If there’s one thing I’ll always be grateful to my mother for, it’s that she exposed to comedy early and often as a child… it’s just a shame it didn’t have a bigger influence on my writing – WAH, WAH!

One of my favorite times of the week growing up was Sunday morning, when my mother and I would sit down and watch the VHS recording of Saturday Night Live from the night before. A tradition I still follow. Although, thank God, I have a DVR now!

The idea for this post came when I heard some people ripping on Adam Sandler. A guy who has come a long way since his stint on SNL. Becoming, in fact, a bonafide, bankable movie star. And that got me thinking about who the most successful stars to come from the show were. Now, realize, this is not a list of the greatest performers to ever take the stage at 30 Rock as a cast member. This is a list of the most successful stars to make the transition from SNL to the big screen and beyond.

I’m limiting this to 5, in order to allow for discussion but want to give HONORABLE MENTIONS to the following: Chris Rock, Phil Hartman, Tina Fey, Dan Akroyd, Chris Farley & Adam Sandler. They did not make my Top 5. Here’s who did (in order):


“Scotty don’t!”

I know in Hollywood, as well in the world of movie blogging, you’re only as good as what you did last. In Mike Myers case, that would be The Love Guru. How unfortunate…

Still, Mike Myers left SNL and delivered a solid film in So, I Married an Axe Murderer. He followed that up with, the most successful sketch turned movie, Wayne’s World. Which also turned in an enjoyable sequel. With seemingly nowhere to go but down from there, Myers knocked us all on our collective asses with the one and only Austin Powers. Myers has been giving us the most quotable lines for the better part of 20 years. If you can look me in the eye and say you’ve never looked at your girlfriend and uttered the phrases “Schwing” or “Do I make you horny, Baby?” then your nose probably just grew an inch. Not to mention his interesting turns and Studio 54 and Inglorious Basterds, coupled with the Shrek franchise… Myers has cemented his position as a star.


“Disturbing the peace?! I got thrown out of a window! What’s the fuckin’ charge for getting pushed out of a moving car, huh? Jaywalking?!”

A lot of people, especially younger people, don’t seem to remember or even know that Murphy was a cast member in the early to mid 80’s. A shame because he truly was one of the best performers SNL ever had. The fact that he made Joe Piscapoe so tolerable is proof of that alone.

True, Murphy’s career has taken a turn in recent years. Still, with a resume that boasts films like Bowfinger, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours & Coming to America, you have to be impressed. And props to him for realizing that his career was fledgling and wisely reinventing himself a star of PG kid films such as Imagine That and Dr. Doolittle. I realize there’s no forgetting Pluto Nash… all I can say to that is Delirious and Raw. Suck it!  


“Oh, it’s me, Dr. Rosenpenis.”

Oh Chevy, what the frack happened to you? I’ll admit it’s hard to see Chevy Chase these days. He’s just aged so poorly… I mean, he has, right?

Still, Chevy Chase has managed to hang around all these years and is still turning in good work… anybody else watching Community? Just me? Okay then… Regardless, Chevy Chase can hang his hat proudly on the body of work he has given us. A body of work that includes some of the greatest comedies ever including: Fletch, Vacation, The 3 Amigos and Caddyshack. I realize we’ll never be able to forget The Chevy Chase Show. All I can say to that is, “I’ll have a Bloody Mary and a steak sandwich and… a steak sandwich, please.


I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…”

In the 30+ years SNL has been on the air, I don’t think anyone carried the entire show on their backs the way Will Farrell did. Even when he wasn’t doing his go-to’s like the Roxbury guy, Alec Trabek or Harry Carry, he was filling in skits with moments of pure comedic genius.

Farrell’s career got off to a slow start but when it took off, it did so with a bang. I think Anchorman alone convinced us all Will Farrell was a star but year after year he continues to deliver. I’ve even enjoyed some of his off beat movie choices like Stranger Than Fiction and Winter’s Passing. Unfortunately, from time to time, you get films from him like Land of the Lost and Step Brothers… but, admit it, you still just like to watch him do his thing. Also, he just seems like a nice guy doesn’t he?


“Let’s show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown… THROW IT!”

I wonder if I’ll get support or dissent for my #1 but who cares? I think Bill Murray is hands down the best performer to come out of SNL. He has given us some of the greatest comedies ever including: Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Scrooged, Stripes & Groundhog Day. Murray’s biggest accomplishment though is his staying power. The fact that he’s still around and kicking is a testimony to the man’s ability. I know he’s also the man who brought us Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. But he also got an Oscar nomination… WHAT NOW?

Here’s hoping Ghostbusters 3 is frackin’ awesome. Who’s with me?

That’s it for now, Late Night Lovers.

Feel free to comment below. I never edit any of the comments. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.

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Check back Wednesday for our next post. Have a great week and remember… LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!!!


  1. I’d argue that Will Farrell is the #1 person to come out of SNL. Mostly because I like the way he looks without a shirt.

