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What Happened To The 2000's Cast Of SNL

Since its premiere in 1975, sketch comedy behemoth "Saturday Night Live" has established itself as one of the most consistent and enduring programs in all of television. The iconic series has won 86 Primetime Emmys (as of this writing) and launched countless comedic actors to fame and fortune. From Eddie Murphy to Adam Sandler, many of the biggest names in comedy have started on the late-night sketch and variety show. Even some of those with the shortest tenures — Laurie Metcalfe, Ben Stiller, and Janeane Garofalo — have gone on to hit it big after their departures.

For the last two dozen seasons, new "Saturday Night Live" cast members have started as featured players before being promoted to full cast status, known as repertory players. While not all featured players make it beyond those two initial years, the majority of cast members are able to prove their worth and enter the repertoire. Featured and repertory cast members combined, there have been over 150 cast members on "Saturday Night Live" since its inception.

Since many "SNL" fans are of the belief that the 2000s were some of the strongest years of the show, and since many alums of that era are dominating in Hollywood, we thought it would be nice to check in on the current whereabouts of the 35 cast members who appeared for at least one season between 2000 and 2009. Here, in no particular order, is a look at the 2000s cast of "Saturday Night Live."

Jeff Richards

Jeff Richards is known for being both a "Saturday Night Live" cast member, as well as a "MADtv" cast member — a rarity, given that the two shows were rivals when "MADtv" was first on the air. In fact, only Richards and Taran Killam have starred on both programs. Richards barely made a peep on "MADtv" before leaving for "Saturday Night Live" the following year, in 2001. He remained on the show through 2004, appearing in the 27th to 29th seasons. Midway through season 29, Richards left the show, which he has maintained was his own choice (via SFGate).

Unfortunately for Richards, his choice to leave "SNL" so quickly in pursuit of film work backfired, and he has had a relatively modest career in comparison to his contemporaries. His onscreen credits have been mostly guest spots on relatively unknown shows like "All Grown Up!" and "Flashforward," with a few television movies and a handful of shorts on his resume as well. He has also done some voice work, most notably for eight episodes of "Where My Dogs at?" in 2006. Though he proved himself a capable impressionist while on "Saturday Night Live" — taking on Louie Anderson, Bill O'Reilly, Dr. Phil, and more — Richards' career after "SNL" has not capitalized on these talents.

Darrell Hammond

Darrell Hammond's stint on the show's cast is the second longest of all time, next to only Kenan Thompson. Even then, not including the "Saturday Night Live" band and announcer Don Pardo, Hammond has the honor of appearing in the most "Saturday Night Live" episodes overall, with over 400 appearances under his belt including his voice gigs (he is the current announcer). Since becoming the announcer in 2014, Hammond has popped up in the occasional skit, but his main time in front of the camera occurred between the years of 1995 and 2009.

Over his 14-year "Saturday Night Live" run, Hammond became known for his many impressions, especially his President Bill Clinton, who was in office for a large chunk of Hammond's time on the show. His other notable impressions have included Donald Trump, Sean Connery, and Dick Cheney. Outside of "SNL," Hammond has continued to appear on television, both in comedic roles on series like "Are We There Yet?" and "At Home with Amy Sedaris," as well as in more dramatic fare, such as his guest arc on "Damages" back in 2009. 

The comedian only occasionally appears in film, and the last time he did so was when he starred as Dr. Hall in 2013's "Scary Movie V." You may also recognize him from his commercial work for KFC, where he appeared as Colonel Sanders at one point before rotating out of the role to make room for the next celeb.

Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate had a rough go of things on "Saturday Night Live," infamously dropping an F-bomb during her first sketch on her very first episode of the show in 2009. She barely registered in the rest of her one season on the program, though she did have one good character with saleswoman Tina Tina Chanuse. "By the way, everyone always thinks I got fired for saying f**k: I didn't, that's not why I got fired. I just didn't belong there," she said to InStyle in 2019. "I didn't do a good job, I didn't click. I have no idea how [SNL creator] Lorne [Michaels] felt about me. All I know is, it didn't work for me, and I got fired."

Luckily for Slate, Hollywood has a short attention span and a poor memory, and her firing did little to derail her budding career. She co-starred in season one of the FX's "Married," had memorable guest arcs on shows like "Parks and Recreation" and "House of Lies," and is a well-established voice actress, voicing characters in everything from "Big Mouth" to "Bob's Burgers" to "Muppet Babies." Slate has also started working in film since her time at "SNL," both in voice roles and in front of the camera. Her best role was in 2014's "Obvious Child," which earned her a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards and the win at the Critics' Choice Awards, Women Film Critics Circle Awards, and more. Slate's other film credits include "Hotel Artemis," "Venom," and 2022's "I Want You Back."

Finesse Mitchell

Finesse Mitchell began as a featured player in 2003, and "Saturday Night Live" elevated him to repertory cast member two years later. But after one year on the main cast, Mitchell was let go — not really a surprise, since he had very little screen time once promoted (via Vulture). On the show, Mitchell had one recurring character with Starkisha but was better known for his celebrity impressions. These included takes on Colin Powell, 50 Cent, R. Kelly, and Venus Williams. "I don't know if I kind of gave up and quit on myself and let that attitude come out on the show," he told the Daily Beast in 2018. "But I wasn't smiling anymore or trying to break the code to win. I was just like, 'I'm drowning' and I think they could sense that."

