have. Of course, none of this stops me from placing her almost in my top thirty. Of course, her work on Weekend Update (the first woman to helm the news show, and a huge influence on Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, when they anchored the Update desk) is probably more than enough to make up for all the other stuff.

30. Fred Armisen (2002-13) - Armisen often used his musical talents in creating his characters, and this paid off in him ranking this high on the list. His Weekend Update team-ups with Kristen Wiig, where they would make-up ridiculous songs on the spot, were a highlight of his 11 season tenure at studio 8H. Then there was his impersonation of President Obama. Though it was spot-on, many criticized Armisen, who is of Japanese, German, and Venezuelan descent, for his portrayal of the nation's first black president. Still though, controversy or not, Armisen did a damn fine job as the president.

29. Seth Meyers (2001-13) - Seth is the guy who has anchored the Weekend Update desk longer than any of 'em. 8 seasons behind the desk. Seth also took over head writing duties after Tina Fey departed. Seth is that clean cut guy who can be completely acerbic and biting, while at the same time posing with the kind of grin that makes him look like he just ate the family cat. Seth never did much else other than anchor the news (the few sketches he found himself in, he was almost always just a seat filler of sorts. But his work on Weekend Update was superb, and gets him into our top 30. He might have some sort of late night gig these days too.

28. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1982-85) - Of course everyone knows Julia Louis-Dreyfus. From Seinfeld to The New Adventures of Old Christine to Veep, Julia is one of the most acclaimed television actors of her day. When she won her Emmy for Veep, she became the first person to win an Emmy for three different shows. But after all this stardom, people tend to forget she was once on SNL. Being that she was a member of the cast during its Lorne Michaels-less low spot, probably explains this forgotten early legacy. Just 21 when she first appeared on the show (the sixth youngest cast member ever) Julia's tenure may not have been overly memorable (due more to the poor writing during this low point, than to the comic's budding talent) but when she played Marie to Gary Kroeger's Donny, and their singing turned into a make-out session, it was SNL gold.

27. Kate McKinnon (2012-present) - Here she is folks. The highest ranked member of the current cast. Nominated for an Emmy last year (only Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig have managed this feat previously) and recently officially out and proud (just the second openly gay cast member), Kate McKinnon can play anyone and everyone. From a wild-eyed Ann Romney to a dead-on hilarious version of Justin Bieber to her own character, Olya Povlatsky, a Russian peasant woman ("Our only exports are homophobia and snow."). Simply put, McKinnon is awesome. So there!

26. Jimmy Fallon (1998-2004) - I think you might have heard of this guy. I know he doesn't get much media coverage these days (what is this guy up to anyway?) but you have probably heard his name dropped now and again. Seriously though, before the Tonight Show gig, before his other late night gig, little Jimmy Fallon, the boy who can do it all, was on SNL. A Weekend Update anchor for a bit, Fallon could (and still can) do pretty much any celebrity voice you could (or can) imagine. Yeah, he was just awful at staying in character on the live show, breaking down with the giggles more than anyone else on the show, but one could say that was an endearing quality in the budding superstar.

25. Andy Samberg (2005-12) - Basically, Samberg is the modern day Adam Sandler. Silly and immature, but with a raw talent that shines through all the silly immature behaviour, often using that same behaviour as part of the act, when playing his usually sophomoric characters. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Samberg's even better at his musical stuff and digital shorts. He and Justin Timberlake doing Dick in a Box is what one might call legendary.

24. David Spade (1990-96) - Spade is the quintessential snarky, wink wink kinda guy. His Weekend Update Hollywood Minute segments were pure freakin' gold, in that same snarky, wink wink kinda way. Spade has parlayed this sardonic persona into a post SNL career that has seen highs (his snide playing on Just Shoot Me) and lows (can we all say Joe Dirt?) but his five seasons on SNL have seen more highs than lows. Of course, this is helped by his playing to his snarky strengths.

