Saturday Night Live cast members
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The following is a list of Saturday Night Live cast members, past and present. The cast members of Saturday Night Live were originally referred to as the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players."
List of all cast members
As of September 2017, the show has featured 148 cast members. The list below includes both repertory and featured players, 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.
Timeline of cast members
Lighter colors denote "featured players" versus repertory cast members.
The following is a list of the cast members with the longest tenures, who have spent at least eight seasons on the show.
|Performer||No. of seasons||Notes|
|Kenan Thompson||15||Thompson holds the records of being the longest-tenured cast member in the show's history having been a cast member since 2003. He is also the first cast member who was born after the show's premiere in 1975.|
|Darrell Hammond||14||Hired after a cast overhaul in 1995, he is 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 left the show in 2009). In 2014, Hammond returned to the show where he replaced Don Pardo as the show's announcer after Pardo's death, and often appears in sketches, reprising old roles such as Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.|
|Seth Meyers||13||He joined the show in 2001, in 2006, he starting anchoring Weekend Update and in 2012, his tenure on Weekend Update reached its seventh season, making him the longest-serving Weekend Update anchor (breaking the records held by Dennis Miller and Tina Fey). He continued to anchor Update until he left the show in February 2014 to take over hosting duties for Late Night.|
|Fred Armisen||11||Armisen joined the show in 2002, and left at the end of season 38 in 2013. He is the show's longest-running Hispanic cast member (beating out the Chilean-born Horatio Sanz). Armisen is also the longest-running cast member of any Asian descend (his paternal grandfather was Korean).|
|Al Franken||Hired as a writer in the beginning of the series, as the show progressed, he and Tom Davis were allowed to perform material on-air sporadically. He left the show in 1980, but returned to the show when Lorne Michaels came back in 1985, regaining his writing and on-air featured status until 1995. Later elected the junior United States Senator from Minnesota.|
|Tim Meadows||10||Meadows joined the show in early 1991. He left the show at the end of the season 25, which ended in 2000, after ten seasons on the show.|
|Kevin Nealon||9||Nealon joined the show as a featured player in 1986 following a major cast overhaul, and was promoted to contract status the following year. He served as Weekend Update anchor for his sixth through eighth seasons, then gave up the position in his ninth. After nine seasons on the show, Nealon left in 1995.|
|Bobby Moynihan||He joined the show at the beginning of season 34 in 2008, and departed after the finale of season 42 in 2017.|
|Maya Rudolph||She joined the show in early 2000 towards the end of season 25. She was absent for most of season 31 following the birth of her child. She left the show in Nov 2007, during the first half of season 33 which coincided with the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.|
|Jason Sudeikis||He joined towards the end of season 30 in May 2005, after having been a writer for the show in the previous season. He left at the end of season 38 in 2013.|
|Will Forte||8||Forte joined the cast in 2002, and left in 2010 after the release of MacGruber.|
|Bill Hader||Hader joined the cast in 2005 left at the end of season 38 in 2013, alongside Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis.|
|Phil Hartman||Hartman was brought onto the cast for the show's twelfth season in 1986 following a major cast overhaul, and left following the finale of the nineteenth season in 1994. He also returned to host the show twice in 1996.|
|Chris Kattan||Kattan moved to New York to work on the show as a featured player in 1996, later becoming a full-time member along with Tracy Morgan and Ana Gasteyer. Most notably, he played alongside Will Ferrell as one of the Butabi Brothers, who also featured in the 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury. He left the show in 2003.|
|Chris Parnell||Parnell joined the cast in 1998, and was fired after the finale of the twenty sixth season in 2001 to make way for new talent. About a year later, he was rehired and remained on the show until he was let go again due to budget cuts in 2006.|
|Amy Poehler||Poehler joined SNL in 2001 along with Seth Meyers. She served as co-anchor of Weekend Update with Tina Fey (2004–06) and with Meyers (2006–08). She left the series in December 2008 to begin production on Parks and Recreation. She was the show's longest-running female cast member with 142 episodes as a credited cast member until 2017, where she was surpassed by former cast member Vanessa Bayer, who had been on SNL for 149 episodes.|
|Horatio Sanz||Sanz joined the cast in 1998, and later briefly served as co-anchor of Weekend Update, in season 31 with Poehler, for two episodes, after Fey gave birth to her first child (making him the show's only Hispanic Weekend Update anchor). He was also let go due to budget cuts in 2006.|
The following is a list of the former cast members who have had the shortest tenures, spending less than a full 20-episode season on the show.
