20 SNL Cast Members Who Went on to be Huge

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If you love comedy, chances are you are an SNL fan. For over 40 years, Saturday Night Live has been a breeding ground for talented writers and performers, and often it’s the place where those people get their first big break.

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Dan Aykroyd got his start on em>SNL.

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One of the most successful SNL veterans ever, Dan Aykroyd wrote for and was a cast member in the very first season of SNL in 1975. He went on to write and star in the movies Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers. He even opened the music venue chain The House of Blues.

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Chevy Chase was also an original em>SNL cast member.

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You may know him from his Vacation movies or maybe, if you’re a little younger, as the old guy in the study group on the TV show, Community. Chevy Chase was also a first season SNL cast member who became a huge star.

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Did you know Eddie Murphy is an em>SNL alum?

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Murphy was the show’s biggest star form 1980-1984. Later, he went on to star in countless movies, voice iconic cartoon characters like Donkey from Shrek and Mushu from Mulan, and have an incredibly successful stand-up comedy career. In 2015, he received the Mark Twain Prize for Humor. Unfortunately, Murphy had a falling out with his SNL cast members, and they currently aren’t on speaking terms.

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Kristen Wiig has made it big, but her roots lie in her SNL days.

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Kristen Wiig was a cast member on SNL from 2005-2012, playing iconic characters like Target Lady and Gilly. Outside of SNL, she co-wrote and starred in the movie Bridesmaids, which was a huge success.

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Before he was Austin Powers, Mike Myers was on SNL.

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You probably know him as International Man of Mystery/Dr. Evil. But first, Mike Myers starred on SNL from 1989-1995, where he created and played tons of characters, including Wayne of Wayne’s World, which would later be turned into a feature-length film. Do you know which famous comedian was only on SNL for one season before they were fired for cursing on live TV? Read on to find out.

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Jimmy Fallon is now a music-loving late night host, but he used to perform music on SNL.

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Fallon was on SNL from 1999-2004. Jimmy was famous for his song parodies and accidentally laughing during every sketch.

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Another late night host also got his start on SNL: Seth Meyers.

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Seth was the head writer for SNL from 2001-2014, an impressive run. He didn’t appear in sketches but did appear on the Weekend Update segment.

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Did you know Jenny Slate briefly appeared on SNL for one season, but got kicked off?

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Jenny Slate was an SNL cast member in 2009, but on her very first episode, she accidentally said the f-word on live TV. She was allowed to finish out the season but wasn’t asked to come back the next year. She says the whole experience was humiliating, but she’s not sorry for the slip-up, there are much worse things on TV than curse words.

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You may think that Julia Louis-Dreyfus got her start on Seinfeld, but actually it was SNL.

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That’s right, before she was Elaine, she was a cast member on SNL from 1982-1985. According to Julia, she had a hard time on SNL. As the youngest female cast member ever, she felt in over her head.

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SNL was also a starting point for Larry David before he wrote Seinfeld.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus actually met Larry David while he was writing for SNL, which he only did for one season. Only one sketch that he wrote ever made it to air. David famously quit after that first season but then showed back up at work again as if nothing had happened. Very Larry David. More surprising SNL members on the next page!

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Would you be surprised to know Iron Man himself was an SNL cast member?

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Robert Downey Jr. was a cast member on SNL for just one season in 1985. He was called by Rolling Stone the worst cast member to ever appear on the show. He was let go after only one season, but it really didn’t matter much for Downey, who went one to be a huge star anyway.

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Anthony Michael Hall is a rare exception in which he was more famous before he was on SNL than after.

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He was already a star from John Hughes movies such as Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club when Anthony Michael Hall joined SNL. Hall appeared in the same season as Robert Downey Jr, 1985, and was also dismissed from the show after one year. Hall is still the youngest cast member ever to appear on SNL at only 17.

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Justin Timberlake certainly didn’t get his start on SNL, but it made people see him in a whole new light.

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Justin Timberlake was never an SNL cast member, and he was already famous for being in the boy band *NSYNC before he ever appeared on the show. But, his appearances on SNL helped boost his acting career and made people realize that he was a lot more than just a singer.

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Comedian Chris Rock got his start on SNL.

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Chris Rock was a cast member from 1990-1993. With the exposure Rock got from SNL he was able to launch his successful comedy career.

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John Belushi died shortly after his SNL career, but he was already on his way to huge success.

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Belushi was a cast member from 1975-1979. He went on to make a number of movies including the extremely popular Animal House. He died of a drug overdose in 1982 and soon after his brother Jim joined the cast of SNL. Bet you didn’t know this very famous female comedian was on SNL. Find out who on the next page!

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Bill Murray was an SNL alum, too.

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Murray was on SNL for three seasons from 1977-1980 before he went on to make huge hit films like Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Tootsie.

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David Spade got his big break on SNL.

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David Spade was on SNL from 1990-1996. He then went on to join the cast of Spin City and star in lots of big movies including Grown-Ups and The Emperor’s New Groove.

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Sarah Silverman was briefly on SNL.

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Silverman was on one season of SNL from 1993-1994. However, she was rarely on air and never wrote a sketch that made it on the show. She didn’t quite fit in at SNL, so she wasn’t renewed for another year. However, she made it big afterward with multiple stand up comedy specials and The Sarah Silverman Program.

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Joan Cusack was a briefly on SNL, too.

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Joan Cusack was on SNL for one season from 1985-1986. She was let go with a large group of cast members at the end of the season. Later, she went on to become a big movie star.

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Before he was the voice of Iago in Aladdin, Gilbert Gottfried has a brief stint on em>SNL.

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That’ right, the shrillest voice in Hollywood was once on SNL for only one season in 1980. SNL wasn’t quite sure what to do with Gottfried (is anyone?) and let him go a year later. Share this post on social media and see how many of your friends knew that these famous funny people once starred on SNL!

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