Author Topic: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members  (Read 30986 times)

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #90 on: March 28, 2015, 07:51:33 PM »
#17 Norm MacDonald

Era: 1993-1998
56 points on 6 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #12 (George Harrison)
Most Memorable Characters: Weekend Update Anchor, Burt Reynolds, Bob Dole, David Letterman, Larry King

In the book “Live From New York”, Don Ohlmeyer –who fired Norm- defended his decision by saying that he counted the amount of big laughs a joke got and found them wanting. He then asked, “Am I the bad guy here?” Yes Don, you were. Norm isn’t for everyone, and counting laughs is a fool’s errand. Not everyone “gets” him: Don didn’t, neither did Rolling Stone when they ranked him #135 and called him a Dennis Miller clone? I disagree; Norm wasn’t doing Miller, if anything he was a throw back to the iconoclastic tone of the original cast (it’s no surprise that Chevy loved him.) I thought Norm was brilliant. Maybe he didn’t pull in the ENTIRE audience, but those he did, like me, we laughed our asses off.

Buzzfeed ranked him the #1 SNL anchor and said: Weekend Update was made for Norm MacDonald. His dry sense of humor, cynicism, and delivery are what made him perfect for the job. He wasn’t afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, and he didn’t care if you laughed at his joke or not, because that was your own problem, not his.

Decider also ranked him the #1 anchor - Forget what we said about satirizing the news and working well with others. Norm Macdonald is on another plane. The guy took Weekend Update by the balls. He gleefully went after the figures that a network show like ‘SNL’ should never touch — and he got fired for it. Instead of living in infamy, Macdonald is now looked at as a comedy martyr. No one will be as cool, or as funny, or as punk rock on Weekend Update as Norm Macdonald. And it’s awesome.

Paste Magazine ranked him #20 overall and said...
For a live show SNL almost never feels dangerous. It’s turned into a well-scrubbed, well-heeled machine since Lorne Michaels came back in 1985. Norm Macdonald made the show feel dangerous almost every week during his Weekend Update segments. His deadpan delivery and willingness to shock revitalized the segment after the bland Kevin Nealon years, and his contentious, too-early exit was a black eye that turned me against the show for years. Macdonald wasn’t especially active in sketches, but his appearances were almost always highlights, especially his impressions of Bob Dole, Burt Reynolds and Larry King.

Weekend Update…


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #91 on: March 28, 2015, 07:52:04 PM »
#16. Jan Hooks
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Era: 1986-1991
60 points on 4 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (Cole Stratton)
Most Memorable Characters: Candy Sweeney, Anita the Waitress, Miss Connie, Sinéad O'Connor, Tammy Faye Bakker, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kitty Dukakis, Diane Sawyer

I didn't vote for Jan, but after watching the above video and about pissing myself from laughter, I'm thinking maybe I should have. I never thought of Hooks as one of my Favs, maybe because she didn't create a lot of her own characters. However, she did a whole bunch of stand out impressions: Tammy Faye with that streaked make-up used to make me howl with laughter, and her humorless Sinéad was a hoot and a half.

Paste Magazine ranked her #16 and said...
The dearly missed Jan Hooks remains far too underrated. In her years on the show she never turned in a weak or lackluster performance. She didn’t create many breakout characters, but she could effortlessly play any type of character in any type of situation. Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz and Mike Myers might have been the superstars during her stint on the show, but Hooks and her similarly versatile colleague Phil Hartman kept it running. Here’s one of her best skits, opposite Alec Baldwin...

Rolling Stone ranked her #26 and said…
One of the virtuosos — Hooks could play 18th-century aristocrats (on "Tales of Ribaldry") or a truck-stop waitress canoodling with Willie Nelson. It was rare in the 1980s to see a Southern woman on TV played by an authentic Southern woman, which is only one of the reasons the world grieved when Hooks died last fall. One fondly remembered moment: her sincere wince of pain during the "good nights" when Christopher Walken announced Atlanta had just lost the 1992 World Series. Sing on, Candy Sweeney.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 08:13:20 PM by George Harrison »


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #92 on: March 28, 2015, 07:52:26 PM »
#15. Amy Poehler

Era: 2001-2008
67 points on 6 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (anais.butterfly)
Most Memorable Characters: Update Anchor, Hilary Clinton, Amber the One-Legged Hypoglycemic, Kaitlin, Spy Glass reporter, Netty Bo Dance, Dakota Fanning, Betty Caruso

Amy was nominated twice for an Emmy in 2008 and 2009 for SNL.  My favorite character from Poehler is one that isn’t mentioned a lot, but I thought her know-it-all Dakota Fanning was a riot.

