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The 7 Best And 7 Worst SNL Weekend Update Anchors Ranked

Weekend Update is one of the longest-running and most successful segments in "SNL's" history. A refreshing break from "SNL's" sketch format, the segment shifts the tone from the usual absurdity of the show's sketches to a more parodic spoof on strait-laced news programs.

Having been first introduced to "SNL" programming way back in 1975, Weekend Update quickly became one of the most popular aspects of "SNL." The satirical tone of the segment and the deadpan delivery of its anchors ultimately led to Weekend Update earning a regular time slot on "SNL."

Since its creation, Weekend Update has had some of "SNL's" most talented comedians serve as anchors, from segment co-creator Chevy Chase to current hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. Given how long the segment has been on "SNL," though, a number of less-than-stellar anchors have headlined Weekend Update over the years as well.

From short-lived hosts in the 1980s to "SNL" stars whose names will forever be synonymous with the news program, here are some of the best and worst Weekend Update anchors the show has ever had.

Worst: Brad Hall

After the departure of "SNL" creator and producer Lorne Michaels in 1980, the new executives at "SNL" struggled to find a proper presentation for Weekend Update on the show. Settling on such rebranded names as SNL NewsBreak and Saturday Night News, the segment alternated between several anchors from 1981 to Michaels' return in 1985. One of these anchors would be Brad Hall, an "SNL" cast member who voiced Saturday Night News from 1982 to 1983.

Known for his signature sign-off phrase, "Thanks for coming out in the rain," Hall was a fairly decent anchor on "SNL" who might've fared better had there been more stable leadership during his days on the show. At the time, "SNL" was still trying to figure out how to carry on in the wake of Michaels' departure. Hall's youthful delivery and overt enthusiasm gelled poorly with the largely unfunny scripts he was meant to read off of.

If he'd been an anchor during Michaels' time on the show, he might've thrived, but unfortunately, like many other aspects of "SNL" in the early 1980s, he merely flopped. His time as host was a little lengthier than fellow '80s anchors like Brian Doyle-Murray, but that doesn't mean it was much better.

Best: Jane Curtin

Jane Curtin remains one of the unsung heroes of "SNL." As one of the original cast members on the show, she brought a good deal of grounded, more sarcastic humor that more manic cast mates could effectively bounce their energy off of. For an illustration of just how strong a feature player she was on "SNL," you don't have to look much farther than her stint as the host of Weekend Update in the late 1970s.

Filling the immense hole left by Chevy Chase after Chase's "SNL" departure in 1976, Curtin carried Weekend Update from 1976 to 1980. Whether she was reporting on her own or alongside co-anchors like Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray, Curtin helped secure Weekend Update's place on "SNL" with Chase no longer there to headline.

Thanks to Curtin's matter-of-fact delivery of the news, Weekend Update evolved into something bigger and better by having two anchors co-host. Without Curtin, who knows if Weekend Update would've survived as long as it has (and of course, we never would've gotten the oft-quoted "Point/Counterpoint" between Curtin and Aykroyd that has become so universally beloved today).

Worst: Kevin Nealon

To be fair, Kevin Nealon had a tough act to follow after Dennis Miller, the incredibly entertaining anchor of Weekend Update after the program's return to "SNL" in 1985. Taking over the position of host in 1991, Nealon adopted a straight-man approach. However, while other hosts like Norm Macdonald thrived with their expressionless reading of the news, Nealon frequently fell flat, lacking the necessary charisma or confidence in his reporting.

During his time on "SNL," Nealon was always a good supporting cast member, acting as a natural foil for the cartoonishness of high-strung cast members like Chris Farley or Adam Sandler. On his own, though, he didn't have the skills to glide through an entire bit as effortlessly as Miller or Macdonald on Weekend Update.

Nealon did have some shining moments during his tenure as anchor. His regular pairings with Adam Sandler's variety of wacky characters like Opera Man were consistently entertaining, even if Nealon was regularly outshined by his cast mates.

Best: Jimmy Fallon

Say what you will about Jimmy Fallon and his at-times annoying habit of laughing in the middle of a sketch, his stint on Weekend Update remains perhaps the crowning achievement of his time on "SNL." Co-hosting the program alongside Tina Fey, Fallon helped reinvigorate the segment with a much-needed dose of silliness after Colin Quinn's dry take on the program. Their onscreen antics helped make Weekend Update entertaining again, with the two leads injecting lighthearted humor in the program that rarely failed to get a laugh (even if it was Fallon's own).

