Favorite SNL Era? - U2 Feedback

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View Poll Results: What's Your Favorite Era Of SNL?
Original Cast (1975-1980) 6 23.08%
The Murphy/Piscopo Years (1980-1984) 0 0%
The Two One-Off Casts (1984-1986) 1 3.85%
The Revival (1986-1994) 16 61.54%
A New Beginning/The "Ferrell" Era (1995-2000) 3 11.54%
The Fey Years (2000-2006) 0 0%
Current Cast (2006-Present) 0 0%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:33 AM   #1
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Favorite SNL Era?

I've been in an SNL mood the past few days, and I felt like doing a little write-up on the different casts/eras and a poll. It was fun writing this up, although I think it's pretty bare bones. The timeframes here are rough, they're mostly right, but they overlap in some areas, just because somebody is listed on a cast doesn't mean he/she was there every single year, sometimes I left someone out of a cast they were in for the first year if they were really associated with the cast that came before(I put Ferrell in the 1995-2000 group and not the 2000-2006 group despite the fact that he didn't leave until 2002). Some people I didn't list anywhere at all if they were only on for one year and don't really fit with any ensemble(example: Ben Stiller). Stuff like that. It's not perfect, but I think it's good enough.

So, what's your favorite era? Least favorite?

1975-1980: The Original Cast

Do they need an introduction? The legends on whose shoulders all future eras of SNL stand.

From Left: Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Lorraine Newman

Key Skits:

Chevy Chase as President Gerald Ford
Weekend Update With Chevy Chase
Weekend Update With Jane Curtin
Weekend Update With Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd
Weekend Update With Jane Curtin and Bill Murray
Belushi's "But NOOO" guy on WU
Baba Wawa
The Bass-O-Matic
The Bel Airabs
The Blues Brothers
Candy Slice
Colleen Fernman
Consumer Probe
The Coneheads
Debbie Doody
Dick Lanky
E. Buzz Miller and Christie Christina
Emily Litella
The Ex-Police
The Farbers
The Festrunk Brothers(Wild and Crazy Guys)
Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute
H&L Brock
Honker The Homeless Man
Iris De Flaminio
Joan Face/Heavy Sarcasm
Judy Miller
The Killer Bees
The Land Shark
Leonard Pinth-Garnell
Lina Wertmuller
Lisa Loopner
Mel's Char Palace
Mike Mendoza
Nick The Lounge Singer
Olympia Cafe
Rhonda Weiss
Rosa Santangelo
Roseanne Roseannadanna
Samurai Futuba
Shower Mike with Richard Herkiman
Steve Bushakis
The Widettes
Woman To Woman

1980-1984: The Murphy/Piscopo Years

I think 80s SNL can be divided into three parts. The first part - 1980-1983 - was dominated by Eddie Murphy, and to a lesser extent, Joe Piscopo. The show had little else going for it at the time, but Murphy's contributions are legendary: Buckwheat, Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood, Velvet Jones, etc.

From Left: Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Brad Hall, Denny Dillon, Charles Rocket, Mary Gross

1984 & 1985 - Two one-off casts

The second part of 80s SNL - 1984 & 1985 - consists of two one-off casts. In 1984, Billy Crystal, Martin Short, and Harry Shearer among others were brought in as part of a mostly new cast to re-load the show after Murphy's departure. They were good, they created some enduring characters, and Crystal and Short are undoubtedly in the top echelon of comedic talents ever to grace an SNL cast, but, for reasons that I still don't fully understand, they weren't brought back in 1985(although Crystal later said he was ready and willing to come back for a second season).

From Top Left: Billy Crystal, Gary Kroeger, Rich Hall, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Pamela Stephenson, Mary Gross, Martin Short, Jim Belushi

1985 saw a similar scenario, with a second attempt at a re-load that brought Jon Lovitz, Al Franken, Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., Nora Dunn, Damon Wayans, Anthony Michael Hall, Randy Quaid, and A. Whitney Brown into the fold and that did not retain a single cast member from the previous season. Again, some major talents here - Joan Cusack is a great comedic talent and Robert Downey Jr. was and is a major, major talent and arguably one of the great actors of his generation, and Damon Wayans is Damon Wayans - and again, for some reason, this re-load didn't stick. Only Lovitz, Franken, Dunn, and A. Whitney Brown would be back the following season(actually, Franken would miss the following season but would return the season after for a lengthy eight year tenure). However, the following season would see a third attempt at a re-load that would build on Lovitz and Franken and ultimately lead to one of the most celebrated, beloved eras in the show's history.