After "Saturday Night Live," Mitchell continued to find work in Hollywood, both as a stand-up and in front of the camera. He is not one of the giant names to come out of the show but has established a fan following over the years. His credits include a series regular role on the show "Outmatched," which aired for a season on Fox in 2019, and recurring gigs on the Disney show "A.N.T. Farm" and Showtime's "Roadies." He has also appeared in films like "Mad Families" and "Barely Lethal," and co-hosted "According to Him + Her."

Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn started as a writer and featured player on "Saturday Night Live" in 1996, and he remained on the show until 2000. While he had some recurring characters like "Lenny the Lion" and "Joe Blow," Quinn is best remembered as a host of "Weekend Update." He took over the popular segment in 1998 and remained in the anchor chair until he left "SNL" two years later. During his tenure on "SNL," Quinn made his Broadway debut in a one-man show, entitled "Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake." He has since appeared in many other one-man shows over the years, in addition to his TV and film work.

Quinn is best known for his stand up, but he has continued to act in the decades since "Saturday Night Live." He has had roles in films like "Grown Ups," "That's My Boy," and "Trainwreck," and has appeared on television in a number of guest roles, including on eight episodes of HBO's "Girls." Beyond acting and stand-up, Quinn has used his comedic talents as a host. In 2002, he hosted "The Colin Quinn Show" for a moment on NBC, and then went on to host Comedy Central's "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn" for two seasons. Comedy specials and a couple of books round out the list of Quinn's varied activities.

Nasim Pedrad

Nasim Pedrad was a "Saturday Night Live" cast member for five seasons, from 2009 to 2014, which is a fair amount of time, but we were still sad when she decided to leave the show to further her acting career. Pedrad was a key player during her years at "SNL," and it was a true loss to see her go — something she did in order to appear on the sitcom "Mulaney." "At some point you have to leave, and I can't think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast," Pedrad told TV Guide at the time. "Mulaney" lasted only 13 episodes, but Pedrad has bounced back and is currently the creator, writer, and star of TBS's "Chad."

While on "SNL," Pedrad established a number of recurring characters such as young schoolgirl Shallon and Bedelia, a teen obsessed with her parents. She also proved herself to be a masterful impressionist, playing everyone from Kim Kardashian to Christiane Amanpour to Princess Jasmine from "Aladdin." Aside from "Mulaney" and "Chad," Pedrad's resume has a few other post-"SNL" highlights. These include stints on the series' "Scream Queens," "New Girl," and "People of Earth."

Jerry Minor

Not only was Jerry Minor only on "Saturday Night Live" for a year, from 2000 to 2001, but he is also one of the least well-known cast members the show has ever had. Minor had only a few screen credits prior to being hired by "SNL," and though he has continued to find steady work in the decades since, he has a relatively low profile for an "SNL" alum. Minor had a recurring skit called "Rape Street" when on the show, but he did not make a big impression outside of that and a mildly funny Al Sharpton impression. According to a Vulture article from 2012, Minor was fired due to budget constraints, which only somewhat makes sense since Lorne Michaels hired four new people that same year.

After "Saturday Night Live," Minor tried out a couple of other sketch shows, including "Mr. Show" and "Cedric the Entertainer Presents." He has had a series regular role on short-lived series such as "Lucky Louie" and "Carpoolers," and recurring roles on shows like "Arrested Development," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Dr. Ken," and "Community." As of this writing, he is currently filming a series called "Scroll Wheel of Time," a time-travel comedy created by Paul Scheer and Nick Giovannetti.

Maya Rudolph

Despite leaving "Saturday Night Live" as a main cast member in 2007, Maya Rudolph has proven that she is always game for a return trip — such as the time she appeared as Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020. We are grateful, too, because Rudolph is arguably one of the funniest cast members the sketch series has ever seen. Rudolph started on "SNL" in 2000, and she quickly made a name for herself with hilarious celebrity impressions, including iconic takes on Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, and Donatella Versace. She also had her fair share of completely ridiculous original characters, such as Spokesmodel Shonda (opposite Kristen Wiig) and Jodi Dietz, co-host of "Bronx Beat" (opposite Amy Poehler).

Rudolph has stayed incredibly busy in the years since her "SNL" departure, appearing in both film and television, and in both live action and voice roles. Her high-profile film roles have included parts in "Bridesmaids," "Grown Ups," and 2021's "Licorice Pizza," written and directed by husband Paul Thomas Anderson. On the television side of things, Rudolph has had series regular roles in "Up All Night" and "Bless the Harts," as well as memorable recurring parts on "Kath & Kim" and "The Good Place." She has also appeared in a number of variety shows and specials, including one with Martin Short (produced by Lorne Michaels) called "Maya & Marty," and voices numerous characters on Netflix's "Big Mouth." Rudolph has won four Primetime Emmy Awards (out of eight nominations) — including two for guest appearances on "Saturday Night Live" in 2020 and 2021.

