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The Greatest SNL Cast Ever Assembled

by Sean Connelly

So the season finale of SNL was Kristen Wiig’s final show. The digital short also made it look like Andy Samberg is on his way out. It was a very sad moment for the current SNL cast because those to people were truly a driving comedy force for that show. After watching her say goodbye it got me to thinking, who wold make up the best SNL cast? I mean there has been thirty-seven seasons of the show and countless superstars have been created because of this show. I’m taking all thirty-seven seasons of cast members and only picking the cream of the crop. Oh and if you didn’t see Kristen Wiig’s goodbye here it is, get your Kleenex ready.

She was truly one of the best women to ever grace the show!

First we’ll start with the featured players. Just because these people are featured players doesn’t mean they aren’t as good as the rest. The way I see featured players is that they are not needed for every show and are very versatile being able to play any character.

Featured Players:

Fred Armison (2002-Present)

I feel Fred Armison would be the perfect featured player. Armison has over 30 original characters. Not only does he have the original characters he also has 95 impressions. Now my favorite impression of his is Queen Elizibeth, I think you’ll like it just as much as me.

Bill Hader (2005-Present)

Now out of the entire current cast I feel Bill Hader is one of the lesser known names. In my opinion though, Bill Hader is the workhorse of the cast. Bill Hader can take an alright sketch and make it funny with just one look. With over 20 characters and 70 impressions Bill Hader is more than able to be part of the greatest cast of all time. If you don’t believe me why don’t you take a look at this.

Jimmy Fallon (1998-2004)

Jimmy Fallon, the bane of my comedy existence. He couldn’t even get through one sketch without laughing! One thing he had going for him was his goofy likeability, he could laugh and everyone would love it for him. When I was making the list I really didn’t want to put him on it because of this reason but I could not deny that he was one of the brighter moments of the cast in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Fallon was part of some of the best sketches and had a lot to do with the writing in the seasons he was in. And let’s not forget my personal favorite character, the leather man.

Amy Poehler (2001-2009)

Amy Poehler, to me at least, was one of the funniest women to be on this program and they haven’t picked a great replacement. The greatest thing about Amy was the fact that she was always a ball of energy. This translated over to the screen and most of her original characters, she has 14 by the way, were always spunky. Poehler could step into any role she wanted be it Weekend Update or Hillary Clinton and make that her role. My favorite impression she’s done though is Dakota Fanning. The Dakota Fanning Show is probably one of her best sketches of all time!

Now onto the cast! I’m going to be doing them in alphabetical order and not by favorite. I would not be a good blogger if I was biased so I’ll make it as unbiased as possible. Also I’m just going to post pictures of the cast because they are much too funny to pick just one sketch or character here, if you’d like google them and watch all their stuff. You will not be disappointed.

The Cast:

John Belushi (1975-1979)

Belushi. The original. What more can you say about this guy? John Belushi joined the original cast in 1975 and immediately stole the show. He was wild, absolutely wild. There’s a story I remember from one of the VH1 clip shows where somebody said he was playing a samurai; while doing this he cut himself open with a sword. Belushi, the true professional he was, finished the skit. Not only did he finish the skit he got stitched up during the commercial break and finished the show! This man was responsible for creating some of the most legendary characters of all time. Belushi, along with Dan Aykrord, created the Blues Brothers. This guy was truly a pioneer in comedy and definitely deserves to be on this list.

Chris Farley (1990-1995)

If you don’t know who Chris Farley is, how long have you been living under a rock? Farley was THE cast member in the early nineties. With enough energy to fill the role of five cast members Farley was a truly larger than life character. With five seasons under his belt he only created 13 characters, but they were some of the most memorable characters SNL has ever seen. I mean who could forget the Chip ‘n Dales dancing scene with Patrick Swayze? Farley left SNL after only five seasons to pursue an acting career and did pretty alright for himself. I will always remember Farley as a cast member though and he would make an excellent edition to the greatest cast ever assembled.

Will Ferrell (1995-2002)

Will Ferrell is probably best known today as a giant movie star but it all started for him on the SNL stage. Ferrell most of the cast was brought in after the SNL cast from the previous season was dismantled by NBC executives. Although that cast was considered one of the greatest casts ever assembled in the show’s history it’s a good thing they were pink slipped. Their pink slips were the end of an era but that end ushered in the new era, one that saw Will Ferrell shoot to the top of the comedy world. With Ferrell’s impressions and fresh characters he was a fan favorite after just one season at SNL. I mean the characters he created are insanely good, the male cheerleader, Roger Klarvin, and Gene Frenkle (the cow bell guy). With  over sixty impressions Ferrell has a knack for being funny and what’s the criteria for being a cast member. Being the funniest guy in the room and I think that Ferrell would be the funniest guy in a lot of rooms.

