It’s a debate that seems destined to rage on forever: Who are the best cast members to ever perform on Saturday Night Live? Considering that the show has been on air for more than 40 years, and that its alumni are a “who’s who” of comedians who have defined what it means to be funny for nearly half a century, it can be extremely difficult (some say impossible) to come up with a list of the very best SNL cast members. But that’s no reason not to try, so here is our list of the SNL cream of the crop. In ranking these cast members, we used an incredibly scientific process involving the following three criteria: overall influence, variety of characters and longevity. Enjoy!
20. Darrell Hammond (1995-2009)
The longest-serving cast member in SNL history at 14 seasons, Darrell Hammond was the king of impressionists on the show. His spot-on impressions of everyone from Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney to Jay Leno and Johnny Cash made him a true chameleon. Of course, he is probably best remembered for his impression of Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy, who takes great delight in insulting host Alex Trebek (played by fellow cast member Will Ferrell). Hammond’s impressions were so good, that most people have no sense of the cast member’s real personality. Which, apparently, is how Darrell Hammond liked it. In addition to being the cast member who lasted the longest, he was also the oldest cast member in SNL’s run (at age 53) when he left the program.