- Saturday Night Live cast members
The following is a list of Saturday Night Live cast members, past and present. The cast members of Saturday Night Live are often referred to as the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players".
- 1 List of cast members
- 2 Cast timeline
- 3 Family connections
- 4 Longest tenures
- 5 Shortest tenures
- 6 Youngest cast members
- 7 Oldest cast members
- 8 President of the United States impression
- 9 Saturday Night Live Curse
- 10 See also
- 11 References
List of cast members
The following list of cast members includes both featured and repertory players, but omits SNL writers and others who weren't listed as cast members during the show's credits. The dates given are those of the years they were on the show. Also noted on the chart is whether the cast member ever served as an episode's host, appeared as the anchor of the "Weekend Update" segment (under any of its titles), or has been the subject of their own "Best Of" home video collection.
- Repertory cast members
- Featured cast members
- Repertory cast members
- Repertory cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
- Cast members
Some cast members are related to former staff of the show. The most prominent example is Jim Belushi, younger brother of cast member John Belushi. Before that, Bill Murray's older brother Brian Doyle-Murray was a writer and cast member. When Dan Aykroyd left the show in 1979, he was replaced by a series of short-lived featured players, one of whom was his brother Peter Aykroyd. 1980 featured player Matthew Laurance was the identical twin brother of 1977-1980 associate director and bit player Mitchell Laurance. Long-time writer and sometime performer Jim Downey is former cast member Robert Downey, Jr.'s uncle. Abby Elliott is the daughter of former cast member Chris Elliott (and granddaughter of Bob Elliott, who appeared on SNL as a guest performer on the 1978 Christmas episode hosted by Elliot Gould).
Other family connections exist that do not share the same name. For instance, cast member Gilda Radner was briefly married to G. E. Smith, who later became the show's bandleader. Michael O'Donoghue was married to SNL band pianist Cheryl Hardwick. Cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall were an item during their tenure, and were married in 1987. Cast member and writer Tina Fey is married to musical director Jeff Richmond.
The following is a list of the cast members with the longest tenures, who have spent eight seasons or more with the show.
Person Years on Show Notes Darrell Hammond 14 Hammond was hired after the massive cast overhaul in 1995. He is known for his numerous amount of impressions, which was the key to his longevity on the show. Hammond holds the record for most celebrity impersonations (107, with Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Chris Matthews from Hardball, most of George W. Bush's Cabinet, particularly Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and Sean Connery as his most frequent and most popular). He is also the last cast member hired in the 1990s to leave the show (Hammond left at the end of Season 34), the oldest cast member to leave the show (Hammond was 55 when he left the show), and the longest-running cast member at 14 seasons (1995–2009). Al Franken 11 Franken was hired as a writer in the beginning of the series in 1975. As the show progressed Tom Davis and he were allowed to perform material on air sporadically. Franken left the show in 1980 (he originally was chosen to be the executive producer of season six, but was turned down after Franken performed his piece, "A Limo for the Lame-O," which criticized NBC's executive producer at the time Fred Silverman), but returned to the show when Lorne Michaels came back in 1985, where Franken regained his writing and on air featured status until the 20th season. Seth Meyers 11 Meyers joined the show in 2001 and is currently the head writer and anchor of Weekend Update. He has been confirmed to be returning for season 37, which would be his eleventh season on the show. Is the only SNL cast member to have a family member on a rival show (Seth's brother, Josh, was a MADtv cast member from 2002 to 2004). Tim Meadows 10 Meadows joined the show in early 1991 and was almost fired during the cast overhaul after season 20 (he was kept in the cast at the last minute in an attempt to add racial diversity to the new cast and to give Meadows the chance to perform that he didn't get during his first five years on the show). Meadows is the longest-serving black cast member (he left the show at the end of the 25th season). Fred Armisen 10 Armisen joined the show in 2002 and is currently still in the cast. He has been confirmed to be returning for season 37, which would be his tenth season on the show. Armisen is now the show's longest-running Hispanic cast member (beating out the Chilean-born Horatio Sanz), as well as the longest-running Asian castmember (Armisen is half-Japanese), the only current cast member born before 1970 (Armisen was born in 1966), and the oldest current cast member at age 44). Kevin Nealon 9 Nealon joined the show in 1986. He served as anchor of Weekend Update for his sixth, seventh and eighth seasons, even though he gave up his position as anchor he returned his ninth season. Nealon did not return to the show after 1995. Kenan Thompson 9 Thompson joined the show in 2003 and is currently still in the cast. He has been confirmed to be returning for season 37, which would be his ninth season on the show. Is currently the second longest-running black male cast member (behind Tim Meadows), the only longest-running cast member who was born after SNL premiered in 1975, the first cast member who was born after SNL's 1975 premiere to join the show's cast, and the first SNL cast member who got his start on children's shows. Will Forte 8 Forte joined the show, like Armisen, in 2002. He left the series after the release of MacGruber in 2010. Phil Hartman 8 Hartman, like Nealon, joined the show in 1986. He left in 1994 and hosted the show twice in 1996. He was later killed by his wife four years after leaving the show. Chris Parnell 8 Parnell was hired in 1998 and was fired in 2001 to make way for new talent. About a year later, Parnell was rehired and remained on the show until he was let go for the second time in 2006 due to budget cuts. Amy Poehler 8 Like Meyers, Poehler joined the show in 2001. She served as co-anchor of Weekend Update with Tina Fey from 2004–2006 and with Meyers from 2006 - 2008. She left the series in 2008 to begin production on Parks and Recreation. Maya Rudolph 8 Rudolph joined the show in early 2000. She was absent for most of the thirty-first season, because of the birth of her child. She did not return to the show in 2008 after the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike ended. Horatio Sanz 8 Like Parnell, Sanz joined the show in 1998 and was let go due to budget cuts in 2006. He served as co-anchor of Weekend Update in the thirty-first season with Poehler for a few episodes, after Fey gave birth to her first child.
