The article explores the current whereabouts and ventures of the beloved cast members from the iconic sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live.” From uproarious comedians to breakout stars, this piece delves into the lives and careers of these talented individuals, highlighting their successes and providing insight into their journeys after leaving the iconic SNL stage. Whether it’s pursuing Hollywood fame, hosting their own talk shows, or diving into the world of podcasting, this article offers a fascinating glimpse into what happened to the cast of “Saturday Night Live.”
The Glory Days: Original ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players
Saturday Night Live (SNL) is a legendary comedy sketch show that has been on the air for over four decades. Its rich history has given birth to numerous talented comedians and launched their careers into the stratosphere. However, none have been more iconic than the original cast, affectionately referred to as the ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players. These trailblazers paved the way for the success of the show and left an indelible mark on both SNL and the comedy landscape as a whole.
Rich history of Saturday Night Live
SNL first premiered on October 11, 1975, and instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Created by Lorne Michaels, the show’s innovative format combined live comedy sketches with musical performances. It quickly gained a dedicated following and gave birth to the concept of “watercooler moments” as viewers eagerly discussed the show’s outrageous sketches and memorable characters the day after each episode aired. Over the years, SNL has continued to captivate audiences and has become a staple of American television.
Brief overview of the ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players
The original cast of SNL, commonly known as the ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players, consisted of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner. Each member brought a unique comedic style and vibrant energy to the show, which helped redefine the landscape of sketch comedy. Their chemistry and talent turned SNL into a cultural phenomenon and set the bar high for future cast members.
Impact and popularity of original cast
The ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players instantly became household names and their sketches reached legendary status. Dan Aykroyd’s portrayals of characters like the sleazy salesman and the sleuthing Beldar Conehead showcased his genius comedic timing. Jane Curtin, known for her deadpan delivery, created memorable characters such as Prymaat Conehead and the Weekend Update anchor. The enigmatic John Belushi stole the show with his wild and energetic performances, while Chevy Chase’s physical comedy became an instant hit.
The original SNL cast became famous for their improvisational skills and their ability to create memorable characters. Their success on the show paved the way for careers in both film and television, opening doors for future SNL cast members. Their impact is still felt today, as their sketches and characters continue to be cherished and celebrated by fans of all ages.
Dan Aykroyd: From Ghostbuster to Vodka Entrepreneur
Dan Aykroyd is one of the most recognizable faces from the original SNL cast. Known for his versatility and comedic talent, Aykroyd rose to fame through his tenure on the show.
Rise to fame through SNL
Aykroyd’s characters on SNL, such as the Conehead father and singer Elwood Blues of the Blues Brothers, became instant favorites. He showcased his impressive range, effortlessly transitioning between extravagant characters and endearing oddballs. His natural comedic timing and dedication to his craft made him a standout member of the cast.
Career in movies and awards
Aykroyd’s success on SNL propelled him into a thriving film career. He co-wrote and starred in the blockbuster Ghostbusters franchise, in which his portrayal of Ray Stantz solidified his status as a comedic icon. Aykroyd’s talent garnered critical acclaim, leading to awards such as an Academy Award nomination for his role in Driving Miss Daisy.
Aykroyd’s life post-SNL
After leaving SNL, Aykroyd continued to make his mark in the entertainment industry. Alongside his acting career, he became an entrepreneur and founded the popular Crystal Head Vodka brand. Aykroyd’s legacy extends beyond his time on SNL, as his contributions to comedy and the film industry continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
Jane Curtain: From Coneheads to Comedy Queen
Jane Curtain, a member of the original SNL cast, quickly became known for her sharp wit and impeccable timing. Her contributions to the show and the comedy world are still greatly recognized and appreciated.
Jane’s role in SNL
Curtain’s versatility and talent were evident in her SNL performances. Her portrayals of Prymaat Conehead and anchorwoman on Weekend Update highlighted her comedic prowess. Curtain’s ability to deliver deadpan lines with impeccable timing made her an inimitable presence on the show.
Highlights of her career
Following her time on SNL, Curtain continued to experience success in the entertainment industry. She appeared in numerous films and television shows, showcasing her range as an actress. Curtain’s unforgettable role as Allison Sugarbaker in the hit sitcom “Designing Women” further solidified her status as a comedy queen.
Her life after leaving the show and current activities
Curtain has remained active in the entertainment industry to this day. She has made guest appearances on popular television shows and has also explored her passion for theater, earning a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the Broadway play “Curtains.” Curtain’s enduring talent and contributions to comedy have made her a beloved figure in the entertainment world.
