I think Armisen is a brilliant actor and so skilled. That said, I just immediately laugh at almost anything Oteri does. I love her energy.
Bill Hader (aka Stephon), followed by a tie between Phil Hartman and Gilda Radner.
Why is he not include but Jimmy Fallon is?
I choose Eddie Murphy, who brought the show back from the verge of cancellation, and who Lorne has absolutely nothing to do with.
Jimmy Fallon shouldn't even be in the poll. He broke character more often than not.
Will Ferrell brought out the best in everyone.
David spade and Adam Sandler worked so well as supporting players.
That's what SNL did the best. It took these huge personalities and had them work in ensembles that brought out the best in everyone.
There is a scene where Molly Shannon and Whitney Houston totally chewed the scenery with penny Marshall and I still remember how good they all were.
That's why we all watch it right!!!
Glda for her range of characters.
Current cast: Bill Hader, for Stephon and James Carville.
Stephon is the stupidest character in years.
No Martin Short? No Eddie Murphy? No Chris Rock. No John Belushi?
You are unworthy to create this poll.
Agree r17. No one can hold a candle to Hartman's Donahue.
No love for Melanie Hutsell???
Lorne has said that when a person names their favorite season of SNL, it always coincides with when the person was in high school. Basically, it's a show for 14-18 year olds. So if it's not funny, either you're too young or too old (according to Lorne).
So I will admit that my faves are Dana Carvey and Mike Myers. They ALWAYS made me laugh. And yes, those were the years when I was in HS.
Eddie Murphy is one-of-a-kind. No one on the show has ever come close to matching his charisma and likeability.
Delta, Delta, Delta, can I help ya, help ya, help ya?
Poor Melanie. She had that one sorority girl character, and that one expression (looks like she just smelled something bad). Then SNL had to drop the skit due to legal threats from the Tri-Delts ("Delta Delta Delta can I help ya help ya help ya?"). Movie franchise possibilities dashed...
She never recovered.
Dana Carvey, hands down.
Garth from Wayne's World
She also did a great Martina r24.
Gilda was the most lovable as well as greatly talented.
Phil Hartman's Prehistoric Caveman Lawyer always makes me giggle when I think of it. Kristen Wiig was pretty amazing as well.
No need for poll.
Closed, I said.
Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey, and Will Ferrell *were* funny as hell, too.
Looks like Mike Myers collapse is complete.
r28 He is the best! He used to be a caveman, but now he is a lawyer, unfrozen caveman lawyer! Kerok was his name and the clips of him pretending to be confused between cell phone calls, "Your honor, I'm simply a caveman who fell into a crevasse and was thawed out years later. Your world frightens and confuses me, how do I know the television isn't filled with tiny evil spirits..blah, blah..waitress, I'll have a Dewar and water please..anyhow, I move that my client should get five million dollars."
1. Dan Ackroyd
2. Phil Hartmann
3. Gilda Radner
I lurve Gilda to def, but 90% of her shtick is that befuddled character she did, like Lucy Ricardo Visits The Twilight Zone.
But it is a great character.
It was me you communist homosexuals!! Admit it!
Top 5 of All Time:
- Dana Carvey
- Bill Murray
- Eddie Murphy
- Jan Hooks
- Phil Hartman
I like jan hooks. But again she was on when I was in high school...
R44 none of those were my favorites...fail.
Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Will Farrell, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Danitra Vance.
The best ever.
Belushi was kind of a one trick pony for me.
Fred Armisen is so one-note, he is almost criminally unfunny. Have never understood why he is allowed to be there.
And no, I'm not Elizabeth Moss.
2. Mike Meyers when he was either Linda Richman or Wayne.
3. The "makin' copies" guy, but only when he was makin' copies.
4. The different "accent" skits. "Sully" and the Chicago ones were my favorites.
5. Lyle, the effeminate heterosexual
[quote]Lyle, the [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] heterosexual
The blank is filled in with "effeminate." That's not the "childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool."
R49 Try FMN8.
Kristen Wiig carried the show for two solid seasons. She is a workhorse, even if her characters by the end all started looking the same.
