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The Best One Season SNL Cast Members 

Lisa Waugh
Updated February 13, 2020 3.1k votes 395 voters 16.2k views 22 items

List Rules Vote based on each cast member's single season on Saturday Night Live

There are essentially three reasons a cast member stayed for only one season on Saturday Night Live: they already had a career and SNL was just a stop over on the way to the top, they were talented in their own right but the fight to the top of the heap proved to be a useless and thankless task, or, they sucked. Not all the one season SNL cast members were bad, in fact some were maybe too good for the show. Which of these Saturday Night Live players who were fired after one season were the best during their short time on the show?

The futility of the fight to the top of the SNL cast heap was usually the reason for leaving Saturday Night Live. The innuendo is intentional as many actors and comedians have said that their one year at Studio 8H was one of the worst of their lives. Whether their brand of humor just didn't work in the NBC network show format or the sketches the did succeed with couldn't break through the star-studded cast the performer was playing alongside, these SNL comedians only lasted one season, but this didn't always hurt their careers.

Some one-season cast members on SNL became superstars after leaving the show. Others grew from the experience. Some were bitter and wrote books about it. Some became sentimental and sorry about their behavior as they grew older. Others don’t remember they were even on the show! In any case, some of the funniest people of all time passed through Saturday Night Live for just one season.

Of all of the SNL one-seasoners, who made the most of their short time at SNL? Rankers away! (Vote them up below!)

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Billy Crystal is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best One Season SNL Cast Members
Photo:  Saturday Night Live/NBC

1985 - 1986 

Crystal's year on Saturday Night Live was a boost for the show. His characters such as Fernando, Sammy Davis Jr., and "I hate it when that happens" Willie left an impression on the audience. Crystal was white hot and didn't linger past one season, though. He went on to become the showbiz legend we all know and love today. He has hosted the Oscars nine times and continues to star in films and appear on TV with projects such as 2015's The Comedians on FX.  

Source: Variety

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Martin Short is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best One Season SNL Cast Members
Photo:  Saturday Night Live/NBC

1984 - 1985 

It's hard to believe that Short was only on Saturday Night Live for a minute. He was already a commodity from his SCTV work so his mini-stint at SNL to continue the gift of Ed Grimley was a mere pit stop. After SNL, Short's star faded a bit but he continues to work, mainly in TV on shows such as Damages and Mulaney. He's also returned to host SNL and is just as strange as he ever was. 

Source: Wikia

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Damon Wayans is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best One Season SNL Cast Members
Photo:  Saturday Night Live/NBC

1985 - 1986  

Wayans was feeling the usual Saturday Night Live repression he switched up his role without telling anyone and played a straight cop as an effeminate character. Wayans had had some roles in film, most notably Beverly Hills Cop, and had been doing standup for a while but he was not into the way things ran at Saturday Night Live. His onscreen mutiny earned him a quick firing by Lorne Michaels.  

Wayans would find his own path after landing on In Living Color. He gave us "Homey the Clown," "Men on Films," My Wife and Kids, Waynehead, and a talented son, Damon Wayans Jr.  

Source: Uproxx

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Sarah Silverman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best One Season SNL Cast Members
Photo:  Saturday Night Live/NBC

1993 - 1994

Silverman was only on SNL for 18 weeks. She's another classic case of being too unique and edgy for the format (and likely for Lorne and the network). Her comedy is traditionally blue, not that that held her back at all after leaving SNL. She had the successful The Sarah Silverman Program, numerous comedy specials, and plenty of roles and voice work in films as well.

She did return as a host in 2014, pushing the limits of what the censors would allow, and generally offering up a funny, laugh-filled episode, including an impression of the late Joan Rivers.

Source: Splitsider
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