ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

Saturday Night Live is celebrating 40 raucous years of culture-defining hilarity, and we want to celebrate with them! The show premiered a 40th anniversary special on Sunday night and brought back some of the most timeless sketches and their now-famous performers.

Between the new incarnation of Matt Foley and Jane Curtin's bitter takedown of Fox News, the best part of the night was easily reliving four decades of memories that have become go-to references for any living, breathing human. Seeing some of the old cast members in their old digs led us to compile a list of what some of them have been up to since their days defining our Saturday nights.

Here's a sampling of some of my favorite cast members through 40 hilarious years of Saturday Night Live, including what they're up to nowadays.

Chevy Chase (1975-1976)

An original cast member, Chevy Chase had many distinctions during his brief time on SNL, including pioneering the first Weekend Update segment, starring in one of the funniest "word association" skits ever with Richard Pryor, and getting to say "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" all but one time.

His breakout success led to his status as the first cast member to leave the show, though he returned to host multiple times. His popularity led to major film roles in hits like Caddyshack, Foul Play, and National Lampoon's Vacation (along with its many sequels). For a brief stint, he had his own talk show. Most recently, he brought his trademark ego to [Community](series:714858) as a uppity moist toilette tycoon. Since leaving that show after a public fight with its creator, he is supposedly working on a new comedy project with our next SNL alum, Dan Akroyd.

Dan Akroyd (1975-1979)

As one of the first "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" (as the Saturday Night Live cast used to be called), Dan Akroyd was the youngest and often most intense member of the first bunch. Akroyd performed flawless impersonations (Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, etc.), originated the "Coneheads" and "Two Wild and Crazy Guys," and coined the phrase, "Jane, you ignorant slut!" His friendship with John Belushi led to The Blues Brothers, which has since become a cultural touchstone.

After leaving SNL, Akroyd wrote and starred in Ghostbusters and even got an Academy Award nomination for Driving Miss Daisy. In 2012, Akyroyd announced that he would be working on a comedy project with Chevy Chase, but no more info has come out of that yet.

Garrett Morris (1975-1980)

As another one of the original players, one of Garrett Morris's most recognizable characters is Chico Escuela, the Domincan baseball player with his stilted catchphrase, "Baseball...been berra berra me." In spite of how well-known some of his roles became, Morris expressed disappointment that he was frequently typecast in stereotypical roles, and many overlook his influence on comedy.

However, Here's a story that will really cement Morris' influence in your brain. In 1994, he got shot during an attempted robbery, and the criminal ultimately went to prison. Inmates, who were also huge fans of the comedian, took it upon themselves to beat up the robber as an act of revenge. Now that's star power.

Currently, Morris stars as Earl in the wildly successful comedy [2 Broke Girls](series:722490).

Jane Curtin (1975-1980)

Jane Curtin became the Queen of Deadpan when she co-hosted "Weekend Update" in SNL's early days (from 1976-80). She also became known for her role as the "straight-woman" to many of the outlandish SNL antics as well as for her role as the Conehead matriarch.

After leaving SNL, Curtin stayed on TV instead of pursuing a film career. She won two Emmys for her role as single mom Allie Lowell on Kate & Allie. Later, she starred in six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun, this time as the human to an alien family. Lately, she's had some guest roles in movies like I Love You, Man and [The Heat](movie:400337) AND the TV show [The Librarians](series:1244340).

Bill Murray (1977-1980)

Oh, Bill Murray. Probably the most beloved cast member to ever come out of SNL. Have you ever heard of anyone not liking this guy (besides Chevy Chase)?

After winning an Emmy for his work on Saturday Night Live, Murray has become one of the most successful and beloved SNL alums. He starred in comedy gold like Caddyshack, Stripes, and Groundhog Day, and eventually made the transition to more dramatic work in Lost In Translation, for which he won a slew of acting awards. In recent years, he's become associated with Wes Anderson films, starring in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Nowadays, Murray is so well-respected, he chooses whatever awesome projects he wants, like St. Vincent. Soon, we'll see him voice Baloo in a live-action Jungle Book.

Eddie Murphy (1980-1984)

Some viewers of Sunday's show dogged Eddie Murphy for his extremely brief appearance following a lengthy and heartfelt introduction from Chris Rock. However, we shouldn't let this one instant spoil Murphy's incredible and game-changing stint on SNL in the early '80s. A 19-year-old Murphy joined the cast at a time when Lorne Michaels, the show's guiding light, was taking a year off, and the cast did not have any standouts. Murphy went on to do shockingly progressive sketches like “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” and “White Like Me” before becoming arguably the cast's biggest movie star after leaving.