23. Jason Sudeikis (2005-13) - Sudeikis is sort of that kinda douchy sports guy from college combined with that smart kid from high school, rolled into one charming everyman kinda bud. Sharp-witted and often quite biting, Sudeikis made an SNL career out playing the too-smart-for-his-own-good character, but always did it with a cheeky grin. His portrayal of a quite insane Joe Biden is heee-larious and a half, and his half of the A-Hole Couple (with Kristen Wiig) and the red track suited dancer on What Up With That, just add to the dude's splendid repartee. He may never have been the big star, but like Forte and Parnell, he knew how to charm the audience, and he did it over and over and over again.

22. Al Franken (1977-80, 1985-86, 1987-95) - Having three tenures on the show, Franken is the guy who can connect the cast of Belushi and Gilda to the cast of Spade and Sandler. Originally part of the comedy duo of Davis & Franken (with the late Tom Davis), Franken was meant to succeed Michaels as producer when he left in 1980, but NBC's Fred Silverman disliked his attitude (Franken mocked the network on air many times), so he left when Michaels did. Franken came into his own during his third and final tenure on the show. This was when he created his Stuart Smalley persona. Yeah, he parlayed this into one of the worst SNL films ever made (and boy, is that saying a lot!), but he was also one of the most acerbic, biting writers/performers in the show's history. And hey, he became a kick ass US Senator as well.

21. Jon Lovitz (1985-90) - Lovitz, the epitome of the lovable loser, never seems to get the respect his comic talents deserve. Sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of SNL, Lovitz made a habit of playing jerks and A-holes, and was damn good at it. Perhaps too good. Perhaps so good that audiences found him unappealing because he played such unappealing characters on the show. At the live 40th anniversary special this past weekend, Lovitz was the butt of several jokes. Of course these jokes were all in fun (it's not like his former castmates think of him the way Chevy's do - more on that later) as the loser part is prefaced with the lovable moniker.

20. Chris Rock (1990-93) - Chris Rock has joked on occasion that he never got to do much on SNL, and like most other black performers (Eddie Murphy aside), he is goddamn right. Rock is a multi-talented performer, and it was more than a mere shame how he was wasted on SNL. Yeah, when he did get a sketch on the air, it was pretty goddamn fantastic, though often too esoteric for some viewers. This is probably part of why Rock never seemed to fit in at SNL. Like Belushi and Franken before him, Rock was ahead of his time. Sometimes, like in the case of Belushi, such a thing works, other times (look at the SNL career of Michael O'Donoghue or Andy Kaufman) the performer just seems like a freak. Luckily Rock has made a career for himself after his three under-used seasons at SNL.

19. Maya Rudolph (2000-07) - One of the few cast members of colour to thrive on the show, Maya Rudolph was as versatile as they come. Her over-the-top takes on over-the-top real life characters like Beyonce, Whitney Houston, and Donatella Versace are equal parts terrifying and hilarious. With her mixed heritage (her father is Jewish, her mother African American) Rudolph is able to play pretty much any ethnicity with ease. This is probably part of the reason she never had the unfair, but all too real, handicap of being a person of colour on SNL. And on top of all that (not that it counts toward her ranking as cast member) she has parlayed well into films - and not just silly post SNL stuff, but indie and arthouse cinema as well. Of course, this probably comes from being married to American auteur Paul Thomas Anderson.

18. Chris Farley (1990-95) - Fat man in a little coat. Okay, that's a line from Farley's film career, but I had to open with it. On SNL, Farley took on the role once held by Belushi. Granted, Belushi was never actually fat, so much as husky, but still, the idea of a large man (and Farley was definitely a large man) being as acrobatic as Farley was (and Farley was definitely an acrobatic man) helped to make Farley an SNL great. Sure, he never had the depth or style of Belushi (but who does?), but he could do his thing with the best of 'em. Farley, along with Sandler, Schneider, Rock, and Spade, was one of the so-called "Bad Boys of SNL." His Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker character was one of the best characters on SNL. His Chippendale dance off with Patrick Swayze is a thing of legend. He is sadly missed.

