Saturday Night Live cast members
As of September 2019[update], the late-night live variety series Saturday Night Live (SNL) has featured 153 cast members. The ensemble was originally referred to as the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players."
- 1 Complete list
- 2 Tenures
- 3 President of the United States impressionists
- 4 Emmy Awards
- 5 Both cast and hosts
- 6 "SNL Curse"
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
The list below includes both repertory and featured players past and present, but omits SNL writers and others who were not listed as cast members during the show's credits. The dates given are those of the years they were part of the cast. The chart also shows whether the cast member has served as a guest host, appeared as the anchorperson of the "Weekend Update" segment (by any of its titles), or has been the subject of their own "Best of" home video collection. Many of the cast members were writers as well. "Middle group" performers are introduced after the main cast by the announcer saying "...with" and reading off these performers before ending with featured players.
Lighter colors denote "featured players" versus repertory cast members.
Cast members with the longest tenures include:
|Performer||No. of seasons||Years on the show||Notes|
|Kenan Thompson||16 ⅛||2003–present||Thompson, born in 1978, is the first cast member born after the show's premiere in 1975 to have joined the show.|
|Darrell Hammond||14||1995–2009||Hired after a cast overhaul, he was the last cast member hired in the 1990s to leave the show, and the oldest cast member to leave the show (age 53 when he departed). At the time of his departure, he held the record for the longest tenure with the show, a record that lasted for 8 years until broken by Thompson. In 2014, Hammond returned to the show as the announcer following the death of longtime announcer Don Pardo.|
|Seth Meyers||13||2001–2014||Meyers anchored Weekend Update from 2006 to 2014, making him the longest-serving Weekend Update anchor (breaking the records held by Dennis Miller and Tina Fey). He left the show to become the host of Late Night.|
|Al Franken||10||1977–1980; 1986 (one episode); 1988–1995||Worked as a writer the first two seasons, and promoted to cast member in Season 3. He left the show in 1980, but returned when Lorne Michaels came back in 1985, regaining his writing and on-air featured status until 1995. Despite the long tenure, he was only credited for about 90 episodes. Franken later served as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 2009 until 2018.|
|Tim Meadows||9 ½||1991–2000||Meadows joined the show in the second half of season 16, and left at the end of season 25. At the time of his departure, he held the record for the longest uninterrupted tenure as a cast member.|
These cast members spent less than a full 20-episode season on the show.
|Performer||No. of episodes||Notes|
|George Coe||1||He was one of the original "Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players", because NBC wanted someone older in the cast. He was credited as a cast member for only the first episode, though he continued to make several uncredited appearances throughout the first season. He was later known for voicing the valet Woodhouse in the animated series Archer.|
|Laurie Metcalf||1||She also was hired as part of Ebersol's temporary season six cast following the termination of Jean Doumanian, and appeared on-camera in a Weekend Update piece. When the show was put on hiatus for retooling, she was not chosen to return to the show for the season seven cast.|
|Emily Prager||1||Hired by Dick Ebersol to be a featured player, she appeared in a few sketches at dress rehearsal in what would be the final episode of season six, due to the Writers' Guild of America going on strike in 1981. She did not return to the SNL cast in season seven. Although she did not appear in the single episode for which she was credited as a featured player, she had appeared uncredited in five previous episodes between 1977 and 1981.|
|Dan Vitale||3||Hired as an on-and-off featured player for season 11, he was only credited with appearing in three episodes throughout the season.|
|Morwenna Banks||4||She was hired as a repertory player for the last four episodes of season 20, 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, he submitted a short film – a parody of the film The Color of Money – that was shown on the season 12 episode hosted by Charlton Heston. He was hired during season 14, but quit after four episodes due to creative differences. Despite this, he returned to host in 1998 and 2011 and had a recurring role as Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's ex-lawyer.|
|Fred Wolf||4||He's been a writer since 1992. However, he became a featured player in near the end season 21 for the last four episodes, however, he only appeared and was credited for episodes 17, 18, and 20. His last episode was in the 3rd episode of the 22nd season. After that episode, he decided to leave the show for good.|
|Tom Schiller||7||One of the show writers who was upgraded to cast member status during season five, he left the show at the end of the season.|
|Patrick Weathers||7||Hired as a featured cast member for season six, he was fired along with many of Doumanian's cast.|
|Yvonne Hudson||8||She was a recurring extra during season five, 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||He was hired as one of many writers-turned-feature players in season five, and though he left the cast after the season, he returned to the show as a writer in the mid-1980s and has remained with it.|