Jimmy Fallon

With his penchant for cracking up at his own jokes, Jimmy Fallon does not seem like the best fit for a live sketch and variety show. And yet, when Fallon would break on "Saturday Night Live," it always felt like laughing with your best friend. The affable comedian started on "SNL" in 1998, where he remained for six seasons before his 2004 departure. A skilled impressionist, Fallon appeared regularly as celebrities on the show. This included the likes of Robert De Niro, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Barry Gibbs. He also hosted "Weekend Update" for four years, from 2000 to the end of his tenure, alongside Tina Fey.

Fallon is, as if this writing, the host of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," which he has been doing since 2014, and before that, hosted "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" for five seasons. He has received 18 career Emmy nominations for his work in late night, with a couple for hosting duties from his "SNL" returns. Before getting into the talk show game, Fallon was focused on acting for a handful of years. His film credits include "Taxi," "Fever Pitch," and "Whip It." Fallon has also produced two well-performing comedy albums and written numerous books, including 2022's "Nana Loves You More."

Molly Shannon

Molly Shannon is an absolutely uproarious comedian who shines in everything she does, including "Saturday Night Live." She joined the show in 1995 and stayed for seven seasons, until 2001. Few characters have left the lasting legacy of Shannon's Mary Catherine Gallagher, a character so fantastically ridiculous that she even got her own movie, "Superstar." Shannon's other standout characters included frisky Sally O'Malley, "joyologist" Helen Madden, and "Delicious Dish" co-host Terri Rialto.

Shannon has put her comedic genius to good use since leaving "SNL," on screens both large and small. She has had series regular roles on shows like "Divorce," "Kath & Kim," and "The Other Two." In addition to "The Other Two," Shannon appeared in "The White Lotus" and, in a voice capacity, "Bob's Burgers" last year. Shannon has also had memorable guest stints on a plethora of shows, most notably the "Will & Grace" reboot and "Enlightened," both of which earned her Primetime Emmy Award nominations

She will have a main role in 2022's "I Love That for You," co-created by fellow "Saturday Night Live" vet Vanessa Bayer. Finally, Shannon has appeared in dozens of movies since her time at "SNL," including "Marie Antoinette," "Bad Teacher," and a couple of the "Scary Movie" films. In 2017, Shannon won acclaim — and an Independent Spirit Award — for her performance in the film "Other People."

Rob Riggle

Rob Riggle is a masterful comedian who simply never found his place during his one season on "Saturday Night Live." Riggle was a featured player for the 2004 – 2005 season, appearing in 20 episodes as celebrities like comedian Larry the Cable Guy, country singer Toby Keith, and baseball player Mark McGwire. "I wouldn't say it's not dysfunctional," Riggle told the Daily Beast of his time on "Saturday Night Live" in a 2019 interview. "This is the first showbiz gig I ever got so it's overwhelming to begin with. It's an unbelievable pace and pressure and I got to a point where I didn't even know what was funny anymore by the end of the season."

Ex-marine Riggle has since found fame and fortune, starting with his commentator position on "The Daily Show" from 2006 to 2008. And though Riggle had a number of failed sitcom pilots in the years following "SNL," he had success appearing in guest roles on established sitcoms like "Modern Family," "Gary Unmarried," and "The League," and appeared in three seasons of the police parody series "NTSF:SD:SUV" on Adult Swim. 

Some of Riggle's best television work has been as himself, such as when he hosted "Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy" for Crackle in 2018, or in 2019, when he was a color commentator for sports reality TV show "Holey Moley." He has additionally appeared in more than 40 films since "SNL," including big hits like "21 Jump Street," "Night School," and "Dumb and Dumber To."

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig was a dynamo when she was on "Saturday Night Live," sometimes appearing in so many sketches that it was overkill. But we get it, because Wiig's seven seasons were filled with exciting moments and hilarious characters. Wiig joined the show in 2005 and remained until 2012, a year after her smash hit film "Bridesmaids." Her zany roster of "SNL" characters included Target Lady, "Secret Word" player Mindy Grayson, and the ever-excited Sue. She also dazzled with her impressions, especially her Kathy Lee Griffith and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Of Wiig's nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations, five are for her time as an "SNL" cast member and another two are for hosting the show in the years since her departure.

Wiig left "SNL" just in time to capitalize on her exploding movie career, and the payoff has been big. Since leaving the show, she has appeared in big budget flicks like "The Martian," "Zoolander 2," "Ghostbusters," and "Wonder Woman 1984." She has not jumped into another television show full-time but has had memorable stints on "Arrested Development" and "The Last Man on Earth," provided voices for characters on "Bless the Harts" and "Big Mouth," and appeared in an Emmy-nominated role in the miniseries "The Spoils Before Dying" in 2015. In 2021, Wiig co-starred in the "MacGruber" TV series, based upon the "SNL" sketch with Will Forte.

Michaela Watkins

Michaela Watkins appeared in only one season of "Saturday Night Live," the 2008–2009 season, never making it past featured player status. The actress expressed shock at her dismissal, telling Entertainment Weekly that all Lorne Michaels told her was that "he felt deep down that I should have my own show" and that "it had nothing to do with talent." And while those seem like iffy explanations for a firing, we do agree that Watkins has immense talent — something she has proven in the years since her "SNL" firing. Simply put, things just did not seem to click for her at "Saturday Night Live."

