It’s one of the lasting institutions of American television. Beginning in 1975, Saturday Night Live is currently in the middle of its 41st season. And through highs and lows, triumph and tragedy, the show has provided more than its fair share of memorable cast members and classic moments. Let’s take a look at some of the more famous (and infamous) facts and trivia tidbits about the show, so you can regale your Last Call team at next week’s trivia show!
In 1975, Chevy Chase became the first person to utter the now-famous phrase “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” at the beginning of the premiere episode. Other original cast members included Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Garrett Morris, and Laraine Newman. Chase (whatever happened to that guy?) would leave after just one season, to be replaced by Bill Murray.
As of the start of season 41, there have been 142 cast members in SNL’s history. The youngest cast member? Anthony Michael Hall, at 17 years of age. Along with Robert Downey Jr, Hall joined the show for one season in 1985. The oldest cast member to join the show is current member Leslie Jones, who joined in 2014 at the age of 47 years.
Darrell Hammond has the distinct honor of being a cast member for the most seasons of Saturday Night Live. His 14-year tenure bests Seth Myers and Kenan Thompson, who check in at 13 seasons. This longevity contrasts with Catherine O’ Hara, who was hired as a cast member in 1981 but failed to appear in a single episode.
SNL is famous for its movie spinoffs, including The Blues Brothers, The Ladies Man, Superstar, and more. The highest grossing SNL is Wayne’s World, with a take of $180 million. The lowest grossing is It’s Pat, taking in just $60,000. Ouch.
Speaking of films, there have been six former cast members nominated for an Oscar in an acting category, though none have won the golden boy as of yet. The only actor to be nominated before appearing as a cast member is Randy Quaid (The Last Detail). The rest got their accolade after leaving the show: Bill Murray (Lost In Translation), Dan Aykroyd (Driving Miss Daisy), Joan Cusack (In And Out), Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls), and the only two-time nominee, Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin and Tropic Thunder).
Which was your favorite skit from SNL?