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[edit]

As of March 2014, the show has featured 139 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. Also noted on the chart is whether the cast member ever served as an episode's 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.

(d) denotes deceased

PerformerYears activeNo. of seasonsRepertory playerFeatured player only"Weekend Update" anchorHostedBest of...Writer
Fred Armisen2002201311Green tickY
Dan Aykroyd197519794Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Peter Aykroyd1979–19801Green tickYGreen tickY
Morwenna Banks19951Green tickY
Vanessa Bayer2010present4Green tickY
Jim Belushi198319852Green tickYGreen tickY
John Belushi (d)197519794Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Beck Bennett2013present1Green tickY
Jim Breuer199519983Green tickY
Paul Brittain201020122Green tickY
A. Whitney Brown198519915Green tickYGreen tickY
Aidy Bryant2012present2Green tickY
Beth Cahill1991–19921Green tickY
Dana Carvey198619937Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Chevy Chase197519762Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Ellen Cleghorne199119954Green tickY
George Coe19751Green tickY
Billy Crystal1984–19851Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Jane Curtin197519805Green tickYGreen tickY
Joan Cusack1985–19861Green tickY
Tom Davis (d)197719803Green tickYGreen tickY
Denny Dillon1980–19811Green tickY
Jim Downey1979–19801Green tickYGreen tickY
Robert Downey, Jr.1985–19861Green tickYGreen tickY
Brian Doyle-Murray1979–1980
2Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Rachel Dratch199920067Green tickY
Robin Duke198119844Green tickYGreen tickY
Nora Dunn198519905Green tickY
Christine Ebersole1981–19821Green tickYGreen tickY
Dean Edwards200120032Green tickY
Abby Elliott200820124Green tickY
Chris Elliott1994–19951Green tickY
Jimmy Fallon199820046Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Siobhan Fallon1991–19921Green tickY
Chris Farley (d)199019955Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Will Ferrell199520027Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Tina Fey199720069Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Will Forte200220108Green tickY
Al Franken19771980
12Green tickYGreen tickY
Janeane Garofalo1994–19951Green tickY
Ana Gasteyer199620026Green tickY
Gilbert Gottfried1980–19811Green tickY
Mary Gross198119854Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Christopher Guest1984–19851Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Bill Hader200520138Green tickY
Anthony Michael Hall1985–19861Green tickY
Brad Hall198219842Green tickYGreen tickY
Rich Hall1984–19851Green tickYGreen tickY
Darrell Hammond1995200914Green tickYGreen tickY
Phil Hartman (d)198619948Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Jan Hooks198619915Green tickY
Yvonne Hudson1980–19811Green tickY
Melanie Hutsell199119943Green tickY
Victoria Jackson198619926Green tickY
Colin Jost2014present1Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Chris Kattan199620038Green tickYGreen tickY
Tim Kazurinsky198119844Green tickYGreen tickY
Laura Kightlinger1994–19951Green tickYGreen tickY
Taran Killam2010present4Green tickY
David Koechner1995–19961Green tickY
Gary Kroeger198219853Green tickY
Matthew Laurance1980–19811Green tickY
Julia Louis-Dreyfus198219853Green tickYGreen tickY
Jon Lovitz198519905Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Norm Macdonald199319985Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Gail Matthius1980–19811Green tickYGreen tickY
Michael McKean199419952Green tickYGreen tickY
Mark McKinney199519973Green tickY
Kate McKinnon2012present3Green tickY
Tim Meadows1991200010Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Laurie Metcalf19811Green tickY
Seth Meyers2001201413Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
John Milhiser2013present1Green tickY
Dennis Miller198519916Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Jerry Minor2000–20011Green tickYGreen tickY
Finesse Mitchell200320063Green tickY
Kyle Mooney2013present1Green tickY
Jay Mohr199319952Green tickYGreen tickY
Tracy Morgan199620037Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Garrett Morris197519805Green tickYGreen tickY
Bobby Moynihan2008present6Green tickY
Eddie Murphy198019844Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Bill Murray197719804Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Mike Myers198919957Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Kevin Nealon198619959Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Laraine Newman197519805Green tickY
Don Novello1979–1980
2Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Mike O'Brien2013present1Green tickYGreen tickY
Michael O'Donoghue (d)19751Green tickYGreen tickY
Cheri Oteri199520005Green tickYGreen tickY
Chris Parnell19982001
8Green tickY
Nasim Pedrad2009present5Green tickY
Jay Pharoah2010present4Green tickY
Joe Piscopo198019844Green tickYGreen tickY
Amy Poehler200120088Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Emily Prager19811Green tickY
Randy Quaid1985–19861Green tickY
Colin Quinn199520005Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Gilda Radner (d)197519805Green tickYGreen tickY
Jeff Richards200120043Green tickY
Rob Riggle2004–20051Green tickY
Ann Risley1980–19811Green tickY
Chris Rock199019933Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Charles Rocket (d)1980–19811Green tickYGreen tickY
Tim Robinson2012–20131Green tickYGreen tickY
Tony Rosato1981–19821Green tickYGreen tickY
Maya Rudolph200020078Green tickYGreen tickY
Andy Samberg200520127Green tickYGreen tickY
Adam Sandler199119955Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Horatio Sanz199820068Green tickYGreen tickY
Tom Schiller1979–19801Green tickYGreen tickY
Rob Schneider199019944Green tickYGreen tickY
Paul Shaffer1979–19801Green tickYGreen tickY
Molly Shannon199520017Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Harry Shearer1979–1980
2Green tickYGreen tickY
Martin Short1984–19851Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Sarah Silverman1993–19941Green tickYGreen tickY
Jenny Slate2009–20101Green tickY
Robert Smigel199119932Green tickYGreen tickY
David Spade199019966Green tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickY
Pamela Stephenson1984–19851Green tickY
Ben Stiller19891Green tickYGreen tickY
Cecily Strong2012present2Green tickYGreen tickY
Jason Sudeikis200520139Green tickYGreen tickY
Julia Sweeney199019944Green tickY
Terry Sweeney1985–19861Green tickYGreen tickY
Kenan Thompson2003present11Green tickY
Danitra Vance (d)1985–19861Green tickY
Dan Vitale1985–19861Green tickY
Nancy Walls1995–19961Green tickY
Michaela Watkins2008–20091Green tickY
Damon Wayans1985–19861Green tickYGreen tickY
Patrick Weathers1980–19811Green tickY
Brooks Wheelan2013present1Green tickY
Noël Wells2013present1Green tickY
Kristen Wiig200520127Green tickYGreen tickY
Casey Wilson200820092Green tickY
Fred Wolf199519962Green tickYGreen tickY
Sasheer Zamata2014present1Green tickY
Alan Zweibel1979–19801Green tickYGreen tickY