Watkins has done stellar work as a main cast member on two very good, far too short-lived shows, "Trophy Wife" and "The Unicorn." She also had the starring role in "Casual," a four-season Hulu series that ran from 2015 to 2018. Beyond that, she is a frequent television guest star, and an accomplished voice actress for programs such as "American Dad!" and "Robot Chicken." While she has been much more active in television, Watkins also has a considerable number of film credits including "Ibiza" and "The Way Back." As of this writing, she can be seen in the Hulu miniseries "The Dropout," about biotech entrepreneur and convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes.

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers did most of his best work at "Saturday Night Live" in the writer's room, where he started in 2001 and became a head writer in 2006. He stayed on with the show for thirteen years — until 2014 — both as a writer and as anchor for the legendary "Weekend Update" segment, which was something he started doing after five years on staff. He also appeared as a performer on occasion, often appearing as real-life people like John Kerry and Anderson Cooper or fictional characters like Ron Weasley from "Harry Potter." Meyers has been nominated for a dozen Primetime Emmy Awards, winning once, for his work on "Saturday Night Live" and its associated specials (out of 27 total nominations).

Though he is not known primarily as an actor, Meyers has acted in content such as the television series "The Awesomes," and films like "I Don't Know How She Does It" and "New Year's Eve." Meyers has not acted much since leaving "Saturday Night Live,", instead opting to focus on his nightly late night show, "Late Night with Seth Meyers," which he began filming in February 2014. In addition to his talk show, Meyers is a popular award show host, having emceed both the Primetime Emmys and the Golden Globes in the past, as well as writer (he has written for three other Golden Globe ceremonies, for example).

Will Forte

Will Forte spent eight years of his life on "Saturday Night Live," appearing as a cast member from 2002 until 2010. According to Indiewire, Forte — who was at the time a writer on "That '70s Show" — originally turned down "SNL" before realizing it was something he could not pass up. "I knew that being on 'SNL' was ultimately my biggest dream, so there was some weird part of me that thought, 'Oh, if I do it and then fail, then I've destroyed my dream and if I don't do it, then somehow the dream is still out there,' which is kinda crazy. So I turned it down," he explained. On "SNL," Forte excelled at playing weird and ridiculous, with characters like MacGruber and The Falconer, the former of which became a feature film. His impressions included George W. Bush, Carson Daly, and Brian Williams.

Forte most recently starred in a Peacock adaptation of "MacGruber," based upon his noteworthy "SNL" character poking fun at MacGyver. He has had much success outside of this character, such as his Emmy-nominated leading role in the sitcom "The Last Man on Earth," and appearances on a bevy of other shows including "Up All Night" and "The League." Forte is also an accomplished voice actor, giving voice to characters in "The Cleveland Show," "Allen Gregory," and more. He has been similarly active on the big screen, appearing in films like "Booksmart," "Good Boys," and "Nebraska," for which he won Best Supporting Actor from the National Board of Review.

Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen was an integral part of "Saturday Night Live's" cast from 2002 until 2013, and his 11-year run remains one of the longest in the show's history. He has since been back for multiple cameos and as a host. Some of his memorable characters include his take on singer Prince, Venezuelan night club owner Fericito, and Leonard, host of the talk show Club Traxx. He also partnered with Kristen Wiig to craft two unforgettable recurring sketches — "The Californians," a soap opera parody where he played Stuart, and "Garth and Kat," where he was part of a woefully unprepared musical duo.

Armisen has been quite busy since leaving "SNL," but his biggest project has been "Portlandia," a sketch comedy show he co-created and starred in alongside Carrie Brownstein. "Portlandia" aired for eight seasons, from 2011 to 2016, earning Armisen nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations (he has 14 total, including two for "SNL"). Armisen's other post-"SNL" television credits include roles on "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Schmigadoon!," and "Toast of Tinseltown." 

He also appears in the Emmy-nominated mockumentary show, "Documentary Now!," which he created with a number of other show alums. Additionally, Armisen has appeared in small roles in a number of films, from "Battle of the Sexes" to "Zoolander 2," and voiced animated characters like Brainy Smurf in the "Smurf" movies and Speedy Gonzalez in "Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run." He can be seen in Judd Apatow's "The Bubble," in April 2022, and has a few other projects in the works.

Ana Gasteyer

Ana Gasteyer started at "Saturday Night Love" in 1996 and left in 2002, after six successful seasons as a cast member. She had many popular recurring characters, like "Delicious Dish" co-host Margaret Jo McCullen, obnoxious VJ Kincaid, and, alongside Will Ferrell as husband Marty, singing high school music teacher Bobbi Mohan-Culp. She also frequently — and expertly — parodied Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton, Celine Dion and more famous faces.

Gasteyer has been actively working since her "SNL" years, and we don't just mean her very fun appearance as the Christmas tree on "The Masked Singer." She has had series regular roles on "Suburgatory," "People of Earth," and "American Auto." She has also made appearances as a recurring guest on many other programs, from "The Good Wife" to "The Goldbergs" to "Lady Dynamite." 

Gasteyer has been less active in film than TV but does appear in movies from time to time. Her film credits include "Mean Girls," "That's My Boy," and "Wine Country." She has also appeared on Broadway, starring as Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl" and Elphaba in "Wicked" (amongst other roles), and put out two studio albums.

