Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 5-1

Well folks, we’ve reached the end of my personal list of Top 25 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse numbers 25-6, the links may be found here:

This leads us to the Top 5 and the crème de la crème, at least in my view. Here they are:

5. Kristin Wiig

4. John Belushi

3. Phil Hartman

2. Eddie Murphy


1. Will Ferrell

And there you have it, my friends! Feel to comment and quibble (or agree) with my choices.


Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 10-6

We have entered the Top Ten of my personal list of Top 25 Saturday Night Live cast members of all time! To peruse my three previous posts covering numbers 25-11, click the following links:

Let’s get to it, shall we?

10. Chevy Chase

9. Darrell Hammond

8. Gilda Radner

7. Dana Carvey

6. Chris Farley

Ladies and gents, I’ll brings you to my top five tomorrow!

Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 15-11

And now we move to part three in my five part series covering my personal Top 25 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time. Numbers 25-16 have already been revealed and can be found here:

Tonight, numbers 15-11 before moving to the Top Ten tomorrow:

15. Jimmy Fallon

14. Martin Short

13. Mike Myers

12. Bill Murray

11. Bill Hader

Top Ten and numbers 10-6 tomorrow folks!

Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 20-16

Continuing on with my personal list of Top 25 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time, today I bring you part two of the five part series. Here are numbers 20-16:

20. Norm MacDonald

19. Tina Fey

18. Jan Hooks

17. Dan Aykroyd

16. Billy Crystal

I’ll be back with part three and numbers 15-11 soon enough!

Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 25-21

Today on the blog begins part one of a five-part series – my personal Top 25 Saturday Night Live cast members of all time. There are 139 people to choose from and making this list was not easy. However, this is why lists are fun because you’ll undoubtedly quibble with some of my choices. There are some former cast members who didn’t make a massive impression on the show but went on to fantastic careers. I would include Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in this group.

Let’s begin with numbers 25-21 and I’ll guarantee there’ll be some who believe my #25 should be higher, but it’s my list dammit and I’m sticking to it.

25. Adam Sandler

24. Andy Samberg

23. Seth Meyers

22. Fred Armisen

21. Amy Poehler

Stay tuned for numbers 20-16… coming soon!

50 Best Saturday Night Live Celebrity Impersonations: Part Five

Well, here we are! 40 entries have been posted on the blog and that leaves…

The Top Ten

Let me simply state that compiling this list was not easy and it was especially hard to decide what impressions made the final cut and especially the Top Ten. This just goes to show the rich history of SNL and its amazing performers. And now a confession: a particular entry was written down on my master list and somehow I didn’t circle the name for inclusion on the list. Good news is: the impression would probably be right where I’m listing it… so we’ll call #10 1/2. Without further adieu, here’s my personal Top Ten (and a half):

10 1/2: Will Ferrell as James Lipton

Ferrell’s classic take on the “Inside the Actors Studio” host comes complete with Lipton’s heightened sense of himself and the overly “actor-y” pompousness. And you can’t beat the huge stack of blue note cards.

10. Jimmy Fallon as Barry Gibb

The future “Tonight Show” host and the great Justin Timberlake gave us one of the best series of sketches in the SNL cannon. Fallon’s portrayal as Barry Gibb as a character who loses his s**t if someone says the wrong thing is unforgettable.

9. Dana Carvey as President George H.W. Bush

Carvey’s take on Bush 41 isn’t going for accuracy, but instead the terrific Carvey goes way over-the-top in hilarious fashion. Wouldn’t be prudent… not at this juncture! Not gonna do it!

<div style=”font-size:12px;”><a href=””>Dana Carvey As Bush</a> – <a href=””>Click here for more free videos</a></div>

8. Will Ferrell as Harry Caray

Hey!!! Cubs win!!! Ferrell’s impression of the legendary sports announcer is side splitting fun and totally bizarre in the best way.

7. Darrell Hammond as Vice President Al Gore

Had Al Gore won the 2000 election, Darrell Hammond’s spot-on impersonation might rank even higher because we would’ve seen more of it. Still, this is one of the greatest impressions in SNL history. Lock box.

6. Darrell Hammond as President Bill Clinton

Hammond strikes again in the political world. Phil Hartman’s take on Bubba ranked high as well, but the edge goes to Hammond’s take, which got the 42nd President’s mannerisms down to a tee.

5. Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

As much I love his Bush impression, Carvey’s Ross Perot is even more genius. The 1992 debate with Carvey playing Bush and Perot, alongside Hartman’s Clinton, is one of the top sketches period.

4. Eddie Murphy as James Brown

A perfect impression per usual from Murphy, but his James Brown ranks highest due to the Hot Tub sketch… a Top Ten SNL skit.

3. Fred Armisen as Governor David Paterson

Inappropriate. Edgy. And also absolutely tears streaming down your face uproarious. Armisen boldly made his impression about the ex-New York Governor’s blindness. And damn it was funny.

