Now in its 40th season, “Saturday Night Live” has produced some of the funniest people of all time.
Crowdsourced ranking site Ranker helped us find the funniest SNL cast members in the show’s history. Over 35,000 people voted on the best SNL cast members.
Nearly all of them hailed from Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe or LA’s comedy troupe Groundlings before getting their big break on SNL.
Here are the top cast members who made the list.
25. Darrell Hammond
Darrell Hammond holds two SNL records: the longest tenure on SNL (14 seasons), and the most impersonations (107 and counting). His most famous impression is of former president Bill Clinton. This past fall, SNL creator Lorne Michaels hired Hammond to serve as the show’s announcer, replacing the late Don Pardo.
24. Jason Sudeikis
Jason Sudeikis joined SNL as a writer in 2003, and became a part of the cast in 2005. He frequently portrayed Mitt Romney on the show, and simultaneously guest starred in Tina Fey’s show “30 Rock” as her love interest Floyd DeBarber. While on SNL he also appeared in movies including “Horrible Bosses” and “Hall Pass.” Sudeikis left SNL in 2013.
23. David Spade
David Spade became very close with fellow SNL alum Chris Farley during Spade’s 1990-1996 tenure on SNL. The two comedians were so close that SNL creator Lorne Michaels put the duo together on the big screen in 1995’s “Tommy Boy.” Spade also starred with Farley in the movie “Black Sheep,” and was cast in the television show “Just Shoot Me.”
22. Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal was an SNL cast member for the 1984-1985 season. He was known for his great impersonations of Sammy Davis Jr. and Howard Cosell, as well as his fictional character Fernando Lamas. Crystal left to pursue a film career, and starred in hits like “When Harry Met Sally” and “City Slickers.” He has also hosted the Academy Awards nine times.
21. Norm Macdonald
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Macdonald was on SNL from 1993-1998 and made his mark as the “Weekend Update” host from 1994-1997. As the host of the segment he often made controversial jokes about O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. Macdonald has since starred in movies like “Dirty Work” and “Screwed.”
20. Jon Lovitz
Jon Lovitz was cast on SNL in 1985 and stayed for five seasons. Lovitz created memorable characters like the pathological liar Tommy Flanagan, and Hanukkah Harry. After SNL he appeared in films including “A League of Their Own” and “Rat Race.”
19. Martin Short
Martin Short joined SNL for a brief one-season stint in the show’s tenth season. Short’s best roles were as oddball Ed Grimely, and uptight sketchy lawyer Nathan Thurm. Directly after leaving the show, Short starred in the movie “Three Amigos” with SNL alums Steve Martin and Chevy Chase.
18. Chris Rock
Eddie Murphy fan Chris Rock joined SNL in 1990 and stayed on for three seasons. Some of his best characters on the show were Luther Campbell and Old Man Ernie. His HBO show “Bring The Pain” earned Rock two Emmy awards. He also starred in the CW show “Everybody Hates Chris.”
17. Bill Hader
Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey discovered Bill Hader, who joined SNL in 2005. His most notable character is the over-the-top New York club correspondent Stefon, who married his love, Seth Meyers, in Hader’s final SNL episode in 2013. Like fellow SNL alum Eddie Murphy, Hader was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2012.
16. Jimmy Fallon
The “Tonight Show” host got his start on SNL in 1998. He created a slew of original characters and nailed impressions of John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Robert De Niro. Fallon also co-hosted “Weekend Update” with Tina Fey until he left the show in 2004.
15. Chevy Chase
Original cast member Chevy Chase anchored the “Weekend Update” segment before leaving the show after only one season. Chase has since returned eight times as a host. He has starred in four “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movies, and the cult classic “Caddyshack.” In recent years he was on the NBC show “Community.”
14. Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig was on SNL from 2005-2012, and was the senior female cast member after Amy Poehler’s departure in 2008. Wiig’s SNL characters like Gilly and Dooneese, and impressions of Kathy Lee Gifford and Nancy Pelosi were fan favourites. Wiig left the show to pursue her film career, and has starred in movies like the critically acclaimed comedy “Bridesmaids.”