From Top Left: Robert Downey Jr., Randy Quaid, Joan Cusack, Nora Dunn, Danitra Vance, Anthony Michael Hall, Terry Sweeney, Jon Lovitz (Damon Wayans and Al Franken not in this picture)

1986-1994 - The Revival(Enter A New Generation Of Comedic Legends)/The Return Of Lorne Michaels

The 86-87 season was only Lorne Michaels' second season back after having been gone for half a decade, and the additions of Jon Lovitz and Al Franken to the cast the year before would prove to be the first steps in building a monster of a cast, and essentially the first half of the cast's tenure is the third part of 80s SNL.

1986 would see the additions of Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Dennis Miller, Victoria Jackson, and Jan Hooks to the cast.

In 1988, Mike Myers joined.

In 1989, Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Rob Schneider joined.

Finally, in 1990, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Tim Meadows, and Julia Sweeney joined.

Lovitz left after the 1989 season and Dennis Miller would leave after the 1991 season, but they were still big parts of this era.

The end result was arguably the most powerhouse cast in the show's history(the 1990 cast had everybody except Lovitz). This era has arguably produced more enduring characters, along with the most successful SNL film spinoffs ever(the Wayne's World films) and launched more highly successful careers(Myers, Sandler, Rock, Miller, Franken, Lovitz, Spade, etc) than any other in SNL's history.

From Left: Dana Carvey, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Chris Rock, Kevin Nealon, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Tim Meadows, Victoria Jackson, Julie Sweeney, Jan Hooks, Dennis Miller, Al Franken

Key Skits:

Dana Carvey as President George H.W. Bush, Johnny Carson, Jim Leher
Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra, President Bill Clinton
Weekend Update With Dennis Miller
Weekend Update with Kevin Nealon
The Anal Retentive Chef
Annoying Man
Audience McGee
Bennett Brauer
Bill Franklin
Bill Swerski's Superfans
Bobby Coldsman
Buster Jenkins
Cajun Man
Canteen Boy
Captain Jim & Pedro
Celebrity Restaurant
Ching Chang's Pet Chicken Shop
Chippendale's Dance Audition
Church Lady
Coffee Talk with Linda Richman
The Richmeister(The Copier Room Guy)
Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley
The Dark Side with Nat X
The Denise Show
Derek Stevens
Dick Clark's Receptionist
The Doormen
The Elevator Fans
Frank Gannon, P.I. P.I.
Gap Girls
Gyro Guys
A Grumpy Old Man
Hans and Franz
The Herlihy Boy
The Hollywood Minute Reporter
I'm Chillin'
Instant Coffee with Bill Smith
It's Pat!
Karl's Video
The Keisters
Lank Thompson
Larry Roman the Talent Scout
Lothar of the Hill People
Lyle, The Effeminate Heterosexual
Mark Strobel
Massive Head Wound Harry
Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker
Miss Connie's Fable Nook
Opera Man
Orgasm Guy
Out Of Africa
Phillip the Hyper Hypo
Sassy's Sassiest Boys
Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly
The Sensitive Naked Man
Stuart Rankin, All Things Scottish
Mr. Subliminal
Susan the Transsexual
Tales From The Barbecue
Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein's Monster
Theatre Stories
Tony Trailer
Tony Vallencourt
Total Bastard Airlines Steward
Two Two Sammies
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer
Wayne's World

1995-2000: A New Beginning - The "Ferrell" Era

In 1995, with the mass departue in the previous two seasons of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon, Chris Rock, and Julia Sweeney, and with David Spade and Tim Meadows the only holdovers from the great casts of 1986-1994, Lorne Michaels built an almost completely new cast that would be built on for the remainder of the decade. Following the casts of 1986-1994, most casts would seem unworthy, and I seem to remember this cast not being embraced when they started. I always think of this cast as a little darker, a little grittier than their predecessors(I think I'm mainly thinking of MacDonald's and Quinn's Weekend Updates when I say that), and, although the decade was already half over when they started, they were the first and only pure 90s cast the show had, as the previous cast was largely assembled in the late 80s. I wasn't crazy about them when they started, but over time, I've developed a a real appreciation for them, and they are they are my third favorite cast now after 75-80 and 86-94. I think most would agree that Ferrell was the heart and soul of this cast, and has easily had the most successful post-SNL career out of anybody on this cast, so it seems natural that this era should bare his name. Also of note is the female tri-fecta of Oteri, Shannon, and Gasteyer - at the time, they were the strongest female presence on the show since the original cast's Radner, Curtin, and Newman.