The following is a list of the cast members who have had the shortest tenures on the show. 
Person Number of Episodes Notes Emily Prager 0 Prager was hired by Dick Ebersol to be a featured player on the show. She appeared in a few sketches at dress rehearsal in what would be the final episode of the sixth season, due to the Writers' Guild of America going on strike in 1981. She did not return to the SNL cast in season seven, and is the only SNL cast member who never appeared on the show, despite being credited. Laurie Metcalf 1 Like Prager, Metcalf was hired as part of Dick Ebersol's temporary season six cast following the termination of Jean Doumanian. Unlike Prager, Metcalf appeared on-camera in a Weekend Update piece. When the show was put on hiatus for retooling, Metcalf was not chosen to return to the show for the season seven cast. Dan Vitale 3 Was hired as an on-and-off featured player for the 11th season, he was only credited with appearing in three episodes throughout the season. Morwenna Banks 4 Was hired as a repertory player for the last four episodes of the 20th season, but was let out of her contract as part of a major cast overhaul Lorne Michaels had planned for season 21. Ben Stiller 4 Before becoming a cast member, Stiller submitted a short film -- a parody of the movie The Color of Money -- that was shown on the season 12 episode hosted by Charlton Heston. Stiller was hired during SNL's fourteenth season, but quit after four episodes due to creative differences. Despite this, Stiller returned to host in 1998 and 2011. Tom Schiller 7 Schiller was one of the show writers who was upgraded to cast member status during the 5th season. He left the show at the end of the season. Patrick Weathers 7 Weathers was hired as a featured cast member for the sixth season, but was fired along with many of Doumanian's cast. George Coe 8 Coe was one of the original "Not Ready for Primetime" cast in SNL's 1st season, because NBC wanted someone older in the cast. He continued to make several uncredited appearances throughout the first season. Yvonne Hudson 8 Hudson was a recurring extra during SNL's fifth season, and became the first black female cast member in season six. Like many of Doumanian's cast, she was fired mid-season. Jim Downey 9 Downey was hired as one of many writers-turned-feature players in SNL's fifth season. Even though he left the cast after season 5, Downey returned to the show as a writer in the mid-1980s and has remained with it. Matthew Laurance 10 Laurance was hired as a feature player during the 6th season, and, like many of the cast, was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul. Alan Zweibel 11 Zweibel was a writer for the show before joing the cast during season 5, and left after the season finale. Gilbert Gottfried 12 Gottfried joined the cast for the sixth season and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul. Michael O'Donoghue 12 O'Donoghue was one of the original "Not Ready for Primetime Players," but was dropped after a few episodes. He remained with the show as a writer and occasional on-screen performer. Ann Risley 12 Risley joined the cast for the sixth season and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul. Charles Rocket 12 Rocket joined the cast for the sixth season and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul. Damon Wayans 12 Wayans was hired the 11th season as a featured player. He was fired mid season for improvising on the air, Wayans returned as a guest to perform stand-up comedy on season 11's last episode and hosted SNL in 1994. Beth Cahill 13 Cahill joined the show during the 17th season as an off-and-on featured player. She did not return the following season. Denny Dillon 13 Dillon joined the cast for the sixth season and was let go after the final episode of the season as part of the cast overhaul. Gail Matthius 13 Matthius joined the cast for the sixth season and was let go after the season ended. Paul Shaffer 13 Shaffer joined the cast during the fifth season after being a part of the show's house band; he left after the season's end. He hosted SNL in 1987, making him the only member of the house band to do so. Janeane Garofalo 14 Garofalo joined the cast during the 20th season, but quit mid-season. Michaela Watkins 15 Watkins joined the show on the first episode after the 2008 United States presidential election, then was let go before the start of the 35th season.
Youngest cast members
The following is a list of the youngest people to join the show
Person Age When Joined Show Tenure Anthony Michael Hall 17 years old 1985–1986 Eddie Murphy 19 years old 1980–1984 Robert Downey, Jr. 20 years old 1985–1986 Abby Elliott 21 years, 5 months 2008–present Julia Louis-Dreyfus 21 years, 8 months 1982–1985 Sarah Silverman 22 years, 9 months 1993–1994 Jay Pharoah 22 years, 11 months 2010–present
Oldest cast members
The following is a list of the oldest people to join the show.