I remember when she first appeared in her Target Lady character, I was like, who is this crazy bitch?
Fred Armisen is another workhorse as well who's characters have made me laugh for years. His recent Regine character is hilarious.
Martin Short and Phil Hartman were the most brilliantly funny. Never found Belushi very funny and Dan Akyroyd seems weak, and not naturally funny. Tina Fey and Fallon are mediocre at best.Fey and Fallon are 95 percent ambition and 5 percent talent. The worst ever: Colin Quinn.
OMG,he was awful. Sarah Silverman is second worst.
snotty person who's dream was to be on SNL but now is way too old
r48, I actually typed that word in and it was replaced with "childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool." Why did this happen? I was not aware of any sort of DL banning of that word. What's the history there?
Ackroyd and Murphy and Hartman are the top SNL tier.
Murray is not far below them.
Good list R44. Murphy was great.
R4 is correct. Quite correct.
I voted for Phil, but was torn between him and Gilda.
Dana is, of course, up there, too.
I liked Gilda, but I always thought Jane Curtin was far better.
I wish Lorne would release a best of DVD on her. She has many gems that unfortunately don't get shown that much.
Again, no Eddie Murphy in the poll?
Phil Hartman was a huge loss. Every show he was on fell apart after he left. SNL, Newsradio, The Simpsons. I wonder how his sons are doing?
I would say the most manically inspired was Dana Carvey, the most lovable was Gilda Radner, and the most versatile was Phil Hartman.
r61 I agree. I am a huge Hartman and News Radio fan, I bought the complete series on DVD about 5 years ago and still have not been able to watch any of the episodes after Bill died. It's too sad and I'm sure the show sucked after that.
R6, you ignorant slut!
"The worst ever: Colin Quinn."
Well the question is who were the most brilliant cast members and that is different than just favorites or funniest, though it is all subjective.
Dana Carvey, Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, Martin Short and Akroyd were all wonderful at creating Second City type sketch characters that were pretty fully realized and recognizable and made us want more of them.
Others did some great skewed impersonations or were just funny personalities. Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell made me laugh for no good reason.
But to me brilliant means who was gifted enough to create characters with a sense of inner life and a reality beyond the sketches. "Acting!"
For me that means Phil Hartman, Eddie Murphy, Gilda Radner and Jan Hooks. Molly Shannon shyly there too.
I feel sorry that the poor tortured Darrell Hammond hasn't got a mention, because what he did he did very well.
Phil Hartman, Will Farrell, Bill Hader, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Martin Short
The original SNL cast remains the best of all.
WHat about John Belushi & Bill Murray?
And you can't leave Tina Fey off this list. Who made this list?
Followed by Mr. Bill and the Ambigously Gay Duo.
Tina Fey is the most brilliant talent to come out of SNL. Obviously.
Do you mean brilliant in performances on SNL or brilliant in general?
Chris Rock is an amazing comedian, but you never would have known it from his SNL days. They didn't let him do anything - the not particularly funny black power pretend talk show at the end of a progran and that was about it. I was shocked when he got out of there and I saw him doing stand up. At first I thought maybe the SNL thing was because he's strong at stand up but bad at sketch comedy, but sketches on the Chris Rock Show proved he can do sketch comedy just fine.
Eddie Murphy was the opposite experience for me. Loved him on SNL then saw his stand up and wondered what the hell happened. Putting aside the homophobia, I just found his stand up dumb and unfunny. It didn't seem like the same comic mind. Then I discovered the reason for that was that it really wasn't the product of the same comic mind. Eddie Murphy's SNL material was normally written by a group of three white people from the SNL writing staff, while his stand up was written by him. I find Eddie Murphy's brother, Charlie Murphy, funnier in his appearances telling stories on the Dave Chappelle Show than I found Eddie Murphy to be when he was saying his own material.
Al Franken is a brilliant political comedian and commentator (plus a great senator), but that's not a side he got to show on SNL. He was a long time SNL writer as well as a sometime performer, so I'm sure he was responsible for some of the political jokes made by cast members but most of the time SNL has restricted it's political humor to stuff that's fairly goofy and superficial.
