Top 10 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time

Script written by Tiffany Ezuma. This late-night sketch comedy show has ebbed and flowed in its popularity; but many of its performers have proved timeless. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 “Saturday Night Live” cast members. For this list, we’re looking at the best and most well rounded performers from the show’s history, and are ranking them solely on the work they did on the Studio 8H stage. Special thanks to our users Bongo460, RealWilliamGonzalez, DanielDassow, Philip Folta, Stephen Johnson, Oliver Brock and ChiefNikoGaming for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Tiffany Ezuma.

Top 10 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time


This late-night sketch comedy show has ebbed and flowed in its popularity; but many of its performers have proved timeless. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 “Saturday Night Live” cast members.

For this list, we’re looking at the best and most well rounded performers from the show’s history, and are ranking them solely on the work they did on the Studio 8H stage.

#10: John Belushi
1975 - 1979

Belushi brought a raw energy to SNL that’s hard to come by. With every sketch he did, he was able to grab the audience’s attention and make them laugh hysterically with his brazen, animated charm and often crude humor. Even though he was only on the show for a short time, Belushi produced many memorable character and sketches, including the Olympia Café, Samurai Futaba, and the Blues Brothers with his friend Dan Aykroyd. His charisma and brand of slapstick hasn’t yet been re-created.

#9: Gilda Radner
1975 - 1980

Radner was the first performer cast as one of Lorne Michaels’ inaugural group of “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.” And it’s easy to see why Michaels would want her – she was genuinely funny and brought her characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna to life. Winning an Emmy Award for her work on the show, Radner helped pioneer the celebrity impressions that have made SNL what it is today by lampooning legends like Patti Smith, Lucille Ball and Barbara Walters. Or should we say, “Baba Wawa”?

#8: Dana Carvey
1986 - 1993

As a performer, Carvey could turn on the wow-factor, and was instrumental in renewing SNL’s status as “must-see TV.” When the show was struggling, he was a breath of fresh air, with characters like Garth of “Wayne’s World” fame, Hans and Franz, and the Church Lady. But Dana was not a one-trick pony: he did spot-on impressions of just about anyone, including both George Bush, Sr. and Ross Perot – which resulted in an interesting three-way debate with Phil Hartman as Clinton and the expansion of SNL’s political satire.

#7: Dan Aykroyd
1975 - 1979

Aykroyd was a Renaissance man on SNL’s first four seasons. Intense, intelligent and irreverent, he was the youngest cast member of his era, but also the most well rounded – he could write perfect characters and perform them flawlessly, in addition to inventing bizarre but hilarious standalone sketches. Among his many contributions to the show were the Blues Brothers with his friend Belushi, the Coneheads and two Wild and Crazy Guys, as well as his time at the Weekend Update Desk. But who can forget his Julia Child?

#6: Phil Hartman
1986 - 1994

Known as “The Glue,” Hartman was the kinda performer that always did more than was expected of him. With the smoothest voice and a cache of impressions in his repertoire, he seemed more mature than his contemporaries – however, he was often undervalued for his contributions. Even so, it’s easy to see that his support often saved a sketch. In addition to excelling in his own skits and portraying more than 70 characters over eight-seasons, he always helped his fellow cast mates. And his Bill Clinton was spot-on.

#5: Kristen Wiig
2005 - 2012

Proving herself as one of the most vital female performers in the show’s history, Wiig was a versatile, try-anything-once kinda gal. Sometimes glamorous, sometimes over-the-top and often awkward, roles like the Female A-Hole and Dooneese showed her range. She had a knack for annoying, absurd characters like Penelope, Gilly and the Target Lady; but she was also capable of celebrity impressions too numerous to name. It was easy to see that her cast mates enjoyed working with her, as evidenced by recurring skits like Garth and Kat.

#4: Mike Myers
1989 - 1995

He was the kind of guy viewers just wanted to hang out with. Whether he was portraying metal head Wayne Campbell alongside Dana Carvey’s Garth, or the “Coffee Talk” lady Linda Richman or Simon, the little boy who draws in the tub, Myers exuded a crazy, fun attitude. But some of his best work came when he played against his goofy nature as Dieter Sprocket, the no-nonsense talk show host from West Germany. Creative, adaptable, and skilled at accents, Myers was a definite asset to the early-‘90s’ SNL cast.

#3: Eddie Murphy
1980 - 1984

After joining the show after the original cast members moved on to greener pastures, Murphy had big shoes to fill – and he did it with a smile on his face, a spring in his step and a load of impressions in his arsenal. His antics brought viewers sketches like Gumby, Mister Robinson, and Buckwheat; a character so popular, Murphy requested he be killed so he could play other roles. The lone bright spot in the show’s dark ages, Murphy reinvigorated SNL by cultivating his brand of wacky, high-energy humor.

#2: Chris Farley
1990 - 1995

With Farley, viewers never knew what to expect. Sure, his behavior was often erratic because of his drug use; but there was something remarkably funny, and – dare we say – touching about his character sketches. Trying to bring the same quality of work to the screen as his idol John Belushi, Farley was willing to go anywhere and do anything for a laugh. Whether he was caricaturing himself as a horrible interviewer on his fictitious talk show, playing an aspiring Chippendale’s dancer, or a sassy lunch lady, Farley was one-of-a-kind.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Adam Sandler 1991 - 1995
- Jason Sudeikis 2005 - 2013
- Darrell Hammond 1995 - 2009
- Bill Murray 1977 - 1980
- Bill Hader 2005 - 2013

#1: Will Ferrell
1995 - 2002

From day-1, it was clear Will was there to dominate. After a slew of popular cast members left or were fired in the early-‘90s, Ferrell arrived with many other new faces to shake things up. And shake them up he did: his versatile, average-Joe looks and attitude allowed him to play any character they threw at him, from George “Dubya” Bush to Alex Trebek to Steve Butabi. Plus, his all-or-nothing approach to performing earned him many fans, and solidified his place as the most cowbell-worthy SNL star ever.

Do you agree with our list? Which SNL performer was your favorite? For more comedic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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