'90s SNL Favorites: Where Are They Now?
Back in the old timey days of the '90s, Saturday Night Live was a hotbed for funny people. SNL in the 1990s was a treasure trove of talent and a lot of the cast went on to become big deals. What are your favorite '90s SNL cast members up to today? Well obviously Will Ferrell is everywhere, being hilarious. But how about Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri? Let's find out!
For those of you who have never stopped watching SNL and for those who think that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler invented it, listen up. These are the greatest, most memorable '90s SNL cast members, including what made them famous (or why they flamed out) on the sketch comedy show, and what they're up to now.
Saturday Night Live in the 1990s was full of colorful characters and some of the best SNL cast members of all time came through during the decade. But what happened after they left the cast? Many have had successful film careers, while others are all over your televisions. A few have sadly passed on, but all are remembered fondly for their time on one of the best TV shows of all time. So let's take a look at where the best '90s SNL cast members are today!
Then: Adam Sandler had small roles on The Cosby Show and bits on the MTV game show Remote Control. His first film, 1989’s Going Overboard, wasn’t that good, but his standup was getting him noticed. Dennis Miller saw his act and recommended him to Lorne Michaels, who brought Sandler on to the show.
Looking at his work on Saturday Night Live, one could see Sandler’s career going either way. The audience either loved the guy or wanted him dead. Whether he was doing "The Chanukah Song" or Opera Man, Sandler laughed at himself all the way through every bit. Sandler and Chris Farley got fired at the same time in 1995, proving that doing your own thing on SNL is not always the best idea.
Now: Sandler jumped right into films after leaving SNL, first appearing in Coneheads and then Airheads with Brendan Fraser. After getting panned in Billy Madison, Sandler continued on, unfazed. He has proven to be so bulletproof, he’s survived making some of the worst-reviewed films such as Little Nicky, Jack and Jill, Blended, and both Grown Ups films.
Why? There are a ton of teenage boys who will watch those films and there are a ton of discerning adults who loved Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Spanglish, Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, Men, Women & Children, not to mention the recent sensation, Uncut Gems. It’s this wild swing in projects that makes Sandler still interesting and watchable. Plus, no matter how much money or how many flops he makes, audiences consider Sandler a highly-watchable, regular Joe hero.
- Age: 56
- Birthplace: New York City, New York
Then: Cheri Oteri is from a music publishing family and worked at A&M Records for four years before joining The Groundlings in Los Angeles. Oteri joined the SNL cast in 1995, at the same time as the mass exodus of Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and others.
On a show filled with and run by dudes, Oteri always held her own. Her Arianna and Cass Van Rye opposite Will Ferrell made them both stronger. Her Barbara Walters and Judge Judy still rule. Oteri brought that hint of Carol Burnett and that touch of old school chutzpah that audiences couldn’t get enough of.
Now: Oteri has spent her post-SNL years making films and voice acting in Liar Liar, Scary Movie, Southland Tales, Grown Ups 2, and Shrek the Third. She’s also keeping busy, appearing on The New Normal, Hot in Cleveland, and Sit Down, Shut Up.
- Age: 60
- Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
- Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC
Then: Phil Hartman was plucked from The Groundlings in Los Angeles to join the SNL cast and was an instant hit. Because he had a huge inner comedy well to draw from, he could be called upon for a hilarious Bill Clinton or his original Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer plus myriad others.
Hartman played memorable characters on NewsRadio, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and So I Married An Axe Murderer. He was also an essential voice on The Simpsons. Hartman was just hitting his stride as a contributor to projects far and wide when it all abruptly ended.
Now: Unfortunately for the world, Hartman is no longer with us. In 1998, Hartman’s third wife, Brynn Hartman, shot him with in the head while he slept. Hartman is still talked about with reverence among fans and fellow comedians, with many wondering what might have been.
- Age: Dec. at 49 (1948-1998)
- Birthplace: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Then: The Groundlings alum helped define SNL in the '90s and essentially saved the sagging franchise with his infectious energy and flair for the unexpected. He was a team player alongside cast mates, but his George W. Bush, Harry Caray, Marty Culp, Craig Buchanan, James Lipton, Janet Reno, Alex Trebek, and fictional Blue Öyster Cult Gene Frenkle made him a household name.
Now: Besides returning to host SNL, Ferrell has had a hugely successful run of films from Old School, Elf, Zoolander, Blades of Glory, Brothers, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to a surprising turn as a dramatic actor in films such as Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go. He’s also a popular voice actor with titles that include The Lego Movie, Megamind, and The Oblongs. Ferrell and producing partner Adam McKay (a former SNL head writer) also created the comedy video website Funny or Die in 2007.
- Age: 55
- Birthplace: Irvine, California, United States of America
Then: Chris Rock was already on the standup scene when he got the attention of Eddie Murphy back in the '80s. Rock had a small role in Beverly Hills Cop II. Shortly thereafter, Rock joined the cast of Saturday Night Live and his stint there was an exercise in frustration.
Although he had some pretty funny recurring characters including Nat X, Onski, and Buster Jenkins, plus impressions of Eddie Murphy, Flavor Flav, Ugandan President Idi Amin, and Whoopi Goldberg, Rock quickly tired of playing token characters. Given his long and impressive standup background, Rock felt more at home with his poignant topical and political rants as a guest at the Weekend Update desk. He left SNL to join the cast of In Living Color and even though the show didn’t last, it was a bridge to Rock’s real strength, main stage standup.
Now: Rock has returned to host SNL, though the format arguably still cannot contain a guy like Chris Rock. The multiple Emmy-winner and producer has brought some excellent comedy to the screen with TV shows, including Everybody Hates Chris, The Chris Rock Show, and The Hughleys.
Rock has produced engaging documentaries that include Good Hair and Eat Drink Laugh: The Story of the Comic Strip as well as untouchable standup specials such as Bring the Pain, Bigger & Blacker, Kill the Messenger, and Never Scared. His feature films have met with more mixed success.
- Age: 58
- Birthplace: Andrews, South Carolina
- Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC
Then: The lovable soul in an acrobatic, chunky wrapper that was Chris Farley is one of the reasons SNL exists. Farley started out in improv at the Improv Olympic in Chicago. He toured with Chicago’s The Second City Theatre before being promoted to the main stage. Second City was a fairly consistent scouting ground for SNL and it was hard to miss Farley. His enthusiastic, over the top comedy made for some of the best spontaneous moments on the show. Often his characters, Matt Foley, Mike Ditka-worshipping Todd O’Connor, and his Chippendale dancer, caused the other actors to break right there on live TV. And it was a thing of beauty.
Now: Farley went on to star with his close friend David Spade in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep as well as Beverly Hills Ninja, and Almost Heroes. But Farley never got to realize his full potential as an actor and comedian. Farley’s health had been declining and his drug use propelled the 33 year old to an early grave.
Farley’s body was found by his brother, John, at Farley’s apartment in Chicago on December 18, 1997.
- Age: Dec. at 33 (1964-1997)
- Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America