|Matthew Laurance||10||Hired as a feature player during season six, he was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.|
|Alan Zweibel||11||A writer for the show before joining the cast in season five, he left after the season finale.|
|Gilbert Gottfried||12||He joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.|
|Michael O'Donoghue||12||One of the original "Not Ready for Primetime Players" and the show's first head writer, he was dropped as a cast member after a few episodes. He remained with the show as a writer (leaving and returning twice) and occasional on-screen performer.|
|Ann Risley||12||She joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.|
|Charles Rocket||12||He joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul, after having dropped an f-bomb one episode prior.|
|Damon Wayans||12||Hired for season 11 as a featured player, he was fired mid-season for improvising on the air. He returned as a guest to perform stand-up comedy on season 11's last episode and hosted SNL in 1995.|
|Beth Cahill||13||She joined the show during season 17 as an off-and-on featured player. She did not return the following season, as she was fired along with castmate Siobhan Fallon.|
|Denny Dillon||13||She joined the cast for season six and was let go after the finale as part of the cast overhaul. She auditioned for the show's first season, but did not make the cut.|
|Gail Matthius||13||She joined the cast for season six and was let go after the season ended.|
|Paul Shaffer||13||After being the band's pianist for the first five seasons, he joined the cast during season five, but left after the finale. He hosted SNL in 1987, making him the only member of the house band to do so.|
|Janeane Garofalo||14||She joined the cast during season 20, but quit mid-season due to creative differences.|
|Michaela Watkins||15||She joined the show on the first episode after the 2008 United States presidential election, then was let go before the start of season 35.|
|Peter Aykroyd||16||He joined the show midway through season five, but left at the end of the season, after only 16 episodes.|
Youngest cast members
|Performer||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, 5 months||1985–1986|
|Pete Davidson||20 years, 10 months||2014–present|
|Abby Elliott||21 years, 5 months||2008–2012|
|Julia Louis-Dreyfus||21 years, 8 months||1982–1985|
|Sarah Silverman||22 years, 9 months||1993–1994|
|Jay Pharoah||22 years, 11 months||2010–2016|
Oldest cast members
|Performer||Age when joined show||Tenure|
|Leslie Jones||47 years||2014–2019|
|George Coe||46 years, 155 days||1975|
|Michael McKean||46 years, 147 days||1994–1995|
|Darrell Hammond||39 years old||1995–2009|
|Garrett Morris||38 years, 8 months||1975–1980|
|Phil Hartman||38 years, 1 month||1986–1994|
|Mike O'Brien||37 years old||2013–2014|
|Michaela Watkins||36 years, 11 months||2008–2009|
|Don Novello||36 years, 10 months||1979-1980; 1985-1986|
|Colin Quinn||36 years, 9 months||1996–2000|
|Christopher Guest||36 years, 8 months||1984–1985|
After 14 seasons, Hammond left as the show's oldest active cast member, ending his tenure at 53 years during his final season in 2009. Leslie Jones is the oldest female cast member to have left the show, having left at age 51.
President of the United States impressionists
Portraying the sitting President of the United States is considered "about as high [...] an honor that can be bestowed upon a cast member."
Darrell Hammond had the longest tenure portraying a U.S. president, portraying Bill Clinton from 1995–2001, and George W. Bush during 2003. This makes him one of only three cast members to have portrayed two sitting presidents, with Joe Piscopo and Phil Hartman being the others.
There was a sketch featuring Chris Farley, David Spade, Chris Elliott, Adam Sandler, and Tim Meadows auditioning for the role of Clinton. There was also a gag in a 2001 sketch with Tracy Morgan filling in for Will Ferrell as George W. Bush.
The web short Presidential Reunion, released in 2010 and produced by Funny or Die, reunites six SNL cast members who have portrayed sitting presidents. The cast members span all the sitting presidents that have been portrayed on SNL up to 2010 with the exception of Ronald Reagan. Jim Carrey portrayed Ronald Reagan in the web short because two of the actors who had portrayed Reagan had died, and the remaining three had declined to appear in the reunion. Although he was never a cast member for SNL, Carrey did audition to be a cast member for the 1980–81 season and has hosted the show in May 1996 (he also twice hosted the show after the release of the web short).
George H. W. Bush grew fond of Dana Carvey's impersonation of him. In 1992, after losing the election and during the lame duck period, Bush invited Carvey to headline a White House Christmas party. Two years later, on October 22, 1994, when Carvey hosted the show for the first time, Bush appeared in pre-recorded videos in both the cold open, as well as the opening monologue critiquing Carvey's impersonation of him.
Presidents are not usually portrayed on Saturday Night Live after they leave office. Exceptions are limited to the portrayal of president Richard Nixon who left office prior to the launch of the show in 1975. Dan Aykroyd portrayed Nixon from 1975–79, and Darrell Hammond portrayed on episode 12 of season 34.
