Ranked: Every Saturday Night Live Cast Member Ever, From Worst to Best

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Ranked: Every Saturday Night Live Cast Member Ever, From Worst to Best
A highly scientific survey that will surely lead to no disagreements.


We are gathered here today to rank the — what is it? Jesus! — ninety-two past and present cast members of Saturday Night Live , in ascending order of their contribution to the show. This is no way to make friends. But while no one will be completely happy with the results, let's at least stress one of the ground rules: for the purpose of this experiment, these performers are being graded solely on the work they did on SNL itself. If we were talking about their entire careers, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Rock, and Joan Cusack would be clustered at the top. As it is, they're not even serious contenders for the top twenty.

92. VICTORIA JACKSON (1986-1992):
Jackson's cute-ditsy-idiot act got pretty thin when dragged out over the course of five seasons. Plus, it turns out it wasn't an act.
91. JIM BELUSHI (1983-1985):
It seems unlikely that the people who hired Jim Belushi believed they were bringing his brother John back on board, especially since John Belushi had been dead for a year at that point. But the alternative explanation is that they knew who Jim Belushi was and still wanted him, and how likely is that?
90. GARY KROEGER (1982-1985):
Kroeger was so boring that he was cast as Walter Mondale during the 1984 presidential campaign. His most memorable bit featured him begging viewers to elect Mondale so that he'd still have something to do on the show after November. In retrospect, it may have cost Mondale some votes.
89. COLIN QUINN (1995-2000):
Quinn is a funny guy, but he just looked miserable when he was on this show, and the feeling soon became contagious. The definition of one-note comedy.
88. ROB SCHNEIDER (1990-1994):
We'll say this for Schneider: considering how doggedly he insisted on pounding one-joke characters into the ground, doing the same shtick over and over and over again, he couldn't have picked a more fitting catchphrase than "Makin' copies!"
87. ELLEN CLEGHORNE (1991-1995):
Perhaps the biggest laugh ever generated by Cleghorne's name was a throwaway reference on Family Guy , when someone wondered aloud if she'd ever find "an appropriate vehicle." The most appropriate vehicle for Cleghorne's career is probably a hearse.
86. BRAD HALL (1982-1984):
If anyone remembers Brad Hall today, it's because he married Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
85. HORATIO SANZ (1998-2006)
Too much laughing at his own jokes, not enough funny.
84. MELANIE HUTSELL (1991-1994)
Hutsell did a few memorable appearances on Weekend Update as Jan Brady (a role that she had played before joining SNL ). Otherwise, pretty forgettable.
More at link....
Niccolo and Donkey

I haven't even looked at this yet but Phil Hartman is not number one, I will chimp.

Niccolo and Donkey
O'Zebedee Bobby Bin Laden SteamshipTime supplanter popfop

Niccolo's All-Star Cast

I'm not going to rank all of them, because there are too many and because I'm not at all familiar with the past several years of the show. Suffice it to say that I watched a lot of SNL as a kid and up until my mid-20s, but still rate SCTV as superior.

1. Phil Hartman - in "The Oral History of SNL" we learn that new writers are asked to name their all-time favourite performers of the show. Hartman is by far the most mentioned name. Nicknamed "The Glue", he was the greatest utility player of all-time.

2. Eddie Murphy - he was a Thermonuclear Bomb of humour at a time when the show was just about to be cancelled. He was the last rockstar of SNL who stood out even more than original cast members simply because he had such a weak supporting cast. One great takeaway from "Oral History of SNL" is that "Eddie Murphy's fame went to Joe Piscopo's head".

3. Bill Murray - much of the original cast suffered from a "too cool for school' attitude as they were feted as revolutionaries of some sort for the Baby Boomer set but Murray's affable personality brought everything down to Planet Earth where it should have been anyway. His stuff on the show still works and hasn't aged as badly as other material from the original cast.

4. John Belushi - Some people have a stage presence that is magnetic and know how to use to as well. He had it and his brother didn't.

5. Norm MacDonald - the greatest ever Weekend Update anchor, even Dennis Miller admits it proudly. The guy who just didn't give a fuck.

6. Chris Farley - he won us all over with his Chippendale's audition dance-off against Patrick Swayze.

7. Jon Lovitz - Go fuck yourselves if you didn't find Lovitz hilarious. Master Thespian was brilliant. He had the ability to be both cartoonishly outlandish and a complete loser.

8. Billy Crystal/Christopher Guest/Martin Short - the all-star ringers for the last Ebersol season. It was the first season I got to watch live and it was excellent despite Crystal's schmaltz.

9. Rich Hall - even as a little kid I saw that this guy was criminally underused and that his humour had deeper layers than the rest of the shitty cast he was stuck with.

10. Kevin Nealon - criminally underrated and part of the best cast in the history of the show.

11. Will Ferrell - overrated in some parts but his surreal man/boy take on many characters is classic.

12. Dany Akroyd - the original utility player. Set the tone for future utilitarians.

13. Mike Myers/Dana Carvey - huge at the time, but their stuff hasn't aged all that well.

14. Jan Hooks - without a doubt the best female performer the show has ever seen. Yes, we'll use the word "versatile" here to describe her range.

15. Maya Rudolph - second best female lead simply because of her ability to command a presence yet play in an ensemble without trying to dominate.


I looked through the whole list and Chris Farley, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, and Mike Myers were the only ones I can remember ever laughing at while performing on SNL. I was an avid kid fan of Jon Lovitz on Critic when it was running, I used to laugh so hard at it... but I don't recall much of him on SNL. Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy are horrible. The best Black comedian is Bill Cosby. The best comedian I've seen recently is Louis CK. The funniest show I've seen in a while is Reno 911, but Futurama is also very witty. Lewis Black is my favorite political comedian, though I don't share his politics. Robin Williams was good, but something happened to him and his new stuff is cringe worthy.

I'm going to youtube Sprockets now.


Ferrell I never saw on SNL, only in movies, and I never understood the appeal there. Mind, last time I saw an episode of SNL many of our posters weren't even around.