Rachel Dratch

No matter how long she works in Hollywood, Rachel Dratch will always be known as her famous "SNL" character Debbie Downer to us. Debbie is one of the all-time great "Saturday Night Live" characters, but Dratch made many other contributions over the course of her seven years on the show. Dratch joined the "SNL" cast in 1999 and left in 2006. In addition to Debbie, her other key characters included Boston teen Denise, Hollywood producer Abe Scheinwald, and junior high student Sheldon. She also made a mark with impressions of Barbara Walters, Monica Lewinsky, and other celebrities.

Dratch was famously let go from pal Tina Fey's "30 Rock" after her performance in the pilot elicited negative reviews from fans (via Huffington Post). She then went on to appear on the show in a series of smaller parts and has continued to find work in smaller roles in television and film in the years since. She has had recurring guest parts on shows like "Broad City" and "Shameless," and has done much voicework, including for "Fish Hooks," "The Awesomes," and "Bob's Burgers." On the film side, Dratch's credits include parts in "I Hate Valentine's Day," "Sisters," and "The Week Of." She has also done some theater, hosted a truTV sketch show, and published a humorous memoir.

Chris Kattan

While he is still actively working in Hollywood, Chris Kattan's career peaked when he was on the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The comedian joined "SNL" in 1996, establishing himself with a roster of recurring characters like gibberish speaking lawyer Suel Forrester, unruly primate Mr. Peepers, and exotic dancer Mango. His character Doug Butabi was popular enough that he and Will Ferrell (who played his brother Steve) were given their own spin-off film, "A Night at the Roxbury." Kattan's celebrity impressions — including Al Pacino, Alanis Morrisette, and gymnast Kerri Strug — were also on-point.

Kattan left "Saturday Night Live" in 2003, after eight seasons on the cast. Since then, he has appeared in low-budget films like "Adam & Steve," "Hollywood & Wine," and "Slightly Single in L.A." He has also had minor roles in bigger films such as "Nancy Drew," and voiced characters in fare like "Delgo," and "Hotel Transylvania 2." 

Kattan's most high-profile role after "SNL" was as a recurring character on the sitcom "The Middle," in which he played Bob Weaver in more than 5 episodes. He also voiced the titular character on the animated "Bunnicula," and has guested on programs such as "How I Met Your Mother." Most recently, Kattan was a contestant on the third season of the American version of "Celebrity Big Brother."

Cheri Oteri

Cheri Oteri is more of a 1990s "Saturday Night Live" star, but since her tenure ended in the new millennium, she qualifies for our list. The funny lady started on the show in 1995, and she remained on the cast for five seasons, until 2000. She started as a member of the repertory, since there were no featured players at the time, and at a time when the show was at a lull. Oteri and the new cast that started with her revived the program and gave us some of "Saturday Night Live's" most iconic characters, like Spartan cheerleaders Arianna (Oteri) and Craig (Will Ferrell). Oteri is also remembered for her Philadelphia grouch Rita DelVecchio, "Simmer down now" lady Nadeen, and the funniest Barbara Walters impression the show has ever seen.

Though deserving, Oteri surprisingly never got her own sitcom or headlined any major movies in her years after "Saturday Night Live." She has, however, continued to find steady work in both television and film. On the television side, there have been a lot of TV movies and one-off guest stints, as well as a lot of voice work on shows like "Puppy Dog Pals" and "Big City Greens." Her film credits include "Scary Movie," "Grown Ups 2," and "Benjamin." Oteri has a few projects in production, per her IMDb, but none seem truly worthy of her immense comedic gifts.

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan was on "Saturday Night Live" for seven seasons, from 1996 to 2003. According to an interview he did on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Morgan beat out Colbert for a spot on the cast in the final audition rounds. Once at "SNL," Morgan became one of the most popular cast members, with a plethora of characters including clueless animal fanatic Brian Fellow, "Weekend Update" guest Dominican Lou, and Astronaut Jones. He also did a fair number of impressions — Star Jones, Shaquille O'Neal, Steve Harvey, Maya Angelou, and more. Morgan has returned to "SNL" as both a guest and a host, and even earned an Emmy nomination for hosting in 2016.

After "Saturday Night Live," Morgan briefly had his own sitcom — "The Tracy Morgan Show" ––before starring as a fictionalized version of himself in Tina Fey's "30 Rock," for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2009. He has also hosted "Scare Tactics," provided voices for characters on programs such as "Where My Dogs At?" and "Squidbillies," and released numerous televised comedy specials. Morgan has also been active in film, with credits such as "Cop Out," "What Men Want," and "Coming 2 America." He is a regular on the series "The Last O.G.," and has an upcoming film where he will play Louis Armstrong, as of this writing.

Will Ferrell

2Like Adam Sandler and Mike Myers, Will Ferrell is one of those comedians whose career absolutely exploded once he left "SNL" for greener pastures. Ferrell joined "Saturday Night Live" in 1995, when the show was at a low, and remained on the program until 2002. By that time, he had already established himself as a solid movie star with roles in "Zoolander" and "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." Ferrell had more recurring characters on "Saturday Night Live" than we could possibly fit here, but the standouts included Mr. Ed's twin brother Ned, Spartan cheerleader Craig Buchanan, and high school music teacher Marty Culp. His sidesplitting impressions were wide-ranging, from Janet Reno to Alex Trebek to Fidel Castro.

