Saturday Night Live (season 16)

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Saturday Night Live (season 16)
The title card for the sixteenth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes20
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1990 (1990-09-29) –
May 18, 1991 (1991-05-18)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 15
Next →
Season 17
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The sixteenth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 29, 1990, and May 18, 1991.

The 16th season of SNL was a transitional one: Several longtime cast members left, and a large number of additions were made to the roster. To ensure that he was not short on talent (and to avoid repeating Jean Doumanian's mistake—and Lorne Michaels's previous mistake in the case of the 1985-1986 cast—of hiring a cast of new, inexperienced cast members with little to no comedic chemistry), Michaels chose to retain most of the late 1980s cast while in the process of hiring the people that would make up the early 1990s cast. At one point during the season, sixteen people were listed as cast members or featured players.


Extensive changes occurred before the start of the season. Nora Dunn and Jon Lovitz were both dropped from the show. Following her boycott of the episode hosted by Andrew Dice Clay the previous season, Dunn was not in good standing with Lorne Michaels. Dunn's initial five-year contract expired at the end of the previous season, but Lorne Michaels chose not to extend it due to the boycott controversy.

Before the season began, Jon Lovitz requested time off so he could film Mom and Dad Save the World, which would cause him to miss the first several episodes of the season. Michaels refused, because he did not view this to be fair to the other cast members. Lovitz subsequently quit. However, he made several cameo appearances throughout the 16th season.[1]

With Dunn and Lovitz gone, Michaels was put in an unusual situation. Most of the cast had been on the show for five seasons. He did not want to be put in the spot of having to replace the entire cast all at once. Instead, Michaels promoted writers Rob Schneider and David Spade to the cast and hired Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and Julia Sweeney. He later hired Tim Meadows and Adam Sandler to the cast mid-season.

Starting with this season, the cast was divided into three groups. A middle group was created, and this new category would be introduced with the word "with," following the introduction of the repertory players. The first cast members added to the new group were Farley and Rock, with Meadows and Sweeney added mid-season.

This season would also be the final season for Jan Hooks, A. Whitney Brown, and Dennis Miller. Hooks left on her own terms at the end of the season, and Brown left the show mid-season to move to other acting opportunities. Miller, who also departed at the end of the season, was at the time the longest running anchor of Weekend Update, having done the job for six full seasons, until Seth Meyers breaks the record in the 2012-13 season. However, Miller still holds the record as the longest solo anchor of Weekend Update as Meyers was paired with Amy Poehler in his first three seasons on Update and Cecily Strong in his final season on the show.

Phil Hartman was planning on leaving the show along with Miller and Hooks, which this season would've been his fifth and final season. But NBC convinced Hartman to stay on for a few more seasons by promising him his own comedy show, which was later scrapped or never came to fruition.

Cast roster[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Notable writers from season 16 included Jim Downey, Al Franken, Tom Davis, Jack Handey, Conan O'Brien, Rob Smigel and Bob Odenkirk.

Season 16 would prove to be the final year for O'Brien and Odenkirk as Saturday Night Live writers. O'Brien left to write for The Simpsons, and would later host NBC's Late Night and Tonight Show late night talk shows. Odenkirk would go on to write for future cast member Chris Elliott's Get a Life and The Dennis Miller Show as well as The Ben Stiller Show, for which he was also a cast member. In 1995, he would co-create and co-star on HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David.[2]


No. in
HostMusical guestOriginal air date
2871Kyle MacLachlanSinéad O'ConnorSeptember 29, 1990 (1990-09-29)

2882Susan LucciHothouse FlowersOctober 6, 1990 (1990-10-06)

2893George SteinbrennerMorris Day & The TimeOctober 20, 1990 (1990-10-20)

2904Patrick SwayzeMariah CareyOctober 27, 1990 (1990-10-27)

  • Swayze's wife, Lisa Niemi, appears during the monologue and dances with her husband.
  • Mariah Carey performs "Vision of Love" and "Vanishing".[3]
  • Rob Schneider's first episode as a cast member.
  • Episode contains the "Chippendales" sketch, where Swayze and Chris Farley play competing Chippendales dancers.[4]
2915Jimmy SmitsWorld PartyNovember 10, 1990 (1990-11-10)

2926Dennis HopperPaul SimonNovember 17, 1990 (1990-11-17)

2937John GoodmanFaith No MoreDecember 1, 1990 (1990-12-01)

2948Tom HanksEdie Brickell & New BohemiansDecember 8, 1990 (1990-12-08)

  • Paul Simon, Steve Martin, and Elliott Gould make cameo appearances as members of the "Five Timer's Club"; Jon Lovitz cameos as a waiter, Conan O'Brien as a doorman, and Ralph Nader appears as a onetime former host trying to get into the club.[7] Nader also appears in the "Global Warming Christmas Special" sketch.
  • Tony Randall makes a cameo appearance in the "Game Beaters/Mr. Short Term Memory" sketch.
  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians perform "Woyaho" and "He Said".[3]
  • Adam Sandler appears in the Sabra sketch
2959Dennis QuaidThe Neville BrothersDecember 15, 1990 (1990-12-15)

  • Jon Lovitz makes a cameo appearance during "Weekend Update" as his character "Annoying Man".
  • The Neville Brothers performs "Brother Jake" and "River of Life".[3]
29610Joe MantegnaVanilla IceJanuary 12, 1991 (1991-01-12)

29711StingStingJanuary 19, 1991 (1991-01-19)

29812Kevin BaconINXSFebruary 9, 1991 (1991-02-09)

29913Roseanne BarrDeee-LiteFebruary 16, 1991 (1991-02-16)

30014Alec BaldwinWhitney HoustonFebruary 23, 1991 (1991-02-23)

30115Michael J. FoxThe Black CrowesMarch 16, 1991 (1991-03-16)

30216Jeremy IronsFishboneMarch 23, 1991 (1991-03-23)

  • Boxer Donovan "Razor" Ruddock makes cameo appearances during "Weekend Update" and the "Buzz Pen" sketch.
  • Fishbone performs "Sunless Saturday" and "Everyday Sunshine".[3]
30317Catherine O'HaraR.E.M.April 13, 1991 (1991-04-13)

30418Steven SeagalMichael BoltonApril 20, 1991 (1991-04-20)

30519Delta BurkeChris IsaakMay 11, 1991 (1991-05-11)

  • Madonna appears in a filmed cameo during the "Wayne's World" sketch.
  • Chris Isaak performs "Wicked Game" and "Diddley Daddy".[3] He also appears in the "Karaoke Bar" sketch.
  • This episode was released as part of the three-episode "Best of Saturday Night Live: Special Edition" VHS (1992).
30620George WendtElvis CostelloMay 18, 1991 (1991-05-18)


  1. ^ Daly, Steve. "Lovitz Discusses Movies, Leaving 'SNL'". Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  2. ^ IMDb page: "Bob Odenkirk Filmography by TV."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 233. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 244–246. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 46. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  8. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 248–249. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  9. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  10. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 252–254. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  11. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 255–257. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.