From Left: Will Ferrell, Norm MacDonald, Colin Quinn, Chris Kattan, Tim Meadows, Darrell Hammond, Chris Parnell, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Tracy Morgan, Jim Breuer

Key Skits:

Darrell Hammond as President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Sean Connery, Jesse Jackson, and a bunch of others
Will Ferrell as President George W. Bush
Weekend Update With Norm MacDonald
Weekend Update With Colin Quinn
Astronaut Jones
The Atteburys
Bill Braskey Buddies
Brian Fellow's Safari Planet
Celebrity Jeopardy
The Celine Dion Show
Cinder Calhoun
Collette Reardon
Comedienne Jeannie Darcy
Delicious Dish
Dr. Beaman
Dog Show
Gay Hitler
Gene, The Ex-Convict
Get Off The Shed!
Goth Talk
Helen Madden
Hello Dolly
The Hollywood Minute Reporter
Jacob Silj
James Lipton
Janet Reno's Dance Party
Joe Blow
The Joe Pesci Show
The Kevin Franklin Show
Lenny the Lion
Leon Phelps, The Ladies Man
Mary Katherine Gallagher
Mickey The Dyke
Mr. Peepers
Morning Latte
Perspectives with Lionel Osbourne
Pimp Chat
Pretty Living
The Quiet Storm
Rita DelVecchio
Robert Goulet
The Rocky Roads
The Roxbury Guys
Sally O'Malley("Fifty Years Old!")
7 Degrees Celsius
Shopping At Home Network
Simmer Down Now
Southern Gals
The Spartan Cheerleaders
Stan Hooper
Suel Forrester
Terrence Maddox, Nude Model
The DeMarco Brothers
Tiger Beat's Ultra Super Duper Dreamy Love Show
Veronica & Co.
The Zimmermans

2000-2006: The Fey Years

The immediate predecessor to the current cast. These were the years Tina Fey was the head writer, and her influence was felt all over the show. The previous cast slowly and steadily left or were let go in the first couple years of the decade and the cast ended up looking like the below. A lot of people think the show took a big down turn in this era. I personally think it had its moments, but I don't see any comedic brilliance in this cast on the order of Murray, Murphy, Lovitz, Carvey, Hartman, Farley, Ferrell, MacDonald, etc. I think Amy Poehler is far and away the most talented comic on this cast. Her and Darryl Hammond, but by the end of this era, he was getting a little stale:

From Left: Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Seth Meyers, Kenan Thompson, Finnese Mitchell, Darrell Hammond, Chris Parnell

Key Skits:

Chris Parnell as President George W. Bush
Weekend Update With Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon
Weekend Update With Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Abe Scheinwald
Adult Students
Amber, the One-legged Hypoglycemic
America Undercover
Andy The Receptionist
Astronaut Jones
The Barry Gibb Talk Show
The Bloder Brothers
The Boston Teens
Brian Fellow's Safari Planet
Bronx Beat
Debbie Downer
Deep House Dish
Dominican Lou
Donatella Versace
Don's Apothecary
The Falconer
The Ferey Muhtar talk Show
"How Do You Say It? Ah Yes," Show
Jarret's Room
Jasper Hahn
Jorge Rodriguez
Kaitlin & Rick
The Leather Man
The Lovers
Merv The Perv
Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy
Nicole, The Girl With No Gaydar
Pat 'N Patti Silviac
Phoebe and her Giant Pets
Pimp Chat
Rap Street
Christmas Is Number One
7 Degrees Celsius
Tim Calhoun
Top O'The Morning
Wake Up Wakefield
Woodrow The Bum
Z105 with Joey Mack


The current cast.

From Left: Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler(until now), Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, Kenan Thompson, Bobby Moynihan, Abby Elliot, Casey Rose Wilson, Michaela Watkins, Darrell Hammond

Key Skits:

Fred Armisen as President Barack Obama
Amy Poehler as Hilary Clinton
Weekend Update With Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler
Weekend Update With Seth Meyers
Andy The Receptionist
Appalachian Emergency Room
Billy Smith
Blizzard Man
The Kelly Brothers
Laser Cats
Lazy Sunday
The Lundford Twins Feel Good Variety Hour
Lyle Kane
Mark Payne
The Needlers
Song Memories
Spy Glass
Target Lady
Two A-Holes
Vinny Videcci

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:41 AM   #2
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I've watched it from the early days, and I just love the first cast. So many memories, so many great characters.