After departing "Saturday Night Live," Ferrell's star skyrocketed with leading roles in films like "Old School," "Elf," and "Kicking & Screaming." He also writes films, such as "Step Brothers" and the "Anchorman" films, which he starred in, and produces others, such as "Booksmart" and "Hustlers." As a voice actor, Ferrell has appeared in "The Lego Movie" and "Megamind," both giant films with massive box office success. 

A big movie star, Ferrell has been less active on television than many other "SNL" vets, but he recently played a lead in the Apple TV+ miniseries "The Shrink Next Door." Other television credits include six episodes of "The Spoils Before Dying" and two episodes of "Drunk History," both of which he co-produces. As a producer, he has also worked on everything from "Succession" to "Dead to Me."

Andy Samberg

With his giant smile and goofy personality, it is nearly impossible to not love Andy Samberg – a quality that served him well during his seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live." The comedian joined the show in 2005, making a name for himself as both a sketch actor as well as a member of comedy musical group The Lonely Island. During his time at "SNL," Samberg and his musical partners created many memorable digital shorts — the best of which is, of course, "Dick in a Box" with Justin Timberlake (which won an Emmy). Others included "Motherlover," "3-Way: The Golden Rule," "I Just Had Sex," "Jack Sparrow," and "Shy Ronnie," all of which earned Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Samberg also maintained a presence on the show with celebrity impressions — like Mark Zuckerberg — and original characters, such as awful rapper Blizzard Man and Hollywood accountant Mort Mort Feingold.

Samberg's career has been solidly progressing since leaving "Saturday Night Live" in 2012. He has starred in films like "That's My Boy," "Palm Springs," and "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," which he also wrote and produced. Starting in 2013, he appeared for eight seasons as lead character Jake Peralta on the sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which earned him a Golden Globe Award in 2014. Samberg has also established himself as a host, both for award shows and the reality TV show "Baking It." He has produced much content, as well, from "Alone Together" to "I'm Sorry" to the Emmy-nominated "PEN15."

Bill Hader

Bill Hader joined "Saturday Night Live" in 2005 and spent eight seasons on the show before his 2013 departure. Four of his Primetime Emmy Award nominations have been for the show — two from his time as a cast member and two from subsequent appearances in 2015 and 2018. His beloved characters include "Weekend Update" staple Stefon, super affectionate family member Dwayne Vogelcheck, and senior citizen reporter Herb Welch. He is also a masterful impressionist, portraying celebrities like Al Pacino, Dave Matthews, and Ryan Seacrest.

Post-"SNL," Hader has had much success on television, namely with his sitcom "Barry," which he co-created, writes, produces, and stars in. The HBO comedy has aired two seasons and earned Hader numerous accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Lead Actor in a Comedy. Hader is also the co-creator of the Emmy-nominated "Documentary Now!," and has voiced characters for shows like "The Awesomes," "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance," and "Marvel's M.O.D.O.K." 

In the years since "Saturday Night Live," Hader has also lit up the big screen, appearing as a leading man in movies like "Trainwreck" and in supporting roles in films such as "22 Jump Street" and "It Chapter Two." Much of his film work has been in animated fare, and Hader's voice can be found in everything from "Finding Dory" to "Sausage Party."

Tina Fey

With all of her return guest appearances as Sarah Palin, it may feel like Tina Fey was a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" for at least a decade, but it was actually only six years. She was a writer for a few years before joining the cast in 2000, and she remained on the cast until 2006. She was also the show's first female head writer, and co-hosted "Weekend Update" for all six years she was on the cast. Because of this, she rarely appeared in other sketches, though she did have a few original characters like Bedelia's mother. Fey has returned to the show many times since she left, both as a guest performer as well as host. Three of her nine Primetime Emmy Awards are for her work on "Saturday Night Live."

Aside from "SNL," Fey is most associated with her award-winning work on "30 Rock," which aired on NBC from 2006 to 2013. She also co-created the noteworthy sitcoms "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Mr. Mayor," and produced others, like "Great News" and "Girls5eva." She has appeared onscreen in most of the show's she writes/produces and has also made appearances on a number of other series, including "Only Murders in the Building" and "Modern Love." Fey's film credits include roles in "Baby Mama," "Admission," and "Mean Girls," which she also wrote. Finally, she has proven herself a fantastic awards show host, emceeing the Golden Globe Awards four times alongside close friend and fellow "SNL" alum Amy Poehler.

Dean Edwards

A somewhat forgettable cast member, Dean Edwards appeared on "Saturday Night Live" from 2001 to 2003. He did not get much play when on the show, though he did feature a number of impressions including Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, and Don Cheadle. His two-season stint was the highlight of his career, and Edwards' onscreen appearances have been limited in the years since.

Edwards post-"SNL" credits include cameos in films like "Spider Man 3" and "Universal Remote," and a smattering of TV guest roles. Most of his credits are for voice work, on shows such as "Let's Be Real," "Where My Dogs at?," and "Our Cartoon President." Edwards also took over for Eddie Murphy as the voice of Donkey in a couple of "Shrek" shorts in 2010 and 2011. He most often appears in media as himself, and has popped up on everything from "Tiffany Haddish Presents: The Ready" to "Laugh Factory."