Unlike some prior hosts, they didn't try to strictly play the buffoonish newsreader but instead tried adding their own spin to their onscreen characters. Between their serious attire and penchant for breaking down in giggles, it was like watching two kids pretending to read the news, the two of them having a level of chemistry that has yet to be fully duplicated since on Weekend Update.

While Fallon no doubt owes a big debt of gratitude to his hilarious partnership with Fey, he still managed to find the ideal place for his talents with his hosting gig. His tendency to break character might not have been a good fit for "SNL's" sketches, but his incessant laughter made the already surreal news stories that much more ridiculous and hard to believe.

Worst: Brian Doyle-Murray

When producer Duncan Ebersol took over at "SNL" in 1981, he overhauled the usual brand of programming Lorne Michaels had established in the late '70s. This included repackaging Weekend Update into SNL NewsBreak, with Brian Doyle-Murray being the first cast member seated behind the news desk.

The elder brother of former Weekend Update anchor Bill Murray, Doyle-Murray was one of "SNL's" veteran players during its 1981 to 1982 season. Previously, he'd been a feature player alongside brother Bill in Season 5 before transitioning to a writing position in Season 6. When he finally returned in front of a camera, though, Doyle-Murray had a difficult time filling in the same seat previously held by "SNL" giants like Chevy Chase or Jane Curtin.

He did a decent enough job making NewsBreak mildly interesting, but it was clear "SNL" was still struggling to figure out how to present NewsBreak after its rebranding. Initially, he was partnered with Mary Gross, before acting as sole anchor for a short time, only to later be paired with Gross once again. Finally, he was teamed with Christine Ebersole for the rest of the season. As a result of this continuous shuffle of anchors, Doyle-Murray's hosting suffered tremendously. If "SNL" had doubled down and taken a chance on him for longer, he might've worked out. But sadly, it was clear they didn't know how to use him, sticking in partnerships that lacked any kind of onscreen camaraderie.

Best: Seth Meyers

After a prolonged period that saw several pairs of co-anchors overseeing Weekend Update, the segment was turned over to Seth Meyers, who acted as the program's first solo host in nearly a decade. While other, lesser talents might've buckled under the pressure, the confident, intelligent, charismatic Meyers soared. Whether he was on his own or appearing alongside co-anchor Amy Poehler (with whom he was initially paired for two years) or any number of "SNL's" strange breed of recurring characters, Meyers consistently delivered laughs on a weekly basis.

His solo work is entertaining enough, but it's Meyers' interactions with his fellow "SNL" cast members on the set of Weekend Update that made him such a strong and memorable anchor during his five-year stint on the segment. His recurring "Really!?! with Seth" bits saw him perform opposite such stars as Jerry Seinfeld and Kermit the Frog, all to tremendous effect.

However, it's his relationship with his onscreen lover, Stefon (played by a side-splittingly funny Bill Hader) that continues to define Meyers' time on "SNL." Together, Hader and Meyers pushed the boundaries of Weekend Update characters in radically different directions, creating an odd, practically cinematic romance story that lasted for years. It was new, it was weird, but we loved it all the same.

Worst: Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn himself probably summed up his time on Weekend Update best with the first joke he made upon assuming hosting duties of the segment. "Have you ever gone to a bar and found that your favorite bartender was replaced with a guy named Steve? Well, I'm Steve, what can I get you?" Taking over the news desk from his good friend, Norm Macdonald, Quinn had a tough act to follow and he knew it. And unfortunately, he was right: few hosts would've been able to measure up to the late great Norm Macdonald.

Quinn has always been a gifted standup comedian known for his everyman characters, but his comic skills just didn't fit the Weekend Update mold. He tried his best, standing in sharp contrast to the usual breed of preppy, handsome, sarcastic anchors like Chevy Chase or Charles Rocket, but it never felt quite right when it came to his new readings.