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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Nicely done, namkcuR.

I would definitely say the late 80's/early 90's crew. Carvery, Farley, Myers, Hartman, etc. That was the cast I "grew up with", I guess you could say. Although it is hard to argue with that original cast.

Also, Abby Elliott: Hottest SNL cast member evar?
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Old 08-17-2009, 01:48 AM   #4
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I grew up watching and idolizing the guys in the '86-'94 cast, mostly Myers, Carvey, Sandler, and Farley that it's hard not to pick them. The '94-'95 season was so painfully bad that I've always blocked it from my memory, and I've probably seen every episode that's been re-aired since the '88/'89 season since it was syndicated on Comedy Central for so many years.

I can't wait until the '84-'85 season hits DVD, if it ever does, since it has my favorite sketch of all-time, the Synchronized Swimming short with Harry Shearer, Martin Short, and Chris Guest in any early iteration of his Corky character from Waiting for Guffman.

The '70s cast has some of my favorite all-time comedians and performers involved, but it's amazing how many of those sketches were such by-products of their time (I don't want to say dated, because I still find it funny) that it's almost hard to appreciate some of it since my comedic sensibilities match more of the late '80s/early '90s cast and the new Lonely Island-Era, as I'd like to call it.

I challenge you guys to name your All-Star cast, with about 10-12 members, and compare. I've gotta take some time to figure out mine, but I think it'll be fun.

And for the record, Norm MacDonald's Weekend Update is the best out of any of them.
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:29 AM   #5
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Is this the clip you are referring to?

Jane, you ignorant slut
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:31 AM   #6
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Not surprised how sad these results are so far.

The original cast was by far the best, followed by the Short/Guest/Crystal/Shearer group.

Show has been coasting on its rep for almost 20 years now, with few moments of hilarity among giant swaths of crap.

Also, you think it's a bit unfair to have one option cover an 8-year period? Not very objectively handled.
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:40 AM   #7
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For me, the show has been dreadful for decades now. I mean, the full episodes themselves have never been internally consistent, and even in the original few years there was more than enough shit mixed in with the great stuff, as is true for the whole show. But that ratio has just plummeted over the last 30-some odd years. So yeah, the original cast wins, if by the sheer virtue that they were the tightest and most admirable team of comedic talents the show has seen.

And to echo LMP a bit, Norm MacDonald is fucking amazing.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GirlsAloudFan View Post

Also, Abby Elliott: Hottest SNL cast member evar?
God, yes. We're only 6 months apart in age, too.

To answer the question, I think it's hard to beat the late 90s.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lila64 View Post
Is this the clip you are referring to?

Jane, you ignorant slut
YES! Good job.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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Having grown up watching it mostly in the late 80's, early nineties I have to vote for the 1986-1994 cast...

Nat X - the man who's so black, he sweats oil.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:25 AM   #11
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1986-1994 for me.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
Also, you think it's a bit unfair to have one option cover an 8-year period? Not very objectively handled.
I don't think it's unfair at all. Phil Hartman's tenure was 86-94, Kevin Nealon's tenure was 86-94, Dana Carvey's tenure was 86-93, Victoria Jackson's tenure was 86-92, Jan Hooks' tenure was 86-91, Adam Sandler's tenure was 89-95, David Spade's tenure was 89-96, Jon Lovitz's tenure was 86-90, Dennis Miller's tenure was 86-91, Mike Myers' tenure was 88-95, Chris Farley's tenure was 90-95, Al Franken's tenure was 87-95. The cast was largely the same in this time period. I think 86-94 is a fair timeframe.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:54 AM   #13
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To some extent, I'm a fan of all the periods. They all had their ups and downs in regards to quality, even a lot of the "glory periods" had their fair share of misses when you go back and watch full episodes. I guess I watched it religiously from the late '80's until '96 or so, so I'd probably pick that "revival period" if I had to choose just one.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #14
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you do have to choose just one
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:57 AM   #15
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Maybe just because it's the one I grew up with, but 86-94 for me as well. The original cast is also a very close second. Least favorite would easily be the current era.

I wanted to say the Will Ferrell era, then remembered that there was nothing else about that era, but Ferrell that I liked.

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