Timeline of cast members[edit]

Lighter colors denote "featured players" versus repertory cast members.

Family connections[edit]

Some cast members are related to former staff of the show. One example is Jim Belushi, who is the younger brother of cast member John Belushi. Before that, Bill Murray's older brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, was a writer and cast member. When Dan Aykroyd left the show in 1979, he was replaced by a series of short-lived featured players, one of whom was his brother Peter Aykroyd.[citation needed] Short-lived featured player Matthew Laurance is the identical twin brother of 1977–1980 SNL associate director and bit player Mitchell Laurance.[citation needed] Long-time writer and sometime performer Jim Downey is former cast member Robert Downey, Jr.'s uncle. Former SNL cast member Abby Elliott is the daughter of former cast member Chris Elliott (and granddaughter of Bob Elliott, who appeared on SNL as a guest performer on the 1978 Christmas episode hosted by Elliott Gould). Former featured player Paul Brittain is the nephew to Bob Newhart, who hosted the show in the 70s. Cast member Jason Sudeikis is the nephew of semi-frequent 90s host George Wendt, who portrayed Norm on the television show, Cheers.

Other staff are related by marriage. For instance, cast member Gilda Radner was briefly married to G. E. Smith, who later became the show's bandleader. Michael O'Donoghue was married to SNL band pianist Cheryl Hardwick. Cast members Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall were married in 1987. Former cast member and head writer Tina Fey is married to former show composer Jeff Richmond.