A wonderful comic and natural storyteller, Quinn excels in front of a crowd; stick him in a suit and place him behind a desk, and the results aren't nearly as great. Still, you have to admire Quinn's work ethic and genuine attempt at hosting. Unlike some other hosts, he tried to do his own take on Weekend Update, nonchalantly shrugging whenever a joke didn't elicit laughter from his audience.

Best: Amy Poehler

Like her frequent onscreen partner in crime Tina Fey, Amy Poehler is often regarded not only as one of the greatest Weekend Update anchors there is, but also one of the best "SNL" cast members of all time. Her comic ability allowed her to do almost anything. She could take center stage in a skit and make it interesting or appear as a supporting player. She could hold your attention in a monologue and could do equally well when paired with a castmate. There's no better illustration of Poehler's immense comedic capabilities than her time on Weekend Update, first as a co-host with Tina Fey and later with Seth Meyers.

Watching Fey and Poehler on Weekend Update together was like watching two best friends trying to tell a joke without breaking a smile. Whenever they shared a screen, they could inject enough lighthearted banter into their news reading to elevate the driest material into something worth laughing at. You could tell they were having fun during their time together, and that infectious joy spread easily to the viewers.

After Fey left "SNL" in 2006, Poehler continued to excel on Weekend Update with Meyers by her side. The pairing wasn't quite as great as Poehler and Fey's, but Poehler still brought the same boisterous, wound-up energy she'd take with her to "Parks and Recreation" in 2008.

Worst: Cecily Strong

In Seth Meyers' final year on Weekend Update, "SNL" decided to have cast member Cecily Strong assume co-hosting responsibilities with Meyers for the remainder of his time there. While it was clear Strong was being positioned to take over hosting duties for Meyers, allowing for a smoother transition in between anchors, the pairing just didn't feel as natural as previous duos like Fey and Fallon or Meyers and Poehler.

Following Meyers' departure, Strong remained on Weekend Update as co-anchor with new arrival Colin Jost for the rest of 2014. However, this new partnership of Strong and Jost wasn't much of an improvement over the duo of Strong and Meyers. An undeniably gifted comic, Strong's talent has always been playing eccentric characters in sketches, and having her in the role of straight-faced newsreader felt like a massive waste of potential.

Viewers began to miss out on any one of her amazing performances as Michael Che's unhinged neighbor, Cathy Anne, or the aptly named The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party. Perhaps realizing just how unnatural the fit was, Strong ultimately returned to the ensemble cast after a single season hosting Weekend Update, making way for Michael Che.

Best: Chevy Chase

The first anchor to ever grace the Weekend Update stage, without Chevy Chase, there'd be no segment. Not only is he responsible for helping create the segment in the first place, but he also set an unbelievably high bar for pretty much every Weekend Update anchor that followed, with his neat suit, collegiate appearance, and endlessly sarcastic delivery. No anchor has ever come close to capturing the same magic Chase had when he first established the segment on "SNL."

That Chase only acted as the anchor on Weekend Update for a single year is proof of just how influential his time on the segment was. From the moment he uttered his famous opening lines ("I'm Chevy Chase... and you're not"), viewers knew they were in for something distinct from "SNL's" other sketches. The popularity of the recurring segment almost directly led to Chase becoming the first breakout "SNL" star, as well as giving us so many famous quotes during his time on the segment — such as his parting words, "That's the news. Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow."

Chase was always brilliant in "SNL's" sketches, but it was Weekend Update that made him something more. Influencing nearly every anchor that's come after, Chase has even claimed the format and tone of the segment even had some critical bearing on famed comedic news programs like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" years later. He didn't just set the standard for Weekend Update; he invented it.

Worst: Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest is one of those remarkable individuals who got better after he left "SNL." Achieving widespread success after his departure with projects like "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show," Guest's time on "SNL" was largely forgettable. Appearing on the show for a mere single season, Guest was the final host of the short-lived Saturday Night News from December 1984 onwards.

One of the rare cast members to have already made his mark outside of "SNL" thanks to his performance in "This Is Spinal Tap," Guest should've been an ideal fit for the show, as well as a valuable addition to the Saturday Night News desk. Surprisingly, Guest's constant deadpanning seemed to venture more into plain boredom, with Guest almost appearing disinterested in what he was reading or with whom he was interacting on-set. The result felt like less the usual brand of silliness one associates with Weekend Update than it did an actual hard-news program, achingly out of place on a show like "SNL."