    • Farrell can’t touch Murray yet. Personally, I don’t think he’s surpassed Mike Meyers yet but I think he will.
      Also, if she keeps it up, I think Tina Fey will surpass them all.

  2. Bruce Wayne Says:

    I suppose it depends on your definition of succesful. Critical aclaim? Dan Akroyd won an Oscar. Box office? Probably the Shrek franchise. Legend? Possibly Belushi.

    One person you did forget, however. Conan O’Brian. I would have to say that, no matter how you look at it, one of the most successful SNL alum ever. The best years of The Simpsons, the best Simpsons episode (Marge vs the monorail), Late Night, a shelf full of Emmy awards and a big bag full of money.

  3. I wish Farley had more body of work – otherwise I think he would have been here. Funny to think that David Spade, Chris Rock, Dennis Miller, and Rob Schneider aren’t even top 5. And I think Dan Ackroyd should be – he’s been in LOTS of medium-size movies from Blues Brothers to Driving Miss Daisy.

    • I agree with your sentiments regarding Farley. It’s a shame. Funny because if he was alive he’s be in that new movie Grown-Ups instead of Kevin James.
      As far as Akroyd, I gave him an Honorable mention but I don’t think his star meter measured the guys on this list. He has some great stuff… some of it in the writing stages… some of it with a lot of credit to Harold Ramis.

  4. Great list and hard to argue with any of the picks. I would also argue that Will Ferrell is at this point a bigger star than Bill Murray, whose time in the sun ended like a decade ago. I do expect Tina Fey to overtake all those people in a few years top.

    • Really? I agree that Farrell is the hottest celeb on this list right now but not a bigger star than Murray… he just got an Oscar nom a few years back and is still turning in solid work! I think Zombieland would agree with me… haha… oops… SPOILER ALERT!

  5. goregirl Says:

    Bill Murray is my favourite SNL cast member of all time, I love seeing his name in the #1 spot!

  6. I’m with you on Bill Murray. I never got the appeal of Austen Powers, or Mike Myers. He’s just always been kind of awful to me, not even Wayne’s World.

  7. I totally feel like I’ve missed out on SNL. Every now and again over here we’re told that someone-or-other got their start on the show, but as far as I know the only way we’ve ever been able to see it is trusty old youtube.
    I didn’t even know Bill Murray was on it!

  8. I’m with Bruce Wayne – you’ve got to define success. In terms of total box office receipts, I can’t imagine that anyone would top Murphy, with Myers coming in 2nd (and Sandler probably making the list as well).

    And I’ll never forgive Murphy for “re-inventing” himself as a kiddie star – he’s become a joke.

    Also, it’s Ferrell, not Farrell. Sorry, that kept bugging me.

    • FLETCH ! I’m honored! haha 🙂
      My bad on Ferrell. I was basing it on star power at their height, duration, along with staying power.
      That being said I think Sandler would be my 6 and could arguably rival Mike Myers.
      PS. Bruce Wayne is his real name… crazy, right?

  9. strange.. you could argue very easily that none of those five are funny any more
    I love the way in the US that SNL is such a big deal and yet on this side of the atlantic no one really gives a shit about it
    surely there is nothing worse than seeing the words ‘The movie of the Saturday Night Live sketch’ on a poster these days?
    perhaps… ‘From the people who brought you Meet the Spartans’ – thats pretty scary
    oh, and ‘Vince Vaughn’.

  10. sorry Bruce Wayne, dont remember Dan Ackroyd winning an Oscar
    maybe he did at the Gotham City Academy Awards…

  11. great call on Monorail Simpsons episode though

  12. Love this post! I would’ve probably put Chris Farley into mine though, in place of either Myers or Murphy.

    Gota agree with Murray on top, though. Sure he slowed down this decade, but he did get an Oscar nom, and it sounds like he has an outside chance at one in “Get Low” this year.

    • Yeah, Get Low sounds great… Farley only misses this list because of his early demise. His resume can’t compare with this 5. I’d even put Sandler above him for the same reason!

  13. Steve Martin

  14. I’m pretty sure Ghostbusters 3 doesn’t have Bill Murray’s blessing…

  15. Seems like everyone on this list hasn’t comeout with anything good in a while lol and how can you leave out Adam Sandler

  16. Jennifer Says:

    I agree with your number 1. And one of the best lines from “Zombieland” is when Murry was asked “Do you have any regrets?” and uttered this before passing away, “Garfield….” Loved it.

  17. Mark Fuckerberg Says:

    Say what you want about the quality of flicks, but if this was based on money it’s Eddie Murphy all the way.. Mike Myers follows and then Sandler. Couldn’t find Chevy’s lifetime gross which makes me think it’s probably not substantial and would make Bill Murray at 1.42 billion and Will Ferrell at 1.4 billion is almost with a doubt ahead fourth and fifth respectively.

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