Bill Murray: from Sketch Comedy to Hollywood Star
Bill Murray is a versatile actor whose journey from SNL to Hollywood stardom has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.
Bill Murray’s journey with SNL
Murray joined the cast of SNL as a replacement for Chevy Chase and quickly made his presence known. His iconic characters, such as lounge singer Nick the Lounge Singer and irascible newsman Todd DiLaMuca, showcased his comedic brilliance and earned him a dedicated following.
Transition to film industry
After leaving SNL, Murray transitioned seamlessly into the world of film and delivered memorable performances in movies such as “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Lost in Translation.” His ability to effortlessly switch between comedic and dramatic roles cemented his status as a respected actor.
Current career activities
Murray’s career continues to thrive, with recent memorable performances in films like “Isle of Dogs” and “The Dead Don’t Die.” He has also explored more offbeat projects, such as his collaboration with director Wes Anderson. Murray’s ability to captivate audiences with his unique blend of humor and depth has made him a beloved figure in the entertainment industry.
Gilda Radner: The Comedy Pioneer
Gilda Radner’s infectious energy and comedic talent made her an integral part of the original SNL cast. Her contributions to the show and her subsequent career have solidified her status as a comedy pioneer.
Gilda’s significance in SNL
Radner’s dynamic and fearless performances on SNL remain legendary. Her characters, including beloved figures like the nerdy Lisa Loopner and the effervescent Roseanne Roseannadanna, showcased her unique ability to bring characters to life with her infectious energy and impeccable comedic timing. Radner’s talent and charm endeared her to audiences and helped establish SNL as a comedic powerhouse.
Her career after the show – including movies and awards
Following her time on SNL, Radner successfully transitioned into film, starring in comedies like “Animal House” and “The Woman in Red.” Her natural comedic ability led to critical acclaim, earning her an Emmy Award for her work on her own variety show, “The Gilda Radner Show.”
Her legacy and untimely death
Sadly, Radner’s life and career were cut short by ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, her legacy lives on through her groundbreaking work in comedy. Radner’s impact on future generations of comedians is immeasurable, and she is remembered as a trailblazer who fearlessly pushed boundaries and brought laughter to millions.
John Belushi: The Tragic End of a Comedy Legend
John Belushi was a larger-than-life figure whose creativity and comedic brilliance left an indelible mark on SNL and the world of entertainment. Tragically, his life was cut short, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and resonate with audiences.
Belushi’s role and influence in SNL
Belushi’s ridiculously energetic and outrageous performances on SNL are the stuff of legends. Whether it was his portrayal of Samurai Futaba or his iconic impersonation of Joe Cocker, Belushi brought unparalleled charisma and a raw comedic talent that captivated audiences. Belushi’s magnetic presence helped redefine comedy, showcasing his ability to push boundaries and make bold comedic choices.
Success in the movie industry
Following his time on SNL, Belushi found success in the film industry with breakout roles in “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers.” His unique blend of physical comedy and unhinged energy endeared him to audiences around the world. Belushi’s larger-than-life personality and commitment to his craft made him a beloved figure both on and off the screen.
The tragic end of his life
Unfortunately, Belushi’s life was tragically cut short by a drug overdose in 1982, leaving behind a void in the world of comedy. His untimely death served as a stark reminder of the pressures artists face and the consequences of a life lived in the spotlight. Belushi’s legacy as a comedy legend lives on, with his unique comedic style and commitment to his craft continuing to influence generations of performers.
Eddie Murphy: From SNL to Stand-Up Superstar
Eddie Murphy’s talent and infectious charm made him a standout member of the SNL cast. His rise to stardom and subsequent success in the film industry have solidified his status as a comedic powerhouse.
Murphy’s SNL journey
Murphy’s tenure on SNL was one of the show’s most memorable. His unforgettable characters, including the charismatic and cheeky Gumby and the fast-talking Buckwheat, showcased his ability to command the stage and captivate audiences with his unparalleled comedic timing. Murphy’s on-screen presence and natural talent made him an instant fan favorite.
Career in the film industry
Following his time on SNL, Murphy seamlessly transitioned into the film industry and became one of the biggest stars of his generation. Iconic performances in movies such as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Coming to America,” and “The Nutty Professor” earned him critical acclaim and solidified his status as a Hollywood superstar. Murphy’s ability to seamlessly shift between comedic and dramatic roles further showcased his versatility as an actor.