After NBC brought back Lorne Michaels for the 11th season of "SNL," Guest — like most of his fellow cast mates at the time — was ousted from the show, with Weekend Update eventually making its return with Dennis Miller hosting. It just goes to show that, even with a great talent seated in the chair, not everyone is cut out for Weekend Update.

Best: Norm Macdonald

Even with how many hosts have been on "SNL" over the years, no one — repeat, no one — comes close to doing what Norm Macdonald did on the show. In his three-year run on Weekend Update, Macdonald introduced a level of complete unpredictability when it came to the jokes you could make on the segment. Mixing dark comedy, surrealist jokes, and shock humor into his routine, Macdonald gave the appearance of someone who didn't really care if the audience found his bits amusing — all that he cared about was whether he was having fun.

Throughout his time on Weekend Update, Macdonald pushed the envelope in terms of things you could joke about. Covering subjects that other hosts might have steered clear of for the sake of their career, Macdonald tackled controversial topics head-on, delivering jokes that were hilarious to most viewers but irked NBC executives. At any point during his weekly segment, you got the impression that Macdonald might deliver a joke so shocking that he might actually get himself fired — which, unfortunately, ended up being the case at the end of 1997.

As brave a performer as any comedian that's appeared on "SNL," Macdonald didn't comprise with his humor or tell jokes the audience or his superiors expected to hear. Pushing the boundaries of late-night TV content, it seemed that he was constantly trying to find the one joke too shocking for audience members to handle. His brand of comedy was an unexpectedly delightful addition to Weekend Update, with few comedians even coming close to repeating what Macdonald had achieved in the mid-1990s.

Worst: Charles Rocket

When he was hired for the 1980 season after the departure of the original cast and producer Lorne Michaels, Charles Rocket was slated to become "SNL's" next breakout star. According to Doug Hill and Jeffrey Weingrad's "Saturday Night," "SNL's" replacement for Michaels, Jean Doumanian, likened Rocket as a comic on par with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. With his natural good looks and his previous experience as an actual news anchor, Rocket was the seemingly perfect person to take over the Weekend Update news desk for "SNL's" sixth season.

For as excited as NBC executives were about Rocket's casting on the show, though, "SNL's" 1980 season was nothing short of a disaster. Mired by subpar writing and poor direction without Michaels there to guide them, the show's new cast received mixed reviews, performing in otherwise unmemorable sketches. Rocket himself was an amusing enough anchor on Weekend Update, but like many other weaker hosts we've highlighted on this list, his time on the show coincided with an unstable period in "SNL's" history.

With his gravitas speaking voice and campy annunciation, Rocket played a great air-headed reporter that takes himself far too seriously. His recurring Rocket Report segments that saw him go on mundane trips through New York City also provided some of his strongest moments on the show. However, amid disappointing ratings and negative reception for the new cast, Rocket's time "SNL" came to an abrupt and premature end after he accidentally cursed in a 1981 sketch parodying "Dallas," leading to his dismissal from the show.

Best: Tina Fey

Tina Fey remains one of the most talented comics to ever perform on "SNL." From her years spent writing for the show to her incredible impersonations, she was one of the most nuanced comedians to ever grace "SNL's" stage, every bit as gifted in front of the camera as she was behind it. For as great as she was in regular sketches or in her celebrity impersonations, it's her stint on Weekend Update that continues to define her time at "SNL."

Originally introduced as a co-anchor with Jimmy Fallon, Fey brought a good deal of lighthearted energy to Weekend Update that managed to reinvent the program in the early 2000s. As great as her chemistry was with Fallon, though, it was with Fallon's successor, Amy Poehler, that made Fey a true joy to watch on screen. Together, the two made for the perfect duo, on par with other legendary "SNL" teams like Belushi and Aykroyd or Spade and Farley. With Fey's dry wit and Poehler's zanier personality, the two struck comedy gold the likes of which few Weekend Update co-anchors had ever found before.

No matter which co-anchor she was saddled with, Fey always managed to bring something new and unexpected when it came to Weekend Update. She could deliver long, layered jokes without cracking a smile or breaking, or excel in bits with recurring characters without being overshadowed. Several anchors have come after her, but there remains only one Tina Fey.