Tina Fey (2000-2006)

Now I know this is a controversial pick. Tina Fey was on the show for six seasons and didn’t have very many characters. Over the course of six seasons she had three characters and twelve impressions. That isn’t a fantastic track record for this list. I mean yeah she killed at Weekend Update but that’s just one thing. The reason I put Fey on this list is for a different reason than the rest of the cast members. Tina Fey was probably the greatest head writer the show has ever seen. So yeah, she only did three characters but she probably created over one hundred characters in her six years as head writer. Fey was able to parlay her writing skills into her own show where she plays a hyped of version of herself. You can catch 30 Rock on NBC on Thursday at 8:30/7:30c (shameless plug). Without a head writer the show would be nothing, that is why Tina Fey is a perfect candidate for the greatest cast of all time. And I mean she’s not horrible to look at either.

Tim Meadows (1990-2000)

Tim Meadows is quite arguably the best African-American performer this show has ever had the pleasure of having. I know a lot of people think it’s Chris Rock but I personally never much cared for Chris on the show. Tim Meadows was able to survive the giant dismemberment of the cast in 1995 and was able to stay on another fiver years. In the ten years he performed on the show he created fourteen characters and had over sixty impressions. It was the Ladies Man character that put him on the list for me. The Ladies Man is one of the greatest characters SNL has seen and Tim Meadows totally created that into his own. His hair was different, his voice was different, his swagger was different. When I watch the Ladies Man I wasn’t thinking it was Tim Meadows to me it was a different person altogether. Tim Meadows ability to transform himself into any character you ask puts him on this list for me.

Bill Murray (1976-1980)

Bill Murray. If you were to look up comedy or funny in the dictionary his picture would be next to both. Bill Murray is the funniest man alive, period. Murray was on the show in its second season. He was brought in to replace Chevy Chase who was leaving to pursue a career on the big screen. That being said Murray outperformed Chevy tenfold and was one of the best decisions Lorne Michaels ever made. Creating fourteen characters and doing 22 impressions is quite impression but that is not why I’m putting him on this list. I think Bill Murray would make an excellent edition to the cast because of his cool demeanor and confidence. With a calming presence behind the scenes, Bill would definitely make the cast of all time greats.

Mike Myers (1988-1995)

Many people will remember Myers from his success on the big screen and the ability to create characters out of thin air that dominate the box office. Myers was able to hone these skills while working at SNL. If you were to give Myers an idea for a character and let him tinker with it, he would own that character forever. He did this numerable times on the show but the most famous character he created on the show was Wayne, from “Wayne’s World”. He and Dana Carvey were able to parlay their two characters into not one but two successful movies. Myers had created 16 characters over the seven years he was there. There is an underrated element to Myers though, his characters would show up over and over again. This is why Myers would be in the cast his ability to make in-depth characters that would be able to be used over and over without getting old.

Andy Samberg (2005-2012)

A staple of the current SNL is the Digital Shorts. This was an idea pioneered by Samberg and it immediately saw results. Although I do not like Samberg as a character actor he is on this list because of the fact he perfected the Digital Short in just six years. I want a Digital Short on my show, I find them hilarious. Also Samberg has been just an absolute staple to the current cast. I view this cast as one of the better casts to ever be on the SNL stage so the fact that he is one of the best in the cast is not lost on me. With Samberg performing his stupid comedy and Tina Fey writing smart comedy for the others to perform this cast would perfectly blend the smart and stupid comedy, making the best show ever.

Adam Sandler (1990-1995)

Now technically Sandler did not start acting in the show until early 1991. He was originally hired to write for the program and once he started creating characters he could perform he was asked to be on the show. Sandler coined the market on idiot characters in the early nineties. Most of his characters had funny voices and wild hand gestures. This is a different but similar form of Andy Samberg’s style of comedy. I would love to see these two work together with an over the top comedy performance that will surely amaze audiences. Their movie coming out this summer “That’s My Boy” is definitely one I’ll keep my eye on. A perfect compliment to Samberg and a perfect contrast for Fey, Sandler would be perfect for this cast.

Kristen Wiig (2005-2012)

What can be said about Kristen Wiig? In my opinion she was the greatest women to ever perform on the show. She was just absolutely fearless and would take any and every character or impression you would give her and hit a home run with it. In her seven years I do not think she had one bad sketch. She, like Bill Murray exudes a certain confidence that only the best have. Although not known for many recurring characters she did have a few. Wiig liked to keep things fresh though always trying new characters and always succeeding with them. Wiig leaves a big gap for the current cast to fill. I’m glad that this is a fantasy list and I can pretend she’ll stay on my show forever because I’d kill myself if she left. With the perfect amount of guys who like to do recurring characters Wiig would serve as the new character actor that people could not wait to see what would come next for her.

Well that’s that. I’ve put together in my mind the best possible cast of all time. Feel free to comment on it if you disagree. Also if you like SNL Digital Shorts click here to read about the best ones!

About Sean Connelly

My life can be summed up by any song Barry Gibb has written

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