Present-day activities and achievements
In recent years, Murphy has made a highly anticipated comeback to the comedy scene. His return to SNL as a host after 35 years was met with great excitement and reminded audiences of his undeniable comedic talent. Murphy’s ongoing success and enduring influence on the entertainment industry serve as a testament to his remarkable talent.
Chevy Chase: The First One to Leave SNL
Chevy Chase was one of the most notable members of the original SNL cast, known for his physical comedy and quick wit. His decision to leave the show after its first season paved the way for a successful career in both film and television.
SNL career and reasons for leaving the show
Chase’s time on SNL was short but impactful. He quickly gained popularity with his memorable characters, including the endearing but clumsy Gerald Ford impression and the charismatic news anchor on Weekend Update. However, creative differences and a desire to pursue other opportunities led Chase to leave the show after its debut season. While his departure marked the end of an era, it opened doors for other talented comedians to join the cast.
Achievements in films and television
Following his departure from SNL, Chase found success in the film industry, starring in iconic comedies like “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and “Fletch.” His physical comedy and deadpan delivery led to critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Chase’s talent also transitioned seamlessly to television, where he found success in sitcoms such as “Community.”
Where is Chevy Chase now?
Today, Chevy Chase continues to make occasional appearances in film and television. While his career has experienced its ups and downs, his contributions to comedy and his status as an original SNL cast member have cemented his place in the annals of comedy history.
Kristen Wiig: Blossoming from SNL
Kristen Wiig is a comedic force to be reckoned with, whose time on SNL catapulted her into the spotlight. Her innovative characters and spot-on comedic timing endeared her to audiences and paved the way for a successful career beyond the sketch show.
Wiig’s beginning in SNL
Wiig’s knack for character-driven comedy and impeccable timing quickly made her a standout member of the SNL cast. Her iconic characters, such as the eccentric Target Lady and the neurotic Penelope, showcased her versatility and comedic genius. Wiig’s ability to fully immerse herself in her characters made her performances both captivating and hilarious.
On-screen success outside SNL
After leaving the show, Wiig’s momentum continued as she transitioned into the film industry. Her breakout role in the hit comedy “Bridesmaids” earned her critical acclaim and a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Wiig’s ability to seamlessly shift between comedic and dramatic roles allowed her to explore various genres, showcasing her versatility as an actress.
Current roles and activities
Wiig’s career continues to thrive, with recent roles in films such as “Ghostbusters” (2016) and “Wonder Woman 1984.” She has also delved into the world of producing, further showcasing her creative talents. Wiig’s ongoing success and ability to connect with audiences through her unique comedic sensibilities reflect her undeniable impact on the entertainment industry.
Impact of SNL on Actors’ Careers
SNL has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of many talented actors and comedians. The show’s unique blend of live comedy and musical performances has provided a platform for aspiring artists to showcase their skills and launch their careers.
Influence of SNL on actor’s careers
SNL serves as a launching pad for many actors who go on to achieve great success. The rigorous schedule and demanding nature of the show test performers’ abilities and push them to excel in their comedic craft. The exposure and recognition gained from being part of SNL often opens doors to future opportunities in television, film, and even theater.
Success stories and struggles post-SNL
While SNL has produced numerous success stories, the path after leaving the show can be both challenging and rewarding. Some former cast members, like Eddie Murphy and Will Ferrell, have seamlessly transitioned into highly successful careers in film and television. Others may face obstacles in finding their next breakthrough role or carving out a niche in the competitive entertainment industry. However, the undeniable talent honed during their time on SNL often acts as a springboard for future success.
Current influence of the show on American pop culture
SNL’s impact on American pop culture cannot be understated. The show has become an institution, where political and social commentary is delivered with humor and wit. SNL has consistently influenced and reflected the cultural zeitgeist. From the memorable celebrity impressions to the iconic catchphrases, SNL has left an indelible mark on American television and has influenced the comedy landscape for generations to come.
In conclusion, the original ‘Not Ready for Prime Time’ Players of SNL paved the way for the show’s enduring success and left an indelible mark on the world of comedy. From Dan Aykroyd’s rise to fame to the tragic end of John Belushi’s life, each member of the original cast brought their unique talents to SNL and went on to achieve great success in their respective careers. SNL continues to be a launching pad for future comedic stars, serving as a testament to the lasting influence and cultural significance of this iconic sketch comedy show.