17. Molly Shannon (1995-2001) - An obvious devotee of the late great Gilda Radner, Molly Shannon's very physical comedy stylings made her a star. In fact, it made her a superstar! Yeah, I went there. There was one episode, while playing her superstar fave, Mary Katherine Gallagher, that Molly licked Aerosmith's Steven Tyler from foot to head. From Tyler's reaction, this was probably never done in rehearsal. This was the kind of thing Molly Shannon did, and did well. The girl was a hilarious freak who wasn't afraid of anything.

16. Adam Sandler (1991-95) - Many could, and I think many have, say that Adam Sandler is a no talent hack, and if one were to look at the guy's cinematic oeuvre, and films like Jack and Jill and You Don't Mess With the Zohan, you probably wouldn't be wrong. Yes, he has made quality films too (Punch-Drunk Love, and...um, well Punch-Drunk Love) but most of his film work is...um, well, let's just move on. Anyway, this list, and Sandler's position on it, is based on what he did on SNL. And let's face it, no matter how many characters the guy played on the show, he will always be best known (and rightly so) for his creation of The Chanukah Song. Hell, the damn thing has even become a holiday staple on radio stations around the country. That's enough to get Sandler into our top 20.

15. Jan Hooks (1986-91) - This one may be somewhat of a surprise. Hooks is possibly the most overlooked cast member in SNL history, and damn it, it's about time she gets her due. Back in 1985, fresh from her stint on HBO's Not Necessarily the News, Hooks was a finalist to make the SNL cast. Ultimately she was turned down in favour of Joan Cusack. The following year though, Hooks did come aboard, and with fellow new cast mates like Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman, brought the then-flailing show back to prominence. Hooks did a lot of characters during her five years on the show, but my favourite of all her sketches was one where she played a diner waitress opposite host Alec Baldwin. It was both funny and touching. An incredible lady, Hooks passed away this past year, and the world is a little bit less funny because of her passing.

14. Bill Hader (2005-13) - One of the most versatile performers on the show, Hader can pretty much impersonate anyone. Anyone. From Pacino to Charlie Sheen to Dr. Oz to James Carville to his priceless Vincent Price. Hader has played some great originals too. His chain smoking Italian talk show host and sportscaster, Greg the Alien are two of my faves. Of course no one can talk about Hader without talking about his character of Stefon, probably the most iconic character of the last decade. Overall, Hader just seems like a cool guy to hang with. A big freaky guy, but a cool guy also. And hey, the guy has proven he can do drama as well.

13. Kristen Wiig (2005-12) - Wiig, like Gilda Radner and Molly Shannon before her, is one of those great female comics who are willing to be as physical as any man, any day. She has also been nominated for 4 Emmy Awards, more than anyone else in SNL history. Anyhoo, from the strange child Gilly to Kat from the Garth & Kat sketch with Fred Armisen, to such celeb impressions as Suze Orman, Kathie Lee Gifford, Drew Barrymore, and (my fave) Bjork, Wiig was a blast on the show, and has parlayed that into a sincerely successful post SNL film career, including some brave indie choices.

12. Will Ferrell (1995-2002) - Like a big dumb, yet lovable lunkhead, Ferrell has played many great characters on SNL. His ability to let himself go, and let the madness take over, has always been Ferrell's strongest attribute. Whether he is clanking on his cowbell or cheering the most ridiculous of cheers or running around in just his speedos or tighty whities (the guy loved doing that), Ferrell could out-crazy all of 'em. He also had the ability to crack up any of his cast mates with just a wink of his eye or a wiggle of his nose - and not just Jimmy Fallon. And as for his George Bush...classic. Probably the best presidential impression ever on the show. And that's all due to...strategery.

11. Tina Fey (2000-2006) - Sure, she didn't do all that many sketches, but her tenure on Weekend Update (one of the best ever) is more than enough to get Tina Fey into the top 11. When she came on as head writer, Fey helped to bring back the show from its floundering post-Hartman/Carvey/Sandler/Myers years, and also helped to make the show the place to be for strong and funny women, something the show had always had a problem with before Tina. But it's more than just her writing skills (this list is about the on air personalities) that places Tina this far up on the list. Her biting, sardonic take on current events on Weekend Update and her stellar portrayal of Sarah Palin, make Tina Fey one of the best performers ever on SNL.