Notable tenures[edit]

The following is a list of the cast members with the longest tenures, who have spent at least eight seasons on the show.

PerformerNo. of seasonsNotes
Darrell Hammond14Hammond was hired after a cast overhaul in 1995. He is the last cast member hired in the 1990s to leave the show, the oldest cast member to leave the show (53 when he left the show), and the longest-active cast member, spending 14 seasons on the show (1995–2009).
Seth Meyers13Meyers joined the show in 2001 and was the head writer and anchor of Weekend Update. In 2013, his tenure on Weekend Update reached its eighth year, making him the longest-serving Weekend Update anchor and breaking the records once held by Dennis Miller and Tina Fey. He left the show in 2014 to take over hosting duties for Late Night.
Al Franken12Franken was hired as a writer in the beginning of the series in 1975. 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 season 20 in 1995.
Fred Armisen11Armisen joined the show in 2002. He left the show in 2013. He is the show's longest-running Hispanic cast member (beating out the Chilean-born Horatio Sanz), as well as the longest-running Asian cast member (part Japanese). He left the show at the end of season 38.
Kenan Thompson11Thompson joined the show in 2003 and is on his eleventh season. He holds the records of longest-running cast member who was born after SNL premiered in 1975 and the first cast member born after 1975 to join the show's cast. Thompson is also the longest-active African-American cast member.
Tim Meadows10Meadows joined the show in early 1991. He left the show at the end of the season 25, after ten seasons on the show. He held the record for the longest-active cast member until 2005 (when Darrell Hammond broke the record).
Jason Sudeikis9Sudeikis joined the cast in 2005, towards the end of season 30, after having been a writer for the show since 2003. He left the show in 2013.
Kevin Nealon9Nealon joined the show in 1986. He served as anchor of Weekend Update for his sixth, seventh and eighth seasons, and gave up his position as anchor in his ninth season. Nealon quit the show after the last episode of season 20 in 1995.
Phil Hartman8Hartman, like Nealon, joined the show in 1986. He left in 1994 and hosted the show twice in 1996.
Chris Parnell8Parnell was hired in 1998 and was fired 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 for the second time in 2006 due to budget cuts.[1]
Horatio Sanz8Like Parnell, Sanz joined the show in 1998 and was let go due to budget cuts in 2006.[1] He served as co-anchor of Weekend Update in season 31 with Poehler for a few episodes, after Fey gave birth to her first child, making him the show's only Hispanic Weekend Update anchor. He was the longest-running Hispanic cast member until Fred Armisen broke his record.
Maya Rudolph8Rudolph joined the show in early 2000. She was absent for most of season 31 following the birth of her child. She did not return to the show in 2008 after the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike ended.
Amy Poehler8Like Seth Meyers, Poehler joined the show in 2001. She served as co-anchor of Weekend Update with Tina Fey in 2004–06 and with Meyers in 2006–08. She left the series in 2008 to begin production on Parks and Recreation.
Will Forte8Forte joined the show, like Armisen, in 2002. He left the series after the release of MacGruber in 2010.
Bill Hader8Hader joined the show in 2005. He left the show in 2013.

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.[2]