Person Age When Joined Show Tenure Michael McKean 46 years old 1994–1995 George Coe 46 years old 1975–1976 Darrell Hammond 39 years old 1995–2009 Garrett Morris 38 years, 8 month 1975–1980 Phil Hartman 38 years, 1 month 1986–1994 Michaela Watkins 36 years, 11 months 2008–2009 Christopher Guest 36 years, 8 months 1984–1985 Billy Crystal 36 years, 7 months 1984–1985 Colin Quinn 36 years, 4 months 1995–2000
- Hammond was the oldest person to be a cast member, he was 53 years old during his final season on the show.
President of the United States impression
Impersonating the President of the United States is considered "about as high of an honor that can be bestowed upon a cast member." The following is a list of people who have impersonated the president.
President Performer (Years) Richard Nixon
- Dan Aykroyd (1975–1979)
- Chevy Chase (1975–1976)
Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan George H. W. Bush
- Dana Carvey (1989–1993)
President Performer (Years) Bill Clinton George W. Bush Barack Obama
- Fred Armisen (2009–present)
Saturday Night Live Curse
Although SNL is well-known as the launchpad for many successful careers, seven cast and active crew members have died prematurely. This has given rise to a superstition known as the "Saturday Night Live Curse".
Two cast members have died of a drug overdose at the age of 33, in parallel situations. John Belushi and Chris Farley overdosed from a "speedball," an injection of cocaine and heroin. Belushi's death led to the conviction of Cathy Smith for administering the fatal injection. Nearly four years before Belushi's death, SNL aired a short sketch titled Don't Look Back In Anger featuring an elderly Belushi as the last living of the "not ready for prime time" cast members. Farley's death occurred nearly two months after he came back to host SNL, which turned out to be his final television appearance.Yep, they all thought I'd be the first to go. I was one of those live-fast, die-young, leave-a-good-looking-corpse types, you know?—John Belushi
Original cast member Gilda Radner died on May 20, 1989 from ovarian cancer. She was originally scheduled to host the thirteenth season finale, a first for a former female cast member, but the show was canceled due to a Writer's Guild of America strike. Her health worsened the following year. Shortly before the fourteenth season finale, news came of Radner's death, and Steve Martin delivered his visibly shaken monologue, followed by the sketch called "Dancing in the Dark" that he and Radner performed on an episode he hosted in 1978, and a musical tribute to Radner performed by her former husband G. E. Smith and the SNL Band.
Repertory player Danitra Vance died on August 21, 1994 from breast cancer.
Original cast member Michael O'Donoghue died on November 8, 1994 of a cerebral hemorrhage after suffering from severe chronic migraine headaches. Bill Murray honored O'Donoghue's memory in an appearance on the twentieth season episode (hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker with musical guest R.E.M.) by replaying O'Donoghue's sketch, "Mr. Mike's Least Loved Bedtime Stories: The Soiled Kimono" from December 1977.
Long-time performer Phil Hartman was killed on May 28, 1998 by his wife while he slept in his Encino, California home. Before committing the act, Brynn consumed a combination of cocaine, alcohol, and the antidepressant drug Zoloft, and later shot herself.
Doumanian-era performer Charles Rocket was found dead on October 7, 2005 in his Canterbury, Connecticut backyard. Local police declared his death a suicide; he had allegedly taken his own life by cutting his neck with a box-cutter.
Julia Sweeney was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the mid-1990s, but has survived and transformed her experiences into a one-woman show, God Said, Ha!, developed at LA's alternative comedy show, "Un-Cabaret". Miramax released the film version of the show in 1998, produced by Quentin Tarantino. The film version of the play earned the Golden Space Needle Award, while Sweeney's recording earned her a Grammy nomination for best comedy album. It was released on DVD in 2003.
- List of Saturday Night Live cast members who have hosted
- ^ Graham, Mark. "The Michaela Watkins Club: 21 Other SNL Cast Members Who Only Lasted a Season (or Less) - Vulture". Nymag.com. http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/09/snl_1.html. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
- ^ Kenan Thompson#Saturday Night Live
- ^ "SNL Presidents". Movieline.com. http://www.movieline.com/2010/11/why-its-time-for-fred-armisen-to-hand-over-snls-obama-to-jay-pharoah.php. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
- ^ "Saturday Night Live Curse?". Who2?. http://www.who2.com/satnightlivecurse.html. Retrieved September 21 2006.
- ^ "The SNL Curse". Saturday-Night-Live.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-02. http://web.archive.org/web/20080702202117/http://www.saturday-night-live.com/snl/miscellaneousstuff/documents/thesnlcurse.html. Retrieved September 21 2006.
- ^ Worek, Steven. "Live From Up There". SNLRA.com. Archived from the original on 2006-07-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20080802053432/http://www.snlra.com/curse.html. Retrieved September 21 2006.
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