Phil was the most versatile, the best at creating characters and died way too young.
Gilda was the first female SNL (and Lorne Michaels') star, so she became the model for the rest. She also died way too young.
Dying young is the easiest way to be remembered, I guess.
r71 is correct and the best of them was Scred.
The insanity that this idiotic sketch devolves to has always stuck with me and has made Will Forte and Kristen Wiig two of my favorites. Anyone who is that committed to going 100%, balls to the wall looney ranks high in my book. I don't know why I love this clip so much. It's almost torture getting through but the look in Will Forte's eyes at the end is the payoff for me.
Believe it or not, Will Forte is in Alexander Payne's next movie, Nebraska, shot in black and white. With Alexander's golden touch, he may very well be up for an Oscar this coming season.
Sketch comedians: Phil Hartman, Eddie Murphy
Weekend Update: Norm MacDonald, A Whitney Brown
Phil was the best.
Gilda, John Belushi (an ass, but brilliant), Dan Ackroyd, Eddie M., Dana Carvey.. Made up the next tier.
Jan Hooks, Jane Curtain, Garrett Morris, and others were solid performers.
Chris Rock was poorly used on the show.
Andy Samberg, Gilda Radner and Dana Carvey are my all time favorites.
SNL wasn't on the air when I was in high school.
Phil Hartman is my childhood favorite and my favorite of all time. Maya Rudolph was my favorite when I was a jaded high schooler. I didn't really like Tina Fey when she was on SNL but I love her now.
R83 - you're old.
Phil was my absolute favorite and yes, he was also the most technically brilliant cast member that show will ever have.
I love Radner but she always did characters that were, in essence, Gilda playing dress up. It's one of the reasons why she was such a flop in the movies. She couldn't realize a character outside of her comfort zone, i.e. herself.
In terms of range, depth of impersonation and sheer humor, Murphy is the unquestionable champ. And contrary to a post above, much of his material was not written by white guys. Most of the stuff he did during the horrid Doumanian era were improvised by him (the writers couldn't have come close to doing anything he did) and he later brought black writers in (some said they were just his cronies who got a writing credit while Murphy improvised the sketches).
Gilda was actually not very funny. Old f/hags here just like her because she was nice and then she died early from pussy cancer.
None of her skits are still funny today. Go watch them on YouTube and try to actually laugh.
Amy Poehler. She's brilliant.
Beyond that, Will Ferrell, David Spade, Phil Hartman (who I appreciate more for his work on the Simpsons), and Molly Shannon.
I agree that Gilda's stuff does not hold up well, but she seems like a lovely person.
Nothing on SNL holds up as well as Roseanne Rosannadana or Emily Latella.
Stupid list. Eddie Murphy and John Belushi.
Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Dana, Phil Hartman, Eddie Murphy, Andy Samburg, Kristen Wiig.
Guest hosts: Justin Timberlake, Martin Short, Alec Baldwin.
Why is Kristen Wiig not on the list? Easily the best female ever on the show.
THE BIG STORY:
I'm partial to Gilda Radner's depth, nuance, creativity, and success with material that would have strangled anyone with less talent.
DL should be banned from the internet.
Eddie Murphy is the obvious answer.
I won't judge the early years, as I wasn't born. But in my lifetime it's: Hartman, Carvey, Myers, Ferrell, Fey, Poehler (she probably doesn't belong, but I lurve her), Armison, Wiig.
I think the key to being the best is being versatile. Fey wasn't versatile, but she was so damn smart she belongs in the mix. Every other one on my list could do anything.
Phil Hartman and Jane Curtin...I wish Phil were still alive so they could play an acerbic married couple on a sitcom.
Chris Farley. He actually made the writers seem competent -- which makes him the Tesla/Orson Welles of hack sketch comedy.
Farley was not even close to as good as Belushi.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but not for SNL
Come up with a list of SNL greats and then compare it to a list of MADTV greats if you want some laughs.