Casey Wilson

Casey Wilson is yet another example of a very funny performer who never found their footing on "Saturday Night Live" before receiving a quick boot. Wilson started at "SNL" in 2008, just after the writer's strike, and lasted for just one season. Her characters included a paralyzed stripper named Dusty Velvet and Toni Ward, co-host of a talk show called "The Cougar's Den." Wilson wrote in her book "The Wreckage of my Presence" that she realized "SNL" was not a fit for her, but that she was mortified when the press reported she was let go due to her weight. "I think we all have been in jobs that we know aren't the right fit for us, and so as much as you don't want your ego to take a blow of being let go or fired, it just never felt quite right," she wrote (via USA Today).

Wilson has emerged as a solid television star in the years since "Saturday Night Live," something she established as a standout on the three-season comedy series "Happy Endings," for which she was nominated for two Critics' Choice Awards. She has also had main roles in "Marry Me," "The Hotwives," "Black Monday," and "The Shrink Next Door." Wilson has not done as much substantial film work, but she has managed to make impressions in smaller roles in films such as "Gone Girl" and "Always Be My Maybe." Alongside fellow comedian Danielle Schneider, Wilson is also co-host of the popular podcast "Bi**h Sesh," a "Real Housewives" breakdown show.

Tim Meadows

Tim Meadows spent a decade on "Saturday Night Live," but just barely made our list since the majority of his tenure was in the 1990s. Meadows joined the show as a cast member in 1991, and he left in 2000, which was the longest tenure for a cast member at the time of his departure. Surprisingly, he was at one point fired before a quick rehire before the next season (via Paste magazine). Meadows was known for a variety of impressions, including O.J. Simpson and Tiger Woods, as well as his recurring character Leon Phelps, a horny talk show host known as "The Ladies Man." "The Ladies Man" was also spun off into a film in 2000.

Though he is not one of the most famous 2000s-era "Saturday Night Live" alums, Meadows has been steadily working in the two decades since his departure. In addition to many television guest roles, he has appeared as a main character on numerous series including "The Michael Richards Show," "The Bill Engvall Show," and "Schooled." On the film side, Meadows has appeared in fare like "Mean Girls," "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," "Grown Ups," and "Trainwreck." He also appeared in four episodes of "Space Force," and reprised his recurring role as Jonathan Glascott on "The Goldbergs."

Jason Sudeikis

When Jason Sudeikis started on "Saturday Night Live" in 2003, it was in a behind-the-scenes capacity. Two years later, he became a featured cast member, and he remained on the show until 2013. He has since returned numerous times, both as a guest and as host. Many of Sudeikis' stand out moments were in political sketches, where he appeared in roles such as President George W. Bush, President Joe Biden, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. His other standout characters included 1980s singer Ocean Billy and Officer Sikorsky in the" Scared Straight" sketches, as well as appearances as the extremely affable devil in a number of "Weekend Update" segments.

By the time Sudeikis left "SNL" in 2013, his film career had already exploded due to roles in hits like "Hall Pass," "Horrible Bosses," and "We're the Millers." He has continued to appear in movies in the years since — "Booksmart," "Mother's Day," and "Driven," to name a few — but has returned to television full time as the co-creator, writer, executive producer, and star of "Ted Lasso." 

Sudeikis won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on "Ted Lasso," one for producing and one for acting. He has another two nominations under his belt and, we are sure, plenty more to come. As of this writing, his next role will be in Charlie Day's "El Tonto," a comedic film about an accidental celebrity.

Amy Poehler

For eight seasons, Amy Poehler tickled our funny bones as a cast member — and perhaps one of the best utilized ones — on "Saturday Night Live." Poehler joined the show in 2001, and eventually started hosting "Weekend Update," first alongside Tina Fey and then Seth Meyers. She left the show in 2008 but has been back as a guest a handful of times. Poehler had a range of original characters that recurred on the show, including one-legged Amber, "Bronx Beat" co-host Betty Caruso, and Sally Needler, one half of a deeply unhappy couple. Her impressions were all great, but her Hillary Clinton has a special place in our hearts. Poehler received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her work as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live," and won another in 2016 when she co-hosted the show with Tina Fey.

Poehler has become a comedy giant in the years since "SNL," but she is probably best known for her Emmy-winning turn as Leslie Knope in NBC's "Parks and Recreation," which was on the air for seven seasons. Poehler's other television credits include "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp," "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later," and "Kroll Show." She has also established herself as a capable host — for the Golden Globes, "The UCB Show," reality TV series "Making It" — and producer, for series such as "I Feel Bad," "Russian Doll," and "Broad City." Poehler's work in film has been more sporadic, but she has had memorable roles in "Baby Mama" and "Sisters," and as the voice of "Joy" in "Inside Out."

Chris Parnell

In 1998, Chris Parnell was invited to join the cast of "Saturday Night Live" as a featured player. He was promoted to full cast member the following year, and he remained on the program through 2006. He was at one point fired by Lorne Michaels due to budget cuts but rehired half a season later (via Vulture). By the time he left for good, Parnell had established himself as a comedic heavyweight. His impressions included takes on Eminem, John McCain, and Fred Savage, and his original characters included Mervin Watson (a.k.a. "Merv the Perv") and boy bander Jeph.

