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Saturday Night Live (abbreviated as SNL) is a late-night sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels. It premiered on NBC, a terrestrial television network, on October 11, 1975 under the title NBC's Saturday Night. The show often satirizes contemporary American popular culture and politics. Saturday Night Live features a two-tiered cast: the repertory members, also known as the "Not Ready for Prime-Time Players", and newer cast members, known as "Featured Players."
A typical episode of SNL will feature a single host, who delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast, and a single musical guest, who will perform two or occasionally three musical numbers. George Carlin was first to host the show; Candice Bergen was the first female to host the show a few weeks later and again hosted only six weeks after that. Guests that have hosted five or more times are sometimes referred to as belonging to the Five-Timers Club, a term that originated on a sketch performed on Tom Hanks' fifth episode. Every so often a host or musical guest will fill both roles, such as was the case with Britney Spears in 2000 and 2002 and, most recently, Drake on January 18, 2014. With the exception of season seven and several other rare cases, the show has begun with a cold open that ends with someone breaking character and proclaiming "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!". The show frequently features a celebrity cameo.
Saturday Night Live has featured a wide array of guests who have served as hosts and musical guests. George Carlin served as the show's first host in October 1975, three episodes later, Candice Bergen became the first female host and the first to host more than once. As of September 24, 2011, actor Alec Baldwin holds the record for most times hosting, having performed the duty on sixteen different occasions since 1990; Baldwin took the record from actor Steve Martin who had hosted fifteen times since 1976.
Several former cast members have returned to take on hosting duties. Original cast member Chevy Chase has hosted the most times, eight in total before being banned from hosting the show (for inappropriate and offensive behind-the-scenes comments and behavior) after his last appearance on February 15, 1997. Bill Murray follows behind, having hosted four times by February 20, 1999. On December 11, 1982, Eddie Murphy became the only person to host while still a member of the cast, filling the role at the last minute when the scheduled host (his 48 Hours co-star Nick Nolte) became ill.
Musical guests can be solo acts or a bands, who perform two to three musical numbers. Occasionally, the musical guest has also simultaneously served as the host. Paul Simon was the first example, hosting and performing on the second episode on October 18, 1975. As of May 19, 2012, Dave Grohl is the most frequent musical guest, performing on eleven shows since 1992.
In 1982, at age 7, Drew Barrymore became the youngest person to host the show. Actress Betty White is the oldest person to host, having done so at 88 years of age on May 8, 2010.  Concerned about White's age and possible fatigue, her episode had Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler on stand by to replace her; White went on to appear in every sketch. In 2000, Singer Britney Spears became the youngest person to both host and simultaneously serve as the show's musical guest, at 18 years and 163 days old.
The Five-Timers Club is the group of performers who have hosted SNL at least five times. The club was first mentioned on the show on December 8, 1990.
Believe it or not, this is the fifth Saturday Night Live I have been lucky enough to host. Now, the first time you do the show, you can't believe you're here. You just can't believe it. Your head buzzes with excitement. The second time you do the show, it means you were funny enough to be asked back - and you're pushing a movie. The third time you do the show, the second time didn't go so well, and you have something to prove to yourself. The fourth time you do the show, you're just blatantly pushing a movie. But the fifth time you do the show is the most special time of all, because you get this [holds up a card] ...a membership card in the Five-Timers Club. Come with me... [walks off the stage] I'm gonna give you a chance to look in on one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.
After Hanks gave his monologue, the show segued to a sketch featuring Hanks, Steve Martin, Elliott Gould and Paul Simon in the richly appointed club. Martin and Gould were both five-time hosts; Simon had only appeared as a host of SNL three times, but counting his multiple appearances as a musical guest, was said to be a member of the club. Conan O'Brien, who at that time was a writer on SNL and not a well-known public figure, was the doorman of the Five-Timers Club in the original skit. Jon Lovitz cameos as a waiter; Ralph Nader appears as a former host trying to get into the Club.
The Five-Timers Club has been mentioned again after the mark was reached by hosts Danny DeVito (in 1993), Alec Baldwin (1994), John Goodman (1994), Christopher Walken (2001), Drew Barrymore (2007), Justin Timberlake (2013) and Ben Affleck (2013). Justin Timberlake's monologue from March 9, 2013 featured the reappearance of the Club. The sketch featured Paul Simon, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, and Candice Bergen. Cast members Dan Aykroyd (1975–1979) and Martin Short (1984–1985) also appeared as a bartender and a waiter, respectively. Future cast member Mike O'Brien made an appearance as the doorman. A similar sketch was part of Alec Baldwin's November 11, 2006 show. The sketch, featuring Baldwin and Steve Martin, took place in the "Platinum Lounge," which allowed only 12-time hosts, and forbade working cast members from entry. Short appeared as a waiter. Steve Martin was the fastest to join the Five-Timers club, hosting five times in only 546 days. Buck Henry is the only other member to join in less than four years, hosting five times in 671 days.
|First appearance||Fifth appearance||Time to reach club||Most recent appearance|
|Affleck, BenBen Affleck||5||February 19, 2000||May 18, 2013||13 years, 88 days||May 18, 2013|
|Baldwin, AlecAlec Baldwin||16||April 21, 1990||December 10, 1994||4 years, 233 days||September 24, 2011|
|Barrymore, DrewDrew Barrymore||6||November 20, 1982||February 3, 2007||24 years, 75 days||October 10, 2009|
|Bergen, CandiceCandice Bergen||5||November 8, 1975||May 19, 1990||14 years, 192 days||May 19, 1990|
|Chase, ChevyChevy Chase||8||February 18, 1978||December 6, 1986||8 years, 291 days||February 15, 1997|
|DeVito, DannyDanny DeVito||6||May 15, 1982||January 9, 1993||10 years, 239 days||December 10, 1999|
|Goodman, JohnJohn Goodman||13||December 2, 1989||May 7, 1994||4 years, 156 days||December 14, 2013|
|Gould, ElliottElliott Gould||6||January 10, 1976||February 16, 1980||4 years, 37 days||November 15, 1980|
|Hanks, TomTom Hanks||8||December 14, 1985||December 8, 1990||4 years, 359 days||May 6, 2006|
|Henry, BuckBuck Henry||10||January 17, 1976||November 19, 1977||1 year, 306 days||May 24, 1980|
|Martin, SteveSteve Martin||15||October 23, 1976||April 22, 1978||1 year, 181 days||January 31, 2009|
|Murray, BillBill Murray||5||March 7, 1981||February 20, 1999||17 years, 350 days||February 20, 1999|
|Simon, PaulPaul Simon||4[a][b]||October 18, 1975||May 10, 1986||10 years, 204 days||May 14, 2011|
|Timberlake, JustinJustin Timberlake||5[c]||October 11, 2003||March 9, 2013||9 years, 149 days||December 21, 2013|
|Walken, ChristopherChristopher Walken||7||January 20, 1990||May 19, 2001||11 years, 119 days||April 5, 2008|
a Simon has only guest-hosted four times but has been included in both Five-Timers Club sketches. His fifth appearance on the show was as a musical guest appearance.
b Out of his four appearances as host, Simon acted as both host and musical guest during one episode.
c Out of his five appearances as host, Timberlake acted as both host and musical guest during three episodes. During his most recent appearance on December 21, 2013, he was the musical guest while Jimmy Fallon hosted.
The Five-Timers Club has been referenced in other media since its creation in 1990. The entertainment channel E! placed it #22 on its list of SNL top moments. The club was also referenced by Fox Sports as the basis behind the creation of the "Favre Backup Club" which seeks to be the "NFL's equivalent" to the Five-Timers Club.