|Performer||No. of episodes||Notes|
|Catherine O'Hara||0||In the early 1980s, when SCTV was in between network deals, she was hired to replace Ann Risley when SNL was being retooled in 1981. However, she quit the show without ever appearing on air, choosing to go back to SCTV when the show signed on with NBC. Her SNL position was then given to fellow Canadian Robin Duke. Despite never appearing on the show as a cast member, she did return to host in 1991.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 movie 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.|
|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.|
|George Coe||8||He was one of the original "Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players", because NBC wanted someone older in the cast. He was credited for only the first three episodes, though he continued to make several uncredited appearances throughout the first season.|
|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", he was dropped after a few episodes. He remained with the show as a writer 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
The following is a list of the youngest people to join the show.
|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
The following is a list of the oldest people to join the show.
|Performer||Age when joined show||Tenure|
|Leslie Jones||47 years old||2014–present|
|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|
|Colin Quinn||36 years, 9 months||1996–2000|
|Christopher Guest||36 years, 8 months||1984–1985|
|Billy Crystal||36 years, 7 months||1984–1985|
|Mikey Day||36 years, 7 months||2016–present|
After 14 seasons, Darrell Hammond left as the show's oldest active cast member, ending his tenure at 53 years old during his final season in 2009.
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." The following is a list of people who have portrayed the sitting President.
Darrell Hammond had the longest tenure portraying a U.S. president, with Bill Clinton from 1995–2001, and George W. Bush during 2003. Hammond also portrayed Richard Nixon in season 34, episode 12.
Michael McKean portrayed Bill Clinton during a brief period after Phil Hartman's departure. There was also 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.
Another noteworthy presidential portrayal was that of Dan Aykroyd as former president Richard Nixon from 1975–79.
Jim Carrey, while never having been an SNL cast member, portrayed Ronald Reagan in Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion of SNL Presidents (which reunited Chase as Ford, Aykroyd as Carter, Carvey as George H. W. Bush, Hammond as Clinton, Ferrell as George W. Bush, and Armisen as Obama), because two of the actors who previously portrayed Reagan had died since and the other three had declined to appear in the reunion. Carrey did, however, audition to be a cast member for the 1980–81 season; he hosted the show in May 1996, January 2011, and October 2014.
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).
The Primetime Emmy Awards are presented by the American Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The following list contains performers who were nominated, and possibly won, an Emmy for their work while in the cast.
|1976||Chevy Chase||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actor||Won|
|1977||Gilda Radner||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|1978||Dan Aykroyd||Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Supporting Actror||Nominated|
|1978||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|
|2012||Bill Hader||Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2014||Kate McKinnon||Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
Both cast and hosts
As of May 2016, there are 33 SNL hosts who, at one point in their careers, were either a repertory or featured member of the SNL cast. The following performers have hosted SNL either before, during, or after their tenure as a member of the SNL cast.
|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||3||May 14, 2005||May 12, 2012|
|Tina Fey||5||February 23, 2008||December 19, 2015|
|Bill Hader||1||October 11, 2014|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Belushi, JohnJohn 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.|
|Radner, GildaGilda 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. Steve Martin delivered his visibly shaken monologue by replaying the sketch "Dancing in the Dark" that he and Radner had performed on an episode he hosted in 1978, and a musical tribute to Radner performed by her ex-husband, G. E. Smith, and the SNL Band.|
|Vance, DanitraDanitra Vance||40||August 21, 1994||Vance died from breast cancer; although it had been put in 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 the 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.|
|Farley, ChrisChris Farley||33||December 18, 1997||Similar to Belushi, Farley died of a drug overdose from a speedball. His death occurred nearly two months after he came back to host SNL, which turned out to be his final television appearance.|
|Hartman, PhilPhil Hartman||49||May 28, 1998||Hartman was murdered by his wife Brynn Omdahl while he slept in his Encino, California home. Before committing the act, 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.|
|Rocket, CharlesCharles 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.|
|Davis, TomTom Davis||59||July 19, 2012||Davis died from head and neck cancer.|
|Hooks, JanJan Hooks||57||October 9, 2014||Hooks died after a long illness; she was said to have suffered from cancer.|
|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 member of the cast.
- "'SNL' pink slips". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2006.
- Graham, Mark. "The Michaela Watkins Club: 21 Other SNL Cast Members Who Only Lasted a Season (or Less) – Vulture". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
- Specifically, 21 May 1977, 19 Nov 1977, 10 Dec 1977, 22 Apr 1978, and 10 Oct 1981.
- "SNL Presidents". Movieline.com. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
- Fair, Vanity. "Kate McKinnon's Emmy Speech Abruptly Cut Off as She Thanks Hillary Clinton". Vanity Fair.
- "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".
- "Saturday Night Live Transcripts, 77r: Steve Martin / The Blues Brothers, Dancing in the Dark".
- "Michael O'Donoghue Tribute". snltranscripts.jt.org.
- "SNL Transcripts: Miskel Spillman: 12/17/77: Least-Loved Bedtime Tale: The Soiled Kimono". snltranscripts.jt.org.