PerformerNo. of episodesNotes
Catherine O'Hara0In the early 1980s when SCTV was in between network deals, O'Hara 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.
Emily Prager1Prager was hired by Dick Ebersol to be a featured player on the show. She appeared in a few sketches at dress rehearsal in what would be the final episode of the 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.[3]
Laurie Metcalf1Like Prager, Metcalf was hired as part of Dick Ebersol's temporary season six cast following the termination of Jean Doumanian. Unlike Prager, she 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 Vitale3Was hired as an on-and-off featured player for the season 11, he was only credited with appearing in three episodes throughout the season.
Morwenna Banks4Was 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 Stiller4Before becoming a cast member, Stiller 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. Stiller was hired during season 14, but quit after four episodes due to creative differences. Despite this, he returned to host in 1998 and 2011.
Tom Schiller7Schiller was 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 Weathers7Weathers was hired as a featured cast member for season six, but was fired along with many of Doumanian's cast.
George Coe8Coe 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 Hudson8Hudson 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 Downey9Downey was hired as one of many writers-turned-feature players in season five. Even though he left the cast after the season, Downey returned to the show as a writer in the mid-1980s and has remained with it.
Matthew Laurance10Laurance was hired as a feature player during the sixth season and, like many of the cast, was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.
Alan Zweibel11Zweibel was a writer for the show before joining the cast during season 5, and left after the season finale.
Gilbert Gottfried12Gottfried joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.
Michael O'Donoghue12O'Donoghue was one of the original "Not Ready for Primetime Players," but was dropped after a few episodes. He remained with the show as a writer and occasional on-screen performer.
Ann Risley12Risley joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul.
Charles Rocket12Rocket joined the cast for season six and was fired as part of the mid-season overhaul after dropping an f-bomb on live television.
Damon Wayans12Wayans was hired for season 11 as a featured player. He was fired mid-season for improvising on the air. Wayans returned as a guest to perform stand-up comedy on season 11's last episode and hosted SNL in 1995.
Beth Cahill13Cahill 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 cast mate Siobhan Fallon.
Denny Dillon13Dillon joined the cast for season six and was let go after the final episode of the season as part of the cast overhaul. She auditioned for the show's first season, but did not make the cut.
Gail Matthius13Matthius joined the cast for season six and was let go after the season ended.
Paul Shaffer13Shaffer joined the cast during season five after being a part of the show's house band; he left after the season's end. He hosted SNL in 1987, making him the only member of the house band to do so.
Janeane Garofalo14Garofalo joined the cast during season 20, but quit mid-season due to creative differences.
Michaela Watkins15Watkins 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 Aykroyd16Aykroyd joined the show midway through season seven, but left at the end of the season, after only 16 episodes.

Youngest cast members[edit]

The following is a list of the youngest people to join the show

PerformerAge when joined showTenure
Anthony Michael Hall17 years old1985–1986
Eddie Murphy19 years old1980–1984
Robert Downey, Jr.20 years old1985–1986
Abby Elliott21 years, 5 months2008–2012
Julia Louis-Dreyfus21 years, 8 months1982–1985
Sarah Silverman22 years, 9 months1993–1994
Jay Pharoah22 years, 11 months2010–present

Oldest cast members[edit]

The following is a list of the oldest people to join the show.

PerformerAge when joined showTenure
George Coe46 years, 155 days1975
Michael McKean46 years, 147 days1994–1995
Darrell Hammond39 years old1995–2009
Garrett Morris38 years, 8 months1975–1980
Phil Hartman38 years, 1 month1986–1994
Mike O'Brien37 years old2013–present
Michaela Watkins36 years, 11 months2008–2009
Christopher Guest36 years, 8 months1984–1985
Billy Crystal36 years, 7 months1984–1985
Colin Quinn36 years, 4 months1995–2000

Darrell Hammond is currently the oldest cast member who left at 53 years old during his final season on the show.

Both cast and hosts[edit]

As of May 2013, there have been 29 performers who have hosted SNL 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.

HostNumber of
First hostedLast hosted
Dan Aykroyd1May 17, 2003
Dana Carvey4October 22, 1994February 5, 2011
Chevy Chase8[4]February 18, 1978February 15, 1997
Billy Crystal2March 17, 1984May 12, 1984
Robert Downey, Jr.1November 16, 1996
Jimmy Fallon2December 17, 2011December 21, 2013
Chris Farley1October 25, 1997
Will Ferrell3May 14, 2005May 12, 2012
Tina Fey4February 23, 2008September 28, 2013
Phil Hartman2March 23, 1996November 23, 1996
Julia Louis-Dreyfus2May 13, 2006March 17, 2007
Jon Lovitz1November 8, 1997
Norm Macdonald1October 23, 1999
Michael McKean1November 3, 1984
Tracy Morgan1March 14, 2009
Eddie Murphy2December 11, 1982December 15, 1984
Bill Murray5March 7, 1981February 20, 1999
Mike Myers1March 22, 1997
Don Novello2January 14, 1984May 12, 1984
Amy Poehler1September 25, 2010
Chris Rock1November 2, 1996
Maya Rudolph1February 18, 2012
Paul Shaffer1January 31, 1987
Molly Shannon1May 12, 2007
Martin Short3December 6, 1986December 15, 2012
David Spade2November 7, 1998March 12, 2005
Ben Stiller2October 24, 1998October 8, 2011
Damon Wayans1April 8, 1995
Kristen Wiig1May 11, 2013