10. Dana Carvey (1986-93) - Carvey was one of the new kids on the block back in 1986, when after years of struggle, SNL became "Must See TV" once again. His ability to impersonate just about anyone, along with his creation of such characters as Garth Algar and The Church Lady, and his dual politicizing of Papa Bush and Ross Perot, made Carvey a household name. And watching him at the 40th anniversary special this past weekend, he still seems to be the same fun-loving funny guy. Isn't that special?

9. Gilda Radner (1975-80) - You probably cannot find even a single female comic under the age of 50, who does not include Gilda as one of, if not their biggest influence. Gilda could do it all, and make it look so damn easy. A hugely talented comic, Gilda was also one of the most beloved of all SNL cast members. It was, of course, a tragedy when she finally succumbed to cancer at the age of 42, but luckily we still have all those great clips and great characters of hers to get us through the loss. And I think that is what Gilda would want. Not tears, but laughs. And damn, could that lady make us laugh.

8. Phil Hartman (1986-94) - As I've already talked about in the sections on Carvey and Nealon and Hooks, it was a last minute, hail Mary kinda move when the 1986 cast was announced. Bringing the show back from imminent cancellation, Phil Hartman was an integral part of the show's late 1980's comeback success. His portrayal of both Reagan and Clinton made him a presidential double threat. A member of the improv group, The Groundlings (as were many of his fellow SNL'ers, and also the troupe where he helped Paul Reubens develop his Pee Wee Herman persona) Hartman was like an improv machine. He was also the show's central heartbeat, so much so that Sandler nicknamed him The Glue. We lost Hartman in 1998 (murdered by his wife) but, like Gilda, we can still watch the laughs.

7. Chevy Chase (1975-76) - I am guessing, if you were to ask any of Chevy's former cast mates their opinion, he probably would not be quite this high. In fact, according to most tales, he may actually end up in dead last. But this has nothing to do with his talent, and everything to do with the guy's ego. But hey, the guy was funny, and became the de facto star of the show that first season. Then he left to become a movie star. Sure, he had films like Foul Play and Fletch, and the first Vacation, and his work on Community was good, but yeah, that movie career is sort of a joke. But still, none of this changes the fact that he was damn funny during his one season on SNL. He pretty much created Weekend Update, and everyone from Jane Curtain to Dennis Miller to Seth Meyers to Tina and Amy to Jimmy Fallon and Brad "Freakin'" Hall owe the guy a debt of gratitude for that alone. Actually, Chevy was probably the only original Not Ready for Prime Timer, who knew what he should have been doing in front of the camera. This may not make him the best (there are still a couple originals coming up on the list) but it did make him the star.

6. Dan Aykroyd (1975-79) - If Chevy was the star, Aykroyd was the anti-star. Belushi's best bud and the show's token head banger of sorts. Aykroyd loved being on stage, his cast of characters, often leaning toward the slimy, used car salesman direction, were proof of how good he was at it. Yet, at the same time, Danny was just as comfortable riding his motorcycle on the sidewalks of lower Manhattan. He wasn't afraid of anything, and along with Belushi, he helped lead the dangerous side of SNL into the limelight. The original bad boys of SNL, indeed. Danny was also whip smart (I'm sure he still is) and could probably sell a blind man a subscription to Playboy, if he were so inclined. Dan the man, indeed!

5. Amy Poehler (2001-08) - As Saturday Night Live has always had a problem knowing how to showcase the women on the show, it is probably understandable if no female cast member made the top five. It's unfair, as was (and still is, though to a purposefully lesser degree) their treatment on the show, but let's face facts - the boys got most of the juicy airtime, and therefore, most of the recognition. But when a woman was allowed to shine on the show, none shone brighter than Amy Poehler. Yup, Amy is our highest ranking lady, and she even made the top five, to boot. Anyhoo, Amy not only was one of the best Weekend Update anchors (her and Tina together were pure freakin' magic) but she could also command sketch after sketch and character after character, whether it was the girl with one leg or Hillary Clinton herself. Poehler is probably the smartest, wittiest cast member the show has ever seen, and her post SNL career has just gone on to prove that very same thing.

