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The Shortest Lasting SNL Cast Members

Updated September 17, 2019 11.3k views51 items

Since 1975, Saturday Night Live has been the dream job for aspiring comedians everywhere. However, like all dreams, sometimes it doesn't go exactly as planned. Sometimes you get fired after a year (or before the season even starts). This is a list containing every single SNL cast member throughout the years who only stuck around for a single season (or less). You might even be surprised to learn that some of these actors were ever on the show.

In many cases, a long run on the show has lead to great success. Will Ferrell (7 seasons) and Kristen Wiig (7 seasons) come to mind, along with Adam Sandler (5), Bill Murray (4), and Tina Fey (9). But, as you can see below, some of these one-year-wonders did just fine in showbiz after they got their 30 Rock eviction notice. Some have gone on to become the most famous and well-respected artists in their field.

For others, Saturday Night Live was indeed a flash in the pan, at least up until this point. You can never say never in Hollywood. This list does not include cast members who are still on the show as their fate is yet to be determined, but it does include comedians like Shane Gillis who were announced but chose not to join the cast. So here it is, the complete collection of Saturday Night Live shooting stars. They burned bright... if only for a short while.

  • 1

    Robert Downey Jr.

    Iron Man, The Avengers
    Season 11, 1985 -1986
    Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor, producer and singer. His...  more

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  • 2

    Billy Crystal

    When Harry Met Sally..., City Slickers
    Season 10, 1984 - 1985
    William Edward Crystal (born March 14, 1948) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer,...  more

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  • 3

    Ben Stiller

    Zoolander, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Season 14, 1989
    Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller (born November 30, 1965) is an American actor, comedian, writer,...  more

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  • 4

    Damon Wayans

    In Living Color, Major Payne
    Season 11, 1985 - 1986
    Damon Kyle Wayans Sr. (; born September 4, 1960) is an American stand-up comedian, actor,...  more

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  • 5

    Martin Short

    The Martin Short Show, Primetime Glick
    Season 10, 1984 -1985
    Martin Hayter Short (born March 26, 1950) is a Canadian-American comedian, actor, voice...  more

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  • 6

    Christopher Guest

    Princess Bride, Best in Show
    Season 10, 1984 - 1985
    Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (born February 5, 1948) is a British-American...  more

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  • 7

    Anthony Michael Hall

    The Breakfast Club, Edward Scissorhands
    Season 11, 1985 - 1986
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  • 8

    Sarah Silverman

    The Sarah Silverman Program, Wreck-It Ralph
    Season 19, 1993 -1994
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  • 9

    Janeane Garofalo

    The West Wing, Wet Hot American Summer
    Season 20, 1994 - 1995
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  • 10

    David Koechner

    Anchorman, Waiting
    Season 21, 1995 -1996
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  • 11

    Randy Quaid

    Kingpin, Independence Day
    Season 11, 1985 -1986
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  • 12

    Gilbert Gottfried

    Aladdin, Problem Child
    Season 6, 1980 - 1981
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  • 13

    Paul Shaffer

    The Late Show with David Letterman, Spinal Tap
    Season 5, 1979 - 1980
    Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM (born November 28, 1949) is a Canadian singer, composer, actor,...  more

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  • 14

    Rob Riggle

    21 Jump Street, The Hangover
    Season 30, 2004 - 2005
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  • 15

    Jenny Slate

    Obvious Child, Parks and Recreation
    Season 35, 2009 - 2010
    Jenny Sarah Slate (born March 25, 1982) is an American actress, comedian, and author. She has...  more

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  • 16

    Joan Cusack

    Shameless, Toy Story 3
    Season 11, 1985 -1986
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  • 17

    Shane Gillis

    Season 45, 2019

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  • 18

    Jerry Minor

    Community, Brickleberry
    Season 26, 2000 - 2001
    Jerry Charles Minor Jr. (born October 4, 1969) is an American actor, comedian and writer known...  more
  • 19

    Nancy Carell

    The Office, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
    Season 21, 1995 -1996
    Nancy Ellen Carell (; née Walls; born July 19, 1966) is an American actress, comedian and...  more
  • 20

    Chris Elliott

    Eagleheart, There's Something About Mary
    Season 20, 1994 -1995
    Christopher Nash Elliott (born May 31, 1960) is an American actor, comedian, and writer. He is...  more

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  • 21

    Christine Ebersole

    Wolf of Wallstreet, Sullivan & Son
    Season 7, 1981 -1982
    Christine Ebersole (born February 21, 1953) is an American actress and singer. She has...  more
  • 22

    George Coe

    Archer, Kramer vs. Kramer
    Season 1, 1975
    George Coe (May 10, 1929 – July 18, 2015) was an American stage, film and television actor and...  more
  • 23

    Charles Rocket

    Touched By An Angel, Normal
    Season 6, 1980 - 1981
    Charles Adams Claverie (August 28, 1949 – October 7, 2005), known by such stage names as...  more


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  • 24

    Laurie Metcalf

    Roseanne, Toy Story
    Season 6, 1981
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  • 25

    Jim Downey

    Billy Madison, 30 Rock
    Season 5, 1979 - 1980
    James Woodward Downey (born 1952) is an American comedy writer and occasional actor. Downey...  more