Impersonation of Donald Trump
Donald Trump, having been a public figure before being president, was portrayed by several cast members over the years. He was portrayed by Phil Hartman (1988–90), Darrell Hammond (1999–11, 2015–16), Jason Sudeikis (2012) and Taran Killam (2015). Alec Baldwin started impersonating Trump as a guest during the 42nd season of SNL in late 2016, when Trump was the Republican nominee during the 2016 United States presidential elections. Baldwin continued with the guest impersonations of Trump after the elections when Trump was President-elect of the United States, as well as after Trump was sworn in as president; he continues to impersonate him currently.
Alec Baldwin's impersonation of Donald Trump earned him an Emmy award in 2017, in spite of his public declaration that he "loathes the role". Traditionally, presidents do not comment on their portrayal by Saturday Night Live. However, Trump has criticized Baldwin's portrayal of him on multiple occasions. In response, Baldwin taunted Trump with statements such as "release your tax returns and I’ll stop".
Trump himself hosted the show on April 3, 2004 and November 7, 2015. Trump's hosting in 2015 occurred while he was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. On that episode, Trump praised Killam’s and Hammond’s portrayal of him.
|1976||Chevy Chase||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actor||Won|
|Gilda Radner||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|1978||Dan Aykroyd||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Jane Curtin||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|1984||Eddie Murphy||Performance in a Variety or Music Program||Nominated|
|2008||Amy Poehler||Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Bill Hader||Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2014||Kate McKinnon||Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Alec Baldwin||Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2018||Aidy Bryant||Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Kenan Thompson||Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
Both cast and hosts
34 former SNL cast members have also hosted the show. The first former cast member to come back and host the show was Chevy Chase in February 1978, and the most recent former cast member to join the list was Adam Sandler, who joined in May 2019. Three cast members are part of the Five-Timers Club: Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, and Bill Murray.
Adam Sandler and Dan Aykroyd tie the record of the longest gap between leaving the show as a cast member and the first time coming back to host the show. Both hosted the show for the first time nine days shy of 24 years from last appearance as cast. However, both made appearances on the show during the gap. On the flip side, Chevy Chase holds the record for having the shortest gap between leaving the show and coming back as guest. Chase first hosted the show only 15½ months after leaving the cast.
While the majority of cast members who also hosted the show were first cast members and then hosted after leaving the show, there have been two cast members who have hosted the show prior to joining the cast. Michael McKean and Billy Crystal are the only cast members to have hosted the show prior to joining the cast. Crystal twice hosted the show during the ninth season prior to joining the cast in the tenth season. McKean hosted the show in the tenth season and joined the cast in the nineteenth season.
Eddie Murphy is the only cast member to have hosted the show while still a cast member.
|First hosted||Last hosted|
|Fred Armisen||1||May 21, 2016|
|Dan Aykroyd||1||May 17, 2003|
|Dana Carvey||4||October 22, 1994||February 5, 2011|
|Chevy Chase||8||February 18, 1978||February 15, 1997|
|Billy Crystal||2||March 17, 1984||May 12, 1984|
|Robert Downey Jr.||1||November 16, 1996|
|Jimmy Fallon||3||December 17, 2011||April 15, 2017|
|Chris Farley||1||October 25, 1997|
|Will Ferrell||4||May 14, 2005||January 27, 2018|
|Tina Fey||6||February 23, 2008||May 19, 2018|
|Bill Hader||2||October 11, 2014||March 17, 2018|
|Phil Hartman||2||March 23, 1996||November 23, 1996|
|Julia Louis-Dreyfus||3||May 13, 2006||April 16, 2016|
|Jon Lovitz||1||November 8, 1997|
|Norm Macdonald||1||October 23, 1999|
|Michael McKean||1||November 3, 1984|
|Seth Meyers||1||October 13, 2018|
|Tracy Morgan||2||March 14, 2009||October 17, 2015|
|Eddie Murphy||2||December 11, 1982||December 15, 1984|
|Bill Murray||5||March 7, 1981||February 20, 1999|
|Mike Myers||1||March 22, 1997|
|Don Novello||2||January 14, 1984||May 12, 1984|
|Amy Poehler||2||September 25, 2010||December 19, 2015|
|Chris Rock||2||November 2, 1996||November 1, 2014|
|Maya Rudolph||1||February 18, 2012|
|Andy Samberg||1||May 17, 2014|
|Adam Sandler||1||May 4, 2019|
|Paul Shaffer||1||January 31, 1987|
|Molly Shannon||1||May 12, 2007|
|Martin Short||3||December 6, 1986||December 15, 2012|
|Sarah Silverman||1||October 4, 2014|
|David Spade||2||November 7, 1998||March 12, 2005|
|Ben Stiller||2||October 24, 1998||October 8, 2011|
|Damon Wayans||1||April 8, 1995|
|Kristen Wiig||2||May 11, 2013||November 19, 2016|
Although SNL is best known as the launchpad for many successful careers, nine former cast members have died before the age of 60. This has given rise to a superstition known as the "Saturday Night Live Curse".