Paste Magazine ranked her #8 and said…
Amy Poehler could, and did, do it all on Saturday Night Live: high-brow (her years behind the Update desk), low-brow (one-legged Amber, anyone?), celebrity impressions (including everyone from Michael Jackson to Hillary Clinton), recurring characters (the hyperactive latchkey kid Kaitlin, Bronx Beat’s Betty Caruso). Even more impressive? Some of her funniest work came while she was nine months pregnant (the Palin rap and the “I’m No Angel” sketch). And like all the best SNL cast members, she’s only gotten better, moving on to deliver one of the great sitcom performances on Parks and Recreation. The Palin rap was accurate: Poehler’s an animal, and she’s bigger than you.

Rolling Stone ranked her #8 and said…
She got more amazing every year. She could do warmth, yet was always buzzing with a real don't-mess-with-me hostility never far from the surface. The ultimate pro — the way she read and responded to the people around her raised everybody's game. She revived the ancient concept that the "Weekend Update" anchor should also raise hell the rest of the show. Poehler and Fey have more chemistry than any SNL duo since the Blues Brothers. It's a tragedy if they don't host every awards show from now on.
Here's Amy playing one of the Bush Twins…
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 08:03:08 PM by George Harrison »


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #93 on: March 28, 2015, 07:53:20 PM »
With Samberg making the list, it’s a good time for this…

SNL Question of the night: Favorite Short - Digital or Film - old or new?

“Don’t Look Back In Anger”
I like the 70s for its quirky acts (Kaufman) home movies (which is how Mr. Bill got his start) and the odd -out of the blue- bits… like when they had 3 sisters lip synch and dance to a song. It was sometimes rough and tumble but that was all part of the charm and character of the show. And not everything had to deliver big guffaws - sometimes they’d just do these quieter character pieces. Don’t Look Back in Anger, about an aged John Belushi visiting the ‘Not Ready For Primetime Graveyard’, is the best of these character pieces.

Watching it today, I actually choked up a bit.  Knowing what we know: That John wasn’t the last surviving original cast member, but the first to pass away. It hits the heart.

The short, filmed in B&W, has its amusing moments, but it mostly gave Belushi a chance to stretch his acting muscles. It’s a beautiful, haunting film that closes on a positive note. You can see it here…

Johnny Unusual

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #94 on: March 28, 2015, 08:29:05 PM »
See, I really like Samberg and am not sure why he doesn't appeal to a lot of people.  He's not my favourite but he's pretty damned solid in my opinion (and is really quite great on Brooklyn Nine-Nine).  I've seen more of Forte on other media than SNL, but he's amazing in everything he does.  I was actually first exposed to him on Clone High, which is pretty great and Forte does an amazing job on the completely clueless Abe Lincoln.

Also, loved Norm MacDonald on Weekend Update, but I can also see how his humour isn't for everyone.  I love his beats that make his punchlines very abrupt.


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #95 on: March 28, 2015, 08:33:47 PM »
Samberg? I don't care for his delivery, his performance. I hate that smug look on his face. Things like "Jizz in my Pants" wasn't funny, but embarrassing to me, hell I didn't like "Dick in the Box" all that much. Sometimes performers just don't click for a viewer. Norm didn't for some people, Andy doesn't for me. (I tried to watch an ep from his TV series and couldn't get through half of it)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 08:36:37 PM by George Harrison »

Offline CJones

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #96 on: March 28, 2015, 09:12:01 PM »
You can put me in the "people who couldn't stand Norm McDonald on Weekend Update" camp. He seemed too pleased with himself all the time. I much preferred the more deadpan approach of Kevin Nealon. And yet, McDonald was still better than Seth Meyers or Colin Quinn.

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #97 on: March 28, 2015, 10:31:03 PM »
SNL Question of the night: Share a memory of a favorite sketch or sketches
“Dueling Brando’s” with Peter Boyle and Belushi is a special one for me (being a Brando freak), and there was Toonces, Synchronized Swimming, Matt Foley and “More Cowbell!”

