History of Saturday Night Live (1995–2000)

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This article details the history of Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2000. Saturday Night Live (abbreviated as SNL) is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night. The show revolves around a series of sketches parodying American culture and politics, performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest who usually delivers an opening monologue and takes part in sketches with the cast, and features a musical guest who also performs.


History of Saturday Night Live series:

1975–1980
(seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
1980–1985
(seasons 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
1985–1990
(seasons 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
1990–1995
(seasons 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
1995–2000
(seasons 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
2000–2005
(seasons 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
2005–2010
(seasons 31, 32, 33, 34, 35)
2010–present
(seasons 36, 37, 38, 39)
Weekend Update

The mid-late nineties[edit]

1995-1996 season[edit]

The 1995-1996 season was the last for David Spade, as well as the debut for Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, David Koechner, Cheri Oteri, Nancy Walls, Chris Kattan and Colin Quinn. Ferrell, Hammond, Oteri, Kattan and Molly Shannon (a featured player since midway through the preceding season) became mainstays of the show.

Ana Gasteyer[edit]

Ex-Groundling Ana Gasteyer joined in 1996-1997, creating characters such as Margaret Jo McCullen, co-host of public radio cooking show “The Delicious Dish” and ultra-square middle school music teacher Bobbi Mohan-Culp as well as impressions of Martha Stewart and Celine Dion.

Darrell Hammond[edit]

Darrell Hammond built up a repertoire of popular impersonations, including Bill Clinton and Chris Matthews.

Cast additions and departures from 1997-1999[edit]

This ensemble remained substantially unchanged for the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 seasons, although the later season introduced new cast members — Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz. The only surprise departure was Norm Macdonald, who was suddenly replaced by Colin Quinn as Update anchor starting on January 10, 1998.

1999-2000 season[edit]

1999-2000 was the last season for Colin Quinn, Cheri Oteri, and Tim Meadows, and the first for Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph (daughter of the late singer Minnie Riperton).

Season breakdown[edit]

1995-1996 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

Along with a virtually all new cast, this season also came with an all new opener. With G.E. Smith gone as bandleader, Lenny Pickett takes over, and the theme music is a jazzier version of the 1994-1995 theme. This montage has a theme similar to that of the NBC studios where SNL is broadcast, and consists of black and white images of the cast at a party, with purple and green titling. The SNL logo introduced here is used through the 2005-2006 season.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]
  • The only holdovers from the previous season were Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows, Molly Shannon and David Spade, and of the five only Meadows and Spade were true veterans. The other three were still newcomers to SNL. Macdonald had a few bit parts in his first year (1993-1994) and was Weekend Update anchor in his second year (1994-1995), an aspect that many fans considered to be the highlight of SNL's highly lackluster 20th season. Shannon arrived in early 1995 as a featured performer after Janeane Garofalo quit the show; McKinney began in early 1995 as well, but as a contract player, having gained much experience in televised sketch comedy as a five-season veteran of the Canadian variety show The Kids in the Hall, also produced by Lorne Michaels).
  • Spade also was the longest-serving cast-member during this season.
  • David Koechner and Nancy Walls were fired at the end of the season. Most of the other new regulars went on to become quite popular.
  • Chris Kattan was added to the cast at midseason.

1996-1997 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

This montage also uses a "30 Rock" theme, and is virtually identical to the 1995 montage, but with brand new cast photos, and slight change in font.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]
  • Tim Meadows was the longest-running cast member during that season.
  • Fred Wolf was a writer for the show since 1991, and he served a brief run as a featured player in 1995-1996 and the first few weeks of 1996-1997.
  • Mark McKinney left at the end of the season.
  • Tracy Morgan and Ana Gasteyer both join the cast, taking the places of David Koechner and Nancy Walls.

1997-1998 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

This opener is the only montage in SNL's history that did not feature any images of New York City. Instead, it featured colored bars that spun and revealed each cast member photo, along with mention of a TV Funhouse cartoon appearing on some episodes and/or a special guest.

Cast[edit]

This season is the first since 1984-1985 to have no featured players.

Notes[edit]
  • Tina Fey joins the writing staff.
  • Norm Macdonald's exit was widely publicized, with Macdonald appearing on such shows as Late Show with David Letterman and Howard Stern's radio show to discuss the ordeal. Both hosts comment that Macdonald was the show's sole funny aspect. Additionally, television ads for Macdonald's June 1998 film Dirty Work were initially not shown on any NBC broadcast. Adding to the publicity was Colin Quinn's takeover of Weekend Update in January 1998.
  • Jim Breuer is fired at the end of the season after a three year run. Breuer, years later, claimed he was fired during the summer hiatus after an argument with the head writer,[1] Adam McKay,[2] and the ensuing politics.[1]

1998-1999 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

This montage was used for two seasons, including SNL's 25th Anniversary season. It is similar to the 1997 montage in that various colored bars were used. However, there are various striking differences between the two montages. Whereas the first one had all bars moved sideways in vertical positions, this one included bars moving from different directions in horizontal positions. Also, unlike the previous montage, shots of New York City were featured within the moving bars. Finally, as opposed to the cast members/musical guest/host photos occupying the entire screen, they were represented in a small box in a beige color.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]
  • The changing of the guard begins yet again as Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz are groomed for stardom, replacing several reliable players who will leave over the next couple of years.

1999-2000 season[edit]

Opening montage[edit]

This montage is the same as the 1998 season with little-to-no changes. One difference is that the SNL logo now has a small "25" superscript after it to commemorate its 25th Anniversary and Season 24 featured players, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, and Chris Parnell are now added to the main cast while Rachel Dratch (and later Maya Rudolph for the last 3 episodes of the season) would be added in the featured player credits.

Cast[edit]

Featuring

Notes[edit]
  • Colin Quinn and Cheri Oteri leave at the end of the season, as does Tim Meadows after nearly a decade on SNL.
  • Meadows was the longest-serving African-American cast member and would remain so for the next 13 years before he would eventually be surpassed by Kenan Thompson in Season 38.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Howard Stern (7 June 2010). "The Howard Stern Show". The Howard Stern Show. MarksFriggin.com Synopsis. Sirius Satellite Radio. Howard 100/101.
  2. ^ ""Saturday Night Live" Matthew Broderick/Natalie Merchant (1998) - Full cast and crew". IMDB. Retrieved 10 June 2010.