Saturday Night Live’s Lost Performers: 15 Comedians Who Failed To Break Out As SNL Cast Members

Ben Stiller PF WENN

Photo: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

“Saturday Night Live” has been on the air for almost 38 years now. During that time we’ve seen countless comedians become overnight stars thanks to the show. Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Kristen Wiig, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey—he list goes on and on. Yet, while the show has the ability to break performers into mainstream popularity, not every comedy cast member has emerged from the show a star.

Here are 15 comedians who didn’t make it as “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” through SNL, but went on to success nevertheless.

 

Jim Belushi

James Belushi PF WENN

Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com

In 1983, James “Jim” Belushi joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. This was a year after the death of his brother, John Belushi, who became one of the show’s biggest breakout stars. Jim Belushi was not quite as successful—the comedian, who also wrote for the show, was hired, fired, and rehired during the course of the ninth season. He lasted until the tenth season and left the show. Belushi also spearheaded the SNL’s infamous “lost season” of 1984-85. Belushi served as creative director under package Ebersol, who was contractually obligated to bring in three new episodes following a writer’s strike. These episodes were due just before SNL control reverted back to current head honcho Lorne Michaels. Rather than stick with original ’84 cast (who they couldn’t afford), Belushi and Ebersol hired a whole new repertoire that included unknowns Vincent Shiavelli and Kevin Peter Hall. Those three episodes haven’t aired since Michaels’ return.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

Stories We Like

Comments

Comments

  1. says:

    I know this is just a blog but does StyleBlazer not have an editor or someone to proofread posts for typos, poor grammar and sophomoric writing? Good idea for a post but the bad writing is sort of distracting and confusing. Do better please

  2. says:

    The greatest mystery of the universe.

    How did John Belushi dying make Jim Belushi funny or talented?

  3. says:

    The Ben Stiller Show was aired on FOX not MTV.

  4. says:

    Julia Louis, not Louise–yeesh!

  5. says:

    No Conan O’Brien mention? Who researched this?

  6. says:

    “Package” Ebersol??

  7. says:

    “Laurie Metcalf was hired by package Ebersol to be apart of the new cast”

    What the helll is “package Ebersol”, and doesn’t the “writer” know that “apart” means “separate from”?

  8. says:

    garafalo, morris and gotfreid were not funny. Period.

  9. says:

    I’m going to add my voice to the choir of those critiquing the sophomoric writing… what’s not gramatically or factually incorrect is just plain badly written. I have written for websites that can’t pay their writers and yet have more rigorous editing processes than Styleblazer clearly has. How can I trust any of this when it’s even partially inaccurate?

  10. says:

    Fifteen full page redraws? HELLO WEB 1.0 TECHNOLOGY.

  11. says:

    What about when you can tell the actors are just reading off of cue cards… and they make it so obvious

  12. says:

    Some others I was thinking- Siobhan Fallon, David Koechner, Brian Doyle Murray, Casey Wilson. None are huge stars but all have found steady work in movies/TV since they’re less than memorable tenures.

  13. says:

    are you serious? It’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, that’s Lousk, not Louise. Why not throw all your credibility out the window? Craptacular reporting!

  14. says:

    Christopher Guest? Larry David??

  15. says:

    What a truly banal premise for a headline that shrieks something else. I am quitting your lists that entice but fail to deliver (like The World headlines). With the exception of Gottfried, Metcalf and Hall — the rest became BIG stars in movies, TV, etc. What English class did this blogger miss along the way? Pathetic…

    • says:

      You said it. IIRC, Anthony Michael Hall was famous BEFORE he joined SNL- that’s how he got the job. His star has waxed and waned solely because he’s bulked-up since the mid-late ’80s (e.g. “Edward Scissorhands”) in an attempt to shed his uber-geek image.

  16. says:

    If the author of this article isn’t freelancing and is an actual employee of this website, they should lose their job for such a gross display of journalistic ignorance. This article should never have been written. More of an op-ed piece bordering on defamation. Author should go back to bagging groceries.

  17. says:

    A catchy title for getting click through for ads. SO wrong on this list.

  18. says:

    That’s because except for Ben Stiller and Damon Wayans, none of them were/are comedians, or should I say funny.

    • says:

      sharksandcreatures is so wrong! John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, and many others (mostly from the first cast, but a few others – Tina Fey for one) is/was very creative comedians

  19. says:

    Garrett Morris was an icon. He was way underused in the show and every time he appeared he was amazing. The writers admitted they simply didn’t know where to put him in the scripts, but it was their fault not his for being uncreative. I was happy to see him in the coneheads movie.

  20. says:

    This article is absolutely absurd. ABSURD. Each of these members did well on the show and with a few exceptions (Garrett Morris) afterwards.

  21. says:

    Public School . . . NO DOUBT!!

  22. says:

    Chico ESCUELA. Do some research.

  23. says:

    There are a lot of successful people in comedy that are listed as “Comedians Who Failed to Break Out” – Julie Louise Dreyfus, Daymon Williams, Ben Stiller, and more. This is more of a list of successful comedians fired by SNL.

  24. says:

    I don’t get it. It it supposed to be about SNL cast who didn’t become main stream stars, or stars who weren’t big as SNL players? they go back and forth, back and forth.

  25. says:

    Two Oscar nominations. I don’t know. I think Joan Cusack did rather well.

  26. says:

    Jim Belushi has had a very popular show on network TV, and starred in numerous movies and they think he failed to break out of SNL?! Think I’m done reading this article as it is obvious whoever wrote it watches nothing but SNL!

  27. says:

    It’s D – I – C – K Ebersol. Auto-censoring the comments is one thing, but auto-censoring the actual article is stupid.

  28. says:

    i’ve seen some stupid lists, but this is by far the worst. it makes no sense!!!! is that the point, or is the person who wrote it 12?

  29. says:

    a…part of! a….part of! JFC, how ignorant can you be??

  30. says:

    Didn’t The Ben Stiller Show air on Fox on Sunday nights with Married with Children?

  31. says:

    the fact is Chris was hired as a performer and refused to write for free.

  32. says:

    Robert Downey is not a comedian

  33. says:

    I understand what you guys are saying about the people making it after SNL. However, this article is about those ‘stars’ that didn’t make it big on SNL itself. Agree wholeheartedly with the grammar/spelling/writing crap. Very hard to read when you have to rewrite the sentences in your head to give them fluency.

  34. says:

    This is the most poorly written article I’ve ever read.

  35. says:

    The proofreading is the real joke b/c an “alternate history” AKA fictitious account posted on the web of what might have been had three more shows aired in the summer of 1985 is printed as fact under the James Belushi entry. Boy, that’s bad. No such shows existed. When the writers strike scuttled three episodes in 1985, NBC simply re-allocated the funds, they didn’t make Ebersol produce them. Just plain dumb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>