Two that I remember fondly: the Land Shark, it’s an oldie but a goodie, coming at the height of the Jaws craze, my favorite movie at that time. This exemplified SNL at it’s most absurd…

And Julia Child bleeding out from a cut... that absolutely slayed me. And it’s another from Dan Aykroyd, as well as another from him that took me by surprise and left me breathless from laughter. It’s rather Pythonesque if you think about it. How something icky or violent happens, and it never stops. Like the Black Knight losing body parts or Mr. Creosote losing his lunch. 

Fave SNL sketches:
Cluckin' Chicken commercial (gah gah gah GOINK!)
Christopher Walken and Tim Meadows' Census interview (Meadows does such great straight man work in this one)
Synchronized Swimming (Hey you I know you, I know you!)
Star Wars auditions (Kevin Spacey does such great Lemmon and Matthau impressions)
Tom Brokaw pre-tapes President Ford deaths (Carvey is so good in this)
Chippendales / Matt Foley (Farley was so funny and committed in everything he did)
Debbie Downer (the only sketch I like where everyone can't keep it together)
...and anytime Stefan shows up on Update

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #98 on: March 29, 2015, 06:11:14 AM »
I feel like you chose that particular Samberg picture just to spite me.

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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #99 on: March 29, 2015, 10:25:08 AM »
I feel like you chose that particular Samberg picture just to spite me.

Now would I do that?  ;) Na, it just was a picture that fit the size specs I was trying to stick too (and didn't have to resize and save) Plus it made me laugh seeing him and Cage.

But I apologize for dissing your guy. While he might not be my cuppa I feel he certainly deserved to be on the list. At first no one was voting for him and I thought, "well that's going to suck if Samberg doesn't make it but RDJ does?" So I'm glad you and others came in and gave him a late push and got him on here.

* Well I'm going to try and post another round this morning, if my laptop cooperates. The Rifftrax forum is moving slow as  a slug for me this morn.


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #100 on: March 29, 2015, 10:27:08 AM »

Tonight's Host: #2. Steve Martin - 15 points
Steve’s gigs in the first 2 seasons were decent enough, but it was in season 3 where he really blew the doors off the place. Especially in his 3rd and final appearance of that year: In this ep Martin opened with one of his best monologues (a magician bit with Murray), then followed that up with a hilarious Festrunk brother’s sketch (where even Garrett Morris sparkled.) Next he debuted Theodoric of York, and after Update, danced with Gilda. Has any host had as brilliant a night, or one that added so much to the mythology of the show?  Throw in the first appearance of the Blues Brothers and a Nerds skit, and you also got one of SNLs greatest overall episodes. Steve came off as one of the gang, and is an important part of the shows history. He was so well loved that he hosted a total of 15 times. Martin was also the host who had the painful task of announcing the passing the Gilda Rader, which saw the performer visibly shaken.

The Festrunk Brothers…
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 03:25:34 AM by George Harrison »


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #101 on: March 29, 2015, 10:28:31 AM »
#14. Adam Sandler

Era: 1990-1995
68 points on 7 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (Fred Garvin)
Most Memorable Characters: Opera Man, Cajun Man, Canteen Boy, The Herlihy Boy, Tony Valencourt, Lucy the Gap Girl

Originally hired as a writer, Adam found his way on screen and was a member of SNLs “Bad Boys”, with Farley, Rock and Spade. Arguably the best music based comedian on SNL (I’ll take him over Samberg or Fallon any day), his goofy tunes -which featured amusing non-sequiters- where always a highlight. From “Lunch Lady Land” (featuring interpretive dance by Chris Farley) to the Chanukah Song and the Thanksgiving Song…  nothing (not even his recent film outings) can erase that goodness.

Rolling Stone ranked him #17 and said...
The ultimate "love him or hate him" guy. Sorry — Operaman alone would make him rank high on this list. Sandler was the first to get a Boston-Irish accent right on national TV ("Get into the faaah left lane, then take the Mass Pike west and you'll see a wicked-huge Radio Shack"), which made him a local hero, even if it set off a very unfortunate comedy trend. Weirdly forgotten historical footnote: Everybody assumed Sandler was gay, because his first memorable bit was about coming out to his family on Thanksgiving. That made him seem edgier than he turned out to be.

Uproxx ranks Sandler’s 9 greatest moments…


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #102 on: March 29, 2015, 10:29:38 AM »
#13. Tina Fey

Era: 2000-2006
80 points on 6 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (anais.butterfly)
Most Memorable Characters: Update Anchor, Sarah Palin

Before Fey returned to the show and uttered that timeless line, “I can see Russia from my house!” She was the shows anchor as head writer and Weekend Update mainstay -- and who seemingly had an instant rapport with whomever she was paired with, whether it be Fallon, and more especially, with Poehler; who was fire to Tina’s ice. 

