In the world of comedy, many high-profile comedians got their start on the institution that is Saturday Night Live. Comedians who wrote for SNL would frequently go on to create popular films and television series. From 1975 to today, there are many fantastic writers who have impacted comedy in major, meaningful ways. This list of former SNL writers features all manner of great comedians who have made audiences laugh since their time on NBC's mainstay sketch show.
From writers like Larry David and Christopher Guest, female comedians like Sarah Silverman and Laura Kightlinger, and hilarious male stand-ups like Hannibal Buress and Dave Attell, comedians who wrote for SNL run the gamut. With this great list of SNL writers, who went on to notable comedy careers in their own right, you'll get a who's who of comedy throughout the years.Take a look at this list of famous comedians who were Saturday Night Live writers - some of these sketch writers and stand up comedy vets who started in Studio 8H might surprise you!
- The creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm was on staff for one season (1984-1985) very early into his career, during which he got exactly one sketch on the air. Then he quit halfway through the season, only to return a few days later as if nothing had happened.
- Right after his first comedy album release, Hannibal Buress started on Saturday Night Live as a writer during the 2009-2010 season, and left with only one of his sketches actually making it on air. He left that to go on to 30 Rock, and promptly quit after six months. It was after those two jobs that he realized he should be performing as well as writing for himself.
John MulaneyIn 2008, John Mulaney won a spot to join Saturday Night Live's writing team, where he remained for six seasons before moving on to his own TV projects. From 2009-2012, he earned Primetime Emmy nominations for his work on the show and he was co-creator of the character Stefon (with Bill Hader), whom he'd based on someone he actually knew.
- Sarah Silverman was a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live for eighteen weeks, within a year of beginning her stand up career. She was fired after one season during which only one of her sketches made it to dress rehearsal and none made it on the air. She stated that she wasn't ready for SNL when she got the job.
- Christopher Guest was hired for a one year only contract as cast member and writer for the 1984-1985 season of Saturday Night Live, creating characters like Frankie (of Frankie and Willie), Herb Minkman, and Rajeev Vindaloo.
- Very early in his career (1988) Conan O'Brien joined the writing team of Saturday Night Live, creating recurring sketches like "The Girl Watchers" and "Mr. Short-Term Memory." He worked on the show for three years and even got to be on the screen, holding the door open for Tom Hanks in "The Five Timers' Club."