Hey, chin up, Noël Wells, John Milhiser and Brooks Wheelan! Getting cut from Saturday Night Live totally sucks at this point, but if it makes you feel any better, you’re in company of this crew.
5) Damon Wayans
Damon Wayans was a featured player on SNL for only half a season. He was fired midway through the 1985-86 season for improvising on a sketch (ie. he played a straight cop as a gay cop). Lorne Michaels didn’t like it and cut him from the team. In 1990, Wayans started his own sketch show In Living Color, co-created by his bro Keenan Ivory Wayans. It ran for four seasons and was later picked up for syndication. Seven years later, he co-created another show, My Wife and Kids, which ran for five seasons. Not bad, right?
4) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal was supposed to appear in SNL‘s very first episode, but his sketch never made it to air. He hosted the show twice before becoming a repertory player in in the 1984-1985 season. He did a few memorable impersonations (Jerry Mathers as the Beaver, Muhammad Ali, John F. Kennedy, Prince and Sammy Davis, Jr.) and was even nominated for an Emmy before leaving the show. From there, we’d get to see him in When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers and so much more.
3) Martin Short
Really? Martin Short was only on SNL for one season? Yes. He was a part of the 1984-1985 season with Billy Crystal. Actually, that season was full of brief stints and long-time member departures. Fresh off of Canada’s SCTV (briefly alongside Catherine O’Hara who almost appeared on SNL herself), his short run both boosted his career’s and SNL‘s reputation. Just after his time on the show, he’d start in Three Amigos with Steve Martin and Chevy Chase (who also had a two-season run on SNL), the role that would forever cement him has as the beloved comedian we know him as today.
2) Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman was featured in the 1993-94 season of SNL but it didn’t work out because she was just way too original to fit into the characters set out for her, said the show’s writer Bob Odenkirk. “She puts out stuff that she would appreciate and then you can like it or not—she doesn’t give a shit.” Although it took a while to pay off with a variety of small roles in TV and film, in 2007, she created The Sarah Silverman Program with Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab. It ran for three seasons and she literally was the show. Does creative freedom get much better than that?
1) Ben Stiller
What? Ben Stiller was on SNL?! Yes, for a four-episode run in the 1988-89 season. He joined at the same time as Mike Myers, and while Myers went on to become one of the greatest SNL players of all time, Stiller called it quits. Stiller got the gig after SNL aired one of his video shorts, but when they showed a lack of interest for more shorts, he left. After a failed attempt as his own sketch show (The Ben Stiller Show), he took the film. He made his directorial debut with 1994’s Reality Bites, shortly followed by The Cable Guy, and in 1998, when he starred in There’s Something About Mary, he’d won us all over.