President of the United States impressionists[edit]

Impersonating the incumbent President of the United States is considered "about as high of an honor that can be bestowed upon a cast member."[5] The following is a list of people who have impersonated the sitting President.

Darrell Hammond had the longest tenure as a President impersonator, with Bill Clinton from 1995–2001 and time as George W. Bush during 2003. Hammond also impersonated Ronald Regan in an 2009 episode hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

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.

Deceased cast members[edit]

Although SNL is best known as the launchpad for many successful careers, eight former cast members have died prematurely. This has given rise to a superstition known as the "Saturday Night Live Curse".[6][7][8]

Two cast members have died of a drug overdose at the age of 33 in parallel situations. John Belushi and Chris Farley overdosed from a "speedball," an injection of cocaine and heroin. Belushi's death led to the conviction of Cathy Smith for administering the fatal injection. Nearly four years before Belushi's death, SNL aired a short sketch titled Don't Look Back in Anger featuring an elderly Belushi as the last living of the "not ready for prime time" cast members. Farley's death occurred nearly two months after he came back to host SNL, which turned out to be his final television appearance.

Yep, they all thought I'd be the first to go. I was one of those live-fast, die-young, leave-a-good-looking-corpse types, you know?

—John Belushi

Original cast member Gilda Radner died on May 20, 1989 from ovarian cancer. Radner was originally scheduled to host the season 13 finale, a first for a former female cast member. However, the show was canceled due to a Writer's Guild of America strike. Radner's health worsened the following year. Hours before the season 14 finale, news came of Radner's death. Steve Martin delivered his visibly shaken monologue, followed by the sketch called "Dancing in the Dark" that he and Radner had performed on an episode he hosted in 1978,[9] and a musical tribute to Radner performed by her ex- husband, G. E. Smith, and the SNL Band.

Season 11 cast member Danitra Vance died on August 21, 1994, three years after her breast cancer was put in remission.

Original cast member and writer Michael O'Donoghue died on November 8, 1994 of a 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[10] (hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker with musical guest R.E.M.) by replaying O'Donoghue's sketch, "Mr. Mike's Least Loved Bedtime Stories: The Soiled Kimono" from December 1977.[11]

Long-time performer Phil Hartman was shot to death on May 28, 1998 by his wife Brynn 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.

Doumanian-era performer Charles Rocket was found dead on October 7, 2005 in his Canterbury, Connecticut backyard. Local police concluded that his death was a suicide. Rocket had allegedly taken his own life by slashing his throat with a box cutter.

Tom Davis, long-time show writer and featured player in the first five years, died on July 19, 2012, after suffering throat and neck cancer in the final three years of his life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "'SNL' pink slips". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  2. ^ Graham, Mark. "The Michaela Watkins Club: 21 Other SNL Cast Members Who Only Lasted a Season (or Less) – Vulture". Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  3. ^ Specifically, 21 May 1977, 19 Nov 1977, 10 Dec 1977, 22 Apr 1978, and 10 Oct 1981.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "SNL Presidents". Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  6. ^ "Saturday Night Live Curse?". Who2?. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  7. ^ "The SNL Curse". Archived from the original on July 2, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  8. ^ Worek, Steven. "Live From Up There". Archived from the original on July 6, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Saturday Night Live Transcripts, 77r: Steve Martin / The Blues Brothers, Dancing in the Dark". 
  10. ^
  11. ^