13. Amy Poehler
Actress Amy Poehler was an SNL cast member from 2001-2008. She earned two Emmy nominations while on SNL, and was the co-host of “Weekend Update” for four years. Since leaving the show, Poehler has taken the lead role on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Poehler, along with fellow SNL alumna Tina Fey, have hosted the Golden Globes for the past three years.
12. Adam Sandler
After being discovered in LA, Sandler wrote and performed for SNL from 1990-1995. One of Sandler’s most memorable moments on SNL was when he performed the famous “Hanukkah Song.” He has since gone on to star in movies including “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “Grown Ups.”
11. Gilda Radner
The late Gilda Radner was one of SNL’s original cast members when the show premiered in 1975. Radner was on SNL for five years and is remembered for her performances as annoying news woman Roseanne Rosannadanna, and Barbara Walters parody Baba Wawa. She won an Emmy in 1978 for her work on SNL.
10. Dana Carvey
During his time on SNL from 1986-1993, Dana Carvey showed his versatility impersonating real people, like George Bush, and characters, like the Church Lady. Carvey, along with Mike Myers, made box office hits “Wayne’s World” and “Wayne’s World 2” based on their SNL characters Wayne and Garth.
9. Mike Myers
Myers had audiences in hysterics with his SNL characters Linda Richman and Sprockets during his six-season tenure on the the show. After leaving in 1995, Myers starred in movies like “Shrek,” “Wayne’s World,” and “Austin Powers.” Myers recently reprised his famous role as Dr. Evil on a December SNL episode commenting on the Sony North Korea hack.
8. Tina Fey
Tina Fey joined the SNL cast in 1997 as a writer and became the show’s first female head writer in 1999. In 2000 she made her on-screen debut as SNL’s “Weekend Update” co-host. Fey wrote and co-starred in the movie “Mean Girls,” and left SNL in 2006 to focus on her show “30 Rock.” After leaving, Fey continued to make SNL appearances as Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, which earned Fey an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
7. Chris Farley
The late Chris Farley was a star member of the SNL cast from 1990-1995. The actor was know for his Chippendales and “The Chris Farley Show” sketches. Farley also appeared in the comedy classics “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep” that were produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
6. Dan Aykroyd
Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd was one of SNL’s original cast members, joining the cast in 1975 and staying on for four seasons. While on the show, he and colleague John Belushi developed characters like the Blues Brothers, a comedic musical duo, which yielded three albums and a movie of the same name. After leaving SNL, Aykroyd earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
5. Will Ferrell
SNL creator Lorne Michaels told “People” magazine in 1998 that “Will is the glue that holds the show together.” Ferrell was hired in 1995 and stayed on the show until 2002. While he had many memorable moments on the show, some of the best are his impersonations of George W. Bush and Neil Diamond. After SNL, Ferrell has gone on to star in comedies like “Old School,” “Elf,” “Anchorman,” and “Step Brothers.”
4. Phil Hartman
Joining in 1986, Phil Hartman had an eight-season-long stint on SNL. He’s known for his impressions of Barbara Bush, Frank Sinatra, and Bill Clinton, among others. After SNL he did voice over work on “The Simpsons,” and starred in the NBC comedy “Newsradio” before his death in 1998.
3. Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy started as an extra on SNL in 1980, and earned a full-time spot when producers had four extra minutes to fill and sent Murphy on stage to perform his stand-up routine. Murphy stayed on for four seasons before pursuing his film career, where he earned a Golden Globe for his performance in “Dreamgirls” and nominations for “Beverly Hills Cop” and “The Nutty Professor.”
2. John Belushi
The other half of the Blues Brothers, John Belushi was also one of SNL’s nine original cast members and stayed on the show until 1979. He is best known for playing a samurai, a killer bee, and a cone-headed alien. Before his death in 1982, Belushi starred in movies like “The Blues Brothers,” “Neighbours,” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”
1. Bill Murray
A member of the “five timers club“, Bill Murray joined the SNL cast in 1977 and stayed on for three seasons. He took on many personas, from Nick the lounge singer to impersonating “Family Feud” host Richard Dawson. Murray also wrote for the show and won an Emmy for outstanding writing. Since he left SNL, he has earned an Academy Award nomination for “Lost In Translation” and a Golden Globe nomination for his 2014 film “St. Vincent.”
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