13 Actors Who Started off on SNL ...

By Shannon

Say what you want about the show, but there have been several notable actors who started off on SNL. It's definitely true that Saturday Night Live has had its ups and downs over the years, but even during its “off-times,” it's still brought forth a good number of promising careers. Some are funnier than others, but I think there is a lot to be said for one show having such a wide variety of actors in both comedy and drama. I don't know about you, but here are some of my favorite actors who started off on SNL. Some of these people had worked in the industry before, but their time on SNL played a huge part in starting their careers as they are now. I got most of my information from IMDb, so look them up there if you want to know more.

1 Adam Sandler, 1991-1995

Adam Sandler, 1991-1995This man is one of my favorite actors who started off on SNL. To be perfectly honest, I've sort of had a crush on him ever since I saw him do Opera Man. It's not his looks-although he's not bad on the eyes-so much as that I love men who can make me laugh. While I think his best work (“The Wedding Singer,” “Big Daddy,” etc) came after SNL, what really got my attention was "The Hanukkah Song." “Put on your yarmulke/here comes Hanukkah/so much funnukah/To celebrate Hanukkah.” Now you're going to be singing that in your head all day. You're welcome.

2 Janeane Garofalo, 1994-1995

Janeane Garofalo, 1994-1995Even though Janeane Garofalo was only on for one season, I'm mentioning her here because she's my doppelganger. Or I'm hers. Whatever. People keep telling me we look alike.

3 Jimmy Fallon, 1998-2004

Jimmy Fallon, 1998-2004He wasn't on SNL as long as some of the other people on this list, but it seems that the show has done a lot in setting him on a great career path. I especially like the spoofs of songs and celebrities, in addition to his original comedy songs. And, as you've probably noticed, he's not hard to look at either!

4 Mark McKinney, 1995-1997

Mark McKinney, 1995-1997I'm mentioning him because I'm a fan of “The Kids in the Hall,” the Canadian comedy troupe he was part of in the late '80s and early '90s. I think it's interesting that all of his former cast members-Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin MacDonald and Scott Thompson-were offered a spot on SNL, but Mark was the only one who took it. Both shows were produced by Lorne Michaels. He's done a lot of directing, writing and acting since then, mostly for Canadian shows.

5 Mike Myers, 1989-1995

Mike Myers, 1989-1995Here's another kind-of crush of mine. I've seen all three Austin Powers movies and both Wayne's World films, but I think my favorite was "So I Married an Axe Murderer." I loved “This Poem Sucks,” although it really wasn't that bad. I'd love to go to a poetry jam, but I can't get anyone to go with me because they think such things are “snooty.” Oh, well. He didn't seem that way.

6 Dana Carvey, 1986-1993

Dana Carvey, 1986-1993This man is one of my all-time favorite actors who started off on SNL. I liked Garth Algar in "Wayne's World" and his kick-ass drum solo in that movie, but what I remember him most for is his impressions! His impression of former president George H. W. Bush was so dead-on that the president himself felt the need to come on the show and crack on himself more than once. Say what you want about Bush-the man's got a sense of humor! I also think it's interesting that he had heart bypass surgery in 1997 but ended up suing for malpractice when the doctor repaired the wrong artery. He's had a lot of smaller roles since then, along with "Wayne's World" and coming back to SNL as a host. He's been a guest on several talk shows and appeared in SNL election parody shows. I know Wikipedia isn't the best, but you have to see his list of impressions. It's just amazing.

7 Tina Fey, 1997-2006

Tina Fey, 1997-2006This amazing lady is the perfect example of how a woman can succeed in a man's world. In addition to "Mean Girls" and "30 Rock," Tina is the first-ever female head writer on SNL. Personally, I think she is one of the funniest and most beautiful women on TV; I know it's kind of “anti-feminist” to mention a woman's looks instead of saying more about her talent in an article like this, but the projects mentioned above speak for themselves.

8 Eddie Murphy, 1980-1984

Eddie Murphy, 1980-1984I think it's interesting that he started at SNL when he was only 19. In contrast, when I was 19 I was babysitting drunk people and trying not to get hit by a car again. Given that he's done more movies than I can count and often plays multiple characters at once, it can be said that he's one of the more successful former cast members out there. He definitely has a penchant for adult humor, though, so his stand-up acts are a bit much for me. That said, I loved his voicing of Donkey in “Shrek.” Some say the character kind of looks like him, but I'll leave that up to you.

9 Chris Rock, 1990-1993

Chris Rock, 1990-1993A friend of mine met him once when he came to her college to do stand-up. She said he was actually pretty quiet and low-key, which is the last thing you'd expect from someone as flamboyant as he is on stage. I guess you have to divorce yourself from your stage persona sometimes; otherwise you'd end up being That Guy on the subway talking to himself while playing air guitar. Either way, he's hilarious. What I find particularly interesting is that he was discovered by the person in point #8. Way to give a man a leg up! He's also a Preacher's Kid, which really explains a lot. Just kidding. I dated a PK. Great guy.

10 Will Ferrell, 1995-2002

Will Ferrell, 1995-2002I love love love Will Ferrell! He has that perfect combination of goofy and smart that makes him a grown-up version of my favorite class clown. I think my favorite impression he did on SNL was Alex Trebek on “Celebrity Jeopardy.” If you haven't seen those sketches, you have to find them on YouTube. You'll laugh your butt off. Guaranteed. I also loved “Semi-Pro” and “Old School.” Funny man.

11 Bill Murray, 1977-1980

Bill Murray, 1977-1980I didn't know he started off on SNL; I first saw him in “Ghostbusters” when I was 7. Since then I've gotten a kick out of his characters in “Stripes,” “Groundhog Day” and his other rather cynical, underachieving characters. I love how he's funny without having to be as “dirty” as some other actors we've seen. At least, I haven't seen him in that way. His characters are often rude, but not necessarily dirty. Other comedians could take a cue on this.

12 David Spade, 1990-1996

David Spade, 1990-1996He's one of those people you either love or you hate. Love him because he's so bitingly funny, but hate him because he's so, well, biting. I'm used to sarcasm, so I loved his “Hollywood Minute” segments on Weekend Update and his role on “Total B*&@ard Airlines.” I thought he made a great sidekick for Chris Farley, especially since they are so physically mismatched. He's the type of guy you'd have to get used to, but once you did, there'd never be a dull moment.

13 Dan Aykroyd, 1975-1979

Dan Aykroyd, 1975-1979If I sat here and listed all of the movies and TV shows he's appeared in since Saturday Night Live, I'd be here all day. Instead, I'm going to entertain you with my favorite quote from him in “The Great Outdoors”- “You wouldn't know a good time if it fell out of the sky, landed on your face and started to wiggle!” How many times have you thought that about somebody?

It would be difficult to find another program that has lasted as long and launched as many careers as Saturday Night Live has. Who are some of your favorite actors from SNL? Who would you like to see more of? Are there any you think are overrated? Discuss!

Please rate this article