4. Eddie Murphy (1980-84) - When Eddie came aboard, it was at that transitional time just after Lorne Michaels left, but before Dick Ebersol came on board. It was a whole new thing and everything was against the show, and its brand new cast, actually making it to another season. Well, as we all know by now, most of that cast did not make it to that next season. But Eddie did. And Eddie became a superstar because of it. Such a big star that he actually hosted the show while still a member of the cast. Imagine that. Eddie was a superstar, and as the fifth biggest box office actor of all time, he would eventually have the most successful movie career of anyone in SNL history. Yeah, even more so than Robert Downey, Jr.

3. Mike Myers (1989-95) - While  my wife and I were discussing this list, and the whole SNL 40th anniversary hoopla, my lovely wife made the statement that Mike Myers' Wayne Campbell may very well be the most iconic character in the show's history. Ya know what, she may very well be right...damn right! Myers was such a pro on the show too. He was always the biggest of perfections. Probably second only to Lorne Michaels himself. Of course this perfectionism has given Myers a reputation of not being fun to work with, but that doesn't change the fact that the guy may very well be a comic genius. The second coming of Peter Sellers. From Wayne to Linda Richman to his kid characters of Phillip and Simon to Dieter (Touch my monkey!), Mike Myers is easily one of the best SNL cast members ever. In fact, I'd rank him right around number three. Now onto the top two.

2. Bill Murray (1976-80) - After Chevy ran off to Hollywood, Billy Martin came in and became the very first new kid on the block. Murray was the polar opposite of Chevy. While Chevy was the class president and quarterback, Billy was the class clown. And what a clown he could be. probably the SNL'er with teh best post show career and persona, Bill Murray has a habit of somehow being the dorkiest and the coolest guy in any room he enters. He is still like that today. His gaggle of characters while on the show, from Todd the ultimate nerd, opposite his girlfriend at the time, Gilda, to his lovably sleazy lounge singer, managed to give him that dorky cool persona from the very beginning. While Belushi and Aykroyd did all the so-called heavy lifting, Murray rambled in and became both the class clown AND the new quarterback - and he even got to date the cheerleader as well. But alas, as cool and as great and as smooth and suave as Bill Murray was, is , and always will be, he is still number two on our list. Which means...

1. John Belushi (1975-79) - I almost hate having to agree with Rolling Stone on this one, but there is no denying it, Belushi is the best. Don't even try to deny it! He was not only a great comic, but he also had a method to his method madness, and perhaps thought he might be the next Brando, so much so that he even played Brando on the show, perhaps better than Brando himself could have ever done it. From his Samurai to his Killer Bee to his brilliant (and some may say crazed) impersonation of Joe Cocker, even performing on stage with Cocker, to he and Danny transforming into The Blues Brothers, Belushi was a master at his craft. There was one sketch I remember with zeal, where Belushi played Sam Peckinpah, and his antics on stage (Peckinpah was as crazy as Belushi) were some of my favourite moments ever on the show. One inevitably wonders what would have become of Belushi's brilliant career if he had only lived.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


  1. Wow! This was quite the list to read and I did read all of it!! I have not watched SNL in decades actually but I loved the first season and Eddie Murphy. You are right-I thought Martin Short and Billy Crystal were on for at least 3 years. This show is a great legacy and showcases so much talent-great write up!

    1. SNL goes through streaks and slumps. 1975-80 streak, 1981-85 slump, 1986-94 streak, 1995-2000 slump, 2001-09, streak, 2010-now slump.

  2. Thank you for talking about all the misogyny inherent on SNL. Yes, Tina Fey helped to, if not stop it, at least give women a more equal footing. Along with Poehler and Rudolph and Wiig, the ladies of SNL became more kick-ass in the 2000's. Just imagine what it would be like today if Gilda had lived? She'd make a great multiple host, and surprise cameo guest.

    1. Gilda would be great as a host. Also showing up randomly as Roseanne Roseannadanna.

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