|Cast member||Age||Date of death||Cause of death|
|John Belushi||33||March 5, 1982||Belushi died of a drug overdose from a speedball injection (cocaine and heroin). His death led to the conviction of Cathy Smith for administering the fatal injection.|
|Gilda Radner||42||May 20, 1989||Radner died from ovarian cancer. She was originally scheduled to host the season 13 finale, a first for a former female cast member. However, SNL was canceled due to a Writer's Guild of America (WGA) strike. Radner's health worsened the following year. Moments before the season 14 finale, news broke of Radner's death. In lieu of the opening monologue Steve Martin, visibly shaken, introduced a replay of the "Dancing in the Dark" sketch he and Radner had performed in a 1978 episode; her ex-husband G. E. Smith performed a musical tribute to Radner with the SNL Band.|
|Danitra Vance||40||August 21, 1994||Vance died of breast cancer, which had returned after a remission three years earlier.|
|Michael O'Donoghue||54||November 8, 1994||O'Donoghue died from cerebral hemorrhage after suffering from severe chronic migraine headaches for most of his life. Bill Murray honored O'Donoghue's memory in an appearance on a season 20 episode (hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker with musical guest R.E.M.) by replaying his sketch "Mr. Mike's Least Loved Bedtime Stories: The Soiled Kimono" from 1977.|
|Chris Farley||33||December 18, 1997||Similar to Belushi, Farley died of a drug overdose from a speedball. His death occurred less than two months after he came back to host SNL, which turned out to be his final television appearance.|
|Phil Hartman||49||May 28, 1998||Hartman was murdered by his wife, Brynn, while he slept in his Encino, California, home. Before committing this crime, Brynn had allegedly consumed a combination of cocaine, alcohol, and the antidepressant drug Zoloft, and later killed herself. During SNL's 25th anniversary special in 1999, several of Hartman's peers honored his memory by replaying his sketch "Love is a Dream" from 1988.|
|Charles Rocket||56||October 7, 2005||Rocket was found dead in his Canterbury, Connecticut, backyard. Local police concluded his death a suicide; Rocket had allegedly taken his own life by slashing his throat with a box cutter.|
|Tom Davis||59||July 19, 2012||Davis died from head and neck cancer.|
|Jan Hooks||57||October 9, 2014||Hooks died of throat cancer after a long illness.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Not Ready For Prime Time Players.|
- Alec Baldwin performed the impersonation on a recurring guest basis, and not as a regular member of the cast.
- Graham, Mark. "The Michaela Watkins Club: 21 Other SNL Cast Members Who Only Lasted a Season (or Less) – Vulture". Nymag.com. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
- Specifically, 21 May 1977 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, 19 November 1977 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, 10 December 1977 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, 22 April 1978 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, and 10 October 1981 Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "SNL Presidents". Movieline.com. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (December 2, 2018). "'Wouldn't be prudent': George H.W. Bush's unlikely friendship with Dana Carvey".
- "Bush Cold Open" – via www.nbc.com.
- "George H. W. Bush Supports Dana Carvey Cold Open" – via www.nbc.com.
- Butler, Bethonie (June 7, 2019). "All the times Alec Baldwin has suggested he's done playing Trump on 'Saturday Night Live'". Washington Post.
- Fair, Vanity. "Kate McKinnon's Emmy Speech Abruptly Cut Off as She Thanks Hillary Clinton". Vanity Fair.
- "SNL Archives | Cast | Chevy Chase". SNL Archives. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- "Is There A 'Saturday Night Live' Curse?". Archived from the original on October 20, 2013.
- Caroline Donnelly. "7 Tragic SNL Deaths".
- Robert Rorke. "9 'SNL' stars we lost too soon".
- jtranscripts, Author (October 8, 2018). "SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 04/22/78: Dancing In The Dark". SNL Transcripts Tonight.
- "Michael O'Donoghue Tribute". snltranscripts.jt.org.
- "SNL Transcripts: Miskel Spillman: 12/17/77: Least-Loved Bedtime Tale: The Soiled Kimono". snltranscripts.jt.org.
- Thomas, Mike (October 20, 2015). "The Laughs, Pathos, and Overwhelming Talent of Jan Hooks". Grantland. Retrieved January 8, 2016.