Saturday Night Live is one of my favorite shows of all time, and has become sort of a weekly touchstone for me. During the writers’ strike of 07-08, there were other shows that were better, but SNL is probably the one I missed the most.
I’m also of the (seemingly rare) opinion that it’s better than it’s ever been. I think the recent decade was by far the strongest era for the show. People love to talk about how it isn’t as good as it used to be, but I think this is just a case of selective memory. It’s easy to talk about how great the original cast was or how hilarious the early nineties were when you are only remembering your seven or eight favorite sketches. Go back and watch the full episodes sometime and let me know what you think.
So, a few caveats before we begin. I have seen a lot of SNL, from every era, but I don’t claim to have seen, or to remember, every single sketch they’ve ever done. I’m particularly weak in the mid-1980s. Also, as I’ve said, the last decade has been my favorite, and it might seem like my list is weighted a little too much towards these cast members. But that’s why I say these are my favorites, and not the best. Lastly, this is not a complete list, but I tried to include any cast member who had any real impact on my enjoyment of the show over the years, for better or worse. Apologies to Ellen Cleghorne, Jerry Minor, and Nora Dunn. I remember all of you, but I don’t have much to say about you.
So, that said, let’s get started. Here they are, my sixty favorite Saturday Night Live cast members of all time.
60) Molly Shannon (1995 – 2001)
Oh, late-90s SNL. Other than Will Ferrell, it was all so terrible. I always particularly disliked Molly Shannon. All of her characters were sort of the same, and she didn’t seem talented so much as loud.
59) Victoria Jackson (1986 – 1992)
I thought I remembered hearing something about how Victoria Jackson was a crazy person now, and a quick trip to her Wikipedia page revealed that she’s a Tea Partier. Like a go on Fox News and say Obama is aspiring to be Fidel Castro Tea Partier. Here’s another illuminating bit of information from Wikipedia: “Raised by devout Christian parents in a home without a television, she was trained in gymnastics by her father from ages 5 to 18.” Hmm.
Anyway, I don’t remember anything she did being particularly funny, and her high-pitched voice is annoying. Add that to “crazy” and she winds up at number 59.
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