We may know him as Donkey from Shrek or even Norbit these days, but Murphy pretty much saved SNL in his heyday, and we wouldn't have seen many of the later comedians without his draw.

Martin Short (1984-1985)

Martin Short may have only been a cast member for one season, but he helped revive interest in the sketch comedy show after Eddie Murphy's departure. Short was best known for a character he brought to SNL from his days at Second City: his bizarre man-child and Wheel of Fortune fanatic Ed Grimley.

Following SNL, he went on to star in many classic comedies like Three Amigos, Father of the Bride, and Father of the Bride Part II. More recently, he has done voice work for Frankenweenie, Madagascar 3, and [The Wind Rises](movie:489255).

Dana Carvey (1986-1993)

Even if you weren't born yet, who could forget Carvey's legendary characters like The Church Lady, The Grumpy Old Man, and, of course, Garth Algar. Let's also not forget all of Carvey's amazing impressions, which really stood out when he got political with Ross Perot and George H.W. Bush.

After two Wayne's World movies during his time on SNL, Carvey had his own variety show for one season in 1996. He's reprised his presidential roles a few times for things like Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion, but Carvey has mostly been away from the spotlight in order to focus on his family.

Mike Myers (1989-1995)

The Wayne to Carvey's Garth, Mike Myers has had an exciting career since giving us the still-relevant sketches like "Coffee Talk with Linda Richman" and " Sprockets." Myers capitalized on his fame and went on to play the Bond-parody Austin Powers in three highly successful installments. Joining SNL alum Murphy, Myers voiced the titular ogre in all of the hugely popular Shrek films.

In 2013, Myers made his directorial debut with [Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon](movie:1082783), a documentary about talent manager Shep Gordon and his famous clients. The movie received a positive response, so don't be surprised if we see Myers behind the camera again in the future.

Chris Farley (1990-1995)

Chris Farley caused a sensation with his brash, energized comedic performances and became on of the "Bad Boys of SNL" with Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and David Spade. Farley starred in sketches that are still referenced constantly like the "da Bears!" of Bill Swerski's Superfans or dancing with Patrick Swayze in a Chippendale's scene. Following SNL, he made Tommy Boy and Beverly Hills Ninja. Sadly, Farley's career was cut short when he died at 33-years-old after a long struggle with drugs and alcohol.

Melissa McCarthy did a phenomenal job bringing him to life at the reunion, dressing up as his most famous character, Matt Foley. That sketch really brought home the kind of impact Farley has had, and, even though he passed away nearly twenty years ago, his passion for making people laugh still ripples through SNL's skits.

Adam Sandler (1991-1995)

Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Waterboy pretty much defined my childhood. Any time my friends and I could sneak downstairs to watch Adam Sandler yell at a swan faucet, we took it. Before he got the chance to define childish humor for a whole generation, Sandler was on SNL as a writer and then a featured player. Many of the funny songs we associate with Sandler, like "The Chanukah Song," he performed on the show.

Though he was supposedly fired from SNL, he has gone on to be a major Hollywood player despite earning divisive responses from critics and audiences. He has owned a production company called Happy Madison productions since 1999, which has produced all of his films aside from Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish.

Molly Shannon (1995-2001)

I had to include a couple people who were on SNL when I was growing up, even if it seemed like they were onstage not that long ago. Molly Shannon got her major start in 1995 and was one of the few cast members who stayed on when Lorne Michaels overhauled the cast in 1995. Shannon championed memorably loony characters like Sally O'Malley, and, Teri Rialto of "Delicious Dish," and, of course, Catholic school's resident superstar, Mary Catherine Gallagher. After leaving SNL, Shannon has had guest stints on many awesome projects like Marie Antionette, the short-lived Kath & Kim, and Enlightened.

Lastly, she's FIFTY. FIFTY YEARS OLD. Presumably, she likes to KICK, STRETCH, and KICK! And yes, I've waited my whole life to be able to say this accurately.

Will Ferrell (1995-2002)

Anyone from my generation knows that you can't bring up Saturday Night Live without giving a proper cowbell-fueled welcome to Will Ferrell. To me, Ferrell defined the comedy style of SNL for his entire tenure there, doing bang-up impressions of George W. Bush, James Lipton, and Janet Reno as well as creating legendary original characters like the male Spartan cheerleader, nightclubber Steve Butabi, and Tom Wilkins of Morning Latte.

Ferrell's time away from SNL is just as impressive. He wrote and starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Step Brothers. He's done some amazing voice work for Megamind and The LEGO Movie. Next up, find him in [Daddy's Home](movie:951380) with Mark Wahlberg.

Thanks for all the side-splitting memories, guys! Here's to 40 more years!

What are some of your favorite SNL skits from the past 40 years? Which reunion sketches stood out to you?


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