Parnell has stayed busy in his years since departing "Saturday Night Live," and his IMDb page lists 179 credits to date. He has had series regular or recurring roles on "Suburgatory," "30 Rock," and "Big Lake," and has guested on many other sitcoms. As a voice actor, he has appeared in more than 120 episodes of "Archer," nearly 50 episodes of "Rick and Morty," and a plethora of other animated programs. Parnell's film credits include supporting roles in "Hot Rod," "The Five-Year Engagement," and the "Anchorman" films. Parnell is often cast as a secondary character, but he shines in even the smallest of roles.

Abby Elliott

Abby Elliott is a second generation "Saturday Night Live" cast member, as her father Chris Elliott was on the show for one season in 1994–1995. The younger Elliott lasted longer than her dad, joining the show in 2008 and remaining on the cast for four seasons. She was fired in 2012, which she told Elle she somewhat saw coming. "The week before, my NBC ID came off of my key chain and I had this premonition. I took it as a sign, and I'm not a 'sign' person," she said in an interview with the magazine. In the years since her departure, Elliott has continued to find work in comedy.

Most notably, Elliott has appeared as a part of the main ensemble on two sitcoms — Bravo's "Odd Mom Out" from 2015 to 2017 and then the one-season NBC series "Indebted" in 2020. She has also had recurring roles on "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Assistant," and has voiced roles for the likes of "Star vs. the Forces of Evil" and "Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh." Elliott has been less active in film, where her credits include smaller films like "Sex Ed," "Better Off Single," and "Clara's Ghost."

Horatio Sanz

Horatio Sanz joined "Saturday Night Live" in 1998, and he was the show's first Hispanic cast member (via Time). He remained on the program until 2006, at which point he was cut alongside a handful of others due to budget cuts (via The New York Times). Sanz was never the biggest standout on "SNL," but he certainly proved himself as a skillful comedic player over his eight-season run. His characters included vulgar cartoonist Jasper Hahn and Boston teen Frankie Hilbert, but Sanz was perhaps best known for cracking up during skits alongside his buddy Jimmy Fallon. His impressions of Elton John and Rosie O'Donnell were also notable.

After leaving "Saturday Night Live," Sanz went on to appear in televisions shows like "In the Motherhood," "Big Lake," and "Great News." He has also guested on many other programs and done a fair amount of voiceover work. Sanz has never established himself as a leading man in film but has popped up in smaller comedic roles from time to time. His credits include "Step Brothers," "Bachelorette," and "G.B.F." As of this writing, Sanz has one upcoming project — the coming-of-age dramady "Camp."

Bobby Moynihan

Bobby Moynihan spent nine years on "Saturday Night Live," appearing as a cast member from 2008 through 2017. Like most long-term cast members, Moynihan had a roster of recurring characters, which included erroneous reporter Anthony Crispino, elementary school student Liam, and "Drunk Uncle," who popped up on "Weekend Update." He also made his mark doing celebrity impressions, playing everyone from Danny DeVito to George Lucas, but his Snooki was by far the highlight for us.

Moynihan is currently a cast member on the sitcom "Mr. Mayor," which was co-created by "SNL" alums Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (Carlock was a writer, Fey a writer and performer). He also voices the titular character on the Comedy Central animated program "Loafy," a program he also created, writes, and directs. Moynihan is very active in voice work in general, having also provided speech for characters in TV series shorts like "Summer Camp Island," "It's Pony," and "Kid Cosmic," and on series such as "DuckTales," "Star Wars Resistance," and "We Bare Bears." Prior to appearing in "Mr. Mayor," Moynihan was a series regular on the series "Me, Myself and I," a CBS sitcom that lasted only a few episodes but was the catalyst for his "SNL" parting (via Entertainment Weekly).

Kenan Thompson

We won't go so far as to say we saved the best for last, but we certainly saved the most committed for last, as Kenan Thompson is the all-time longest running cast member "Saturday Night Live" has ever seen. He is also the only active cast member on our list, as he just cannot seem to leave the show — despite also currently appearing on the sitcom "Kenan," executive produced by "SNL" boss Lorne Michaels. Thompson began his "Saturday Night Live" career in 2003 and is still going strong. It is not entirely surprising that he loves it, given that Thompson got his start in Hollywood by appearing in the kids' sketch show "All That." For his work on "SNL," Thompson has received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning once for music and lyrics created for the show.

It would be impossible to detail all of Thompson's many contributions to "Saturday Night Live," but some of his most noteworthy recurring characters are a series of fake hosts — "Black Jeopardy" host Darnell Hayes, "What's Up With That?" game show host Diondre Cole, and "Cinema Classics" host Reese De'What. Though "SNL" has kept him busy for decades, Thompson has continued to appear in other projects at the same time. In addition to his current sitcom, he appeared in films such as "Fat Albert," "Clifford the Big Red Dog," and "Snakes on a Plane," to name a few. He also does a lot of voice work and has voiced characters in everything from "Trolls 2: World Tour" to "The Grinch."