Fey has been nominated and won numerous Emmy awards for both SNL and 30 Rock as a writer and performer.

Rolling Stone ranked her #3 and said…
You could argue that most of her onscreen contribution was "Weekend Update," but Fey did a lot more than salvage "Update" from a decade-long losing streak — it swiftly became the highlight of the show, as the entire franchise remade itself around the wry, sardonic, not-afraid-of-her-brain Fey style. She slapped SNL out of its late-Nineties coma. Suddenly the skits were full of ass-kicking women, just because Fey proved how much they could get away with. And her 2008 return as Sarah Palin might be the most brilliant move SNL ever made. Talk about a hot streak — it was a moment when all America spent the week waiting to see what Fey would come up with on Saturday.

Palin on Couric…


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #103 on: March 29, 2015, 10:30:29 AM »
#12. Chevy Chase

Era: 1975-1977
91 points on 6 out of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Fred Garvin)
Most Memorable Characters: Anchor of Weekend Update, President Ford, Land Shark, Mr. Spock

He might not always be a nice guy but he was a funny one. And while Weekend anchors come and go, for me, no one did it better than Chevy. He also did a great Mr. Spock, (who hilariously lost his cool after losing his ears). And had a slick little musical bit where he played “Very White”, a Barry White knock-off

In 1976 Chevy Chase became the first SNL performer to win an Emmy Award. He also returned to host 8 times

Rolling Stone ranked him #10 and said…
Strange as it sounds, Chase might be the most under-rated SNL player. True, he stuck around for only one full season, but so did Farrah on Charlie's Angels — it took him only one season to define the franchise. Of all the original cast members, Chase was the one guy who got how TV worked — the others were theater types. So if you check out the first episode, which is 80 percent unwatchable, Chase is the only one who knows how to stare right into the camera without flinching. He looks like a coldhearted bastard surrounded by a bunch of needy kids. But without that deadpan arrogance, the whole SNL style of humor would fall flat. (By the 12th episode, his castmates are doing jokes about how much they all hate him.) He was famous for his stumbling Gerald Ford impersonation, but he was even sharper and more merciless as Ronald Reagan, the only killer Reagan SNL ever had. Alternate-history question: If Chase had stayed on SNL, would he have sunk Reagan the way he sank Ford?

Weekend Update…


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Re: LOC #84: Top 50 Saturday Night Live Cast Members
« Reply #104 on: March 29, 2015, 10:31:03 AM »
#11. Jon Lovitz

Era: 1985-1990
96 points on 8 of 10 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Pak-Man)
Most Memorable Characters: Tommy Flanagan, Annoying Man, Master Thespian, Tonto, Mephistopheles, Harvey Fierstein, Michael Dukakis, Hanukkah Harry

Lovitz was a spacey-eyed goofball, Rolling Stone noted that he played slimeballs, but they were so childlike and non-threatening that you couldn’t hate them, all you could do was laugh. He also had several memorable catch phrases that people were always quoting.

Jon was twice nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1986 and 1987.

Paste Magazine ranked him #14 and said…
The 1985-1986 season infamously ended with the entire cast stuck in a fire. Lorne Michaels could save them all, but only rescued Jon Lovitz. Lovitz was the breakout star of that troubled season, and was at the vanguard of the late ‘80s glory days that saved the show. His pathological liar character, Tommy Flanagan, drove the catchphrase “Yeah, that’s the ticket” into mainstream pop culture, and Hanukkah Harry remains a beloved character despite only appearing in two sketches. Lovitz excelled at weasels and sleazebags, but was a talented actor and improviser who made almost every sketch he was in better.

Rolling Stone ranked her #19 and said…
During the final credits of the horrific 1985-1986 season, Michaels watches as Yankees manager Billy Martin sets fire to the dressing room. The only cast member Michaels pulls from the room is Lovitz. Good move. Lovitz didn't have the widest range, but he didn't need one – he knew exactly what he was good at: playing slimeballs, from his Master Thespian to his "yeah, that's the ticket" liar to the bewigged perv from "Tales of Ribaldry." Lovitz had the creepiest eyebrows in SNL history. Acting!

Master Thespian…