2. Will Ferrell as President George W. Bush

Ferrell’s impression of the #43 is so legendary that he did a full Broadway show as Dubya. No matter what side of the political fence you’re on, his impersonation is the top Presidential entry in a show full of wonderful ones.

1. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

No other impression became the cultural phenomenon than Fey’s take on the 2008 Vice-Presidential contender. As soon as Governor Palin burst onto the scene in fall 2008, everyone knew it would be Tina doing her on SNL. Expectations were high and Fey came through and then some. When all is said and done, very few historical write-ups about Palin won’t mention Tina. And for that… Tina Fey’s Palin earns the #1 spot.

And there you have it! 50 terrific SNL celebrity impersonations from the most important comedy show ever.

50 Best Saturday Night Live Celebrity Impersonations: Part Four

It’s getting more difficult! We’ve reached the Top 20 of the Top 50 best SNL cast member celebrity impressions. Here are numbers 20-11 before we reach the Top Ten in part five of this five-part series:

20. Martin Short as Katherine Hepburn

Marty Short is a comedic genius and his one season on SNL was a wonderful one. His Kate Hepburn is probably my favorite of many.

19. Phil Hartman as Phil Donahue

Hartman’s take on the daytime talk show host was spot-on and also had the advantage of being in a brilliant sketch. It’s worth noting that Darrell Hammond also did a great Donahue years later.

18. Phil Hartman as President Ronald Reagan

The Hartman love continues with the performer’s clever take on Reagan. When he was in public, he was the affable, soft-spoken leader we all know. Behind the scenes – he was a tyrant. “Back to work!!!”

17. Eddie Murphy as Little Richard Simmons

This impression makes it high on the list due to the genius notion of combining Richard Simmons and Little Richard into one character in a hilarious sketch.

16. Will Ferrell as Janet Reno

“It’s Reno time!” Ferrell killed it with his macho take on Clinton’s Attorney General.

15. Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra

Joe Piscopo had a nice take on the Chairman of the Board as well, but it’s the master Phil Hartman whose Sinatra is SNL’s best.

14. Dana Carvey as John McLaughlin

“Issue 2!!!” Carvey nailed roundtable show host McLaughlin in a series of fabulous sketches.

13. Phil Hartman as President Bill Clinton

The scene with Hartman playing the President in McDonald’s talking to regular people is one of the best SNL sketches ever and it cements Hartman’s Slick Willie as a high placer on the list. We may not be finished with the 42nd President however…

12. Dana Carvey as Johnny Carson

Carvey’s uncanny impression of the late night legend gave us a series of laugh out loud sketches.

11. Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery

Hammond’s exaggerated take on the original Bond came as part of the Jeopardy sketches that are among the best in the program’s long history.

And there you have it… we have ten entries left! Stay tuned for the Top Ten coming to the blog page very soon…

50 Best Saturday Night Live Celebrity Impersonations: Part Three

Part Three of my favorite SNL cast member celebrity impressions covers numbers 30-21 as we get closer to the cream of the crop. Here we go:

30. Martin Short as Jerry Lewis

The incredibly talented Short was only on SNL for one season, but he certainly made the most of it. His Jerry Lewis is terrific.

29. John Belushi as Elizabeth Taylor

Belushi isn’t really remembered for impressions, even though he did a wicked Liz Taylor, as well as an accurate Joe Cocker.

28. Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet

Ferrell’s makes his debut on the list with his totally bizarre take on Robert Goulet.

27. Dan Aykroyd as President Jimmy Carter

Aykroyd’s Carter marks the first but not the last Presidential impersonation on the list. His Carter was pretty spot-on. The original cast member also did a memorable sketch where he played chef Julia Child. Darrell Hammond would also play Carter in a funny Barry Gibb sketch alongside Fallon and Timberlake.

26. Bill Hader as James Carville

Hader is leaving SNL after eight years and I believe he’s been the best thing about the show for a while. A great impressionist, his Carville is a masterpiece.

25. Dana Carvey as Regis Philbin

“I’m outta control!!!” Carvey’s Regis isn’t much more exaggerated than the actual subject and it’s a trip.

24. Kristin Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford

Speaking of Regis, how about Kristin Wiig’s boozed up and wonderful take on Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Today” show hosting duties?

23. Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr.

Like Martin Short, Crystal was only on for one season. His Sammy Davis Jr. is fabulous.

22. Chevy Chase as President Gerald Ford

Ford was the sitting POTUS when SNL debuted and original cast member Chase got the assignment. He made no attempt to look like Ford, instead hilariously focusing on the President’s clumsiness. This is the first, but not last example of an SNL portrayal affecting public perception of the leader of the free world.

21. Eddie Murphy as Stevie Wonder

Murphy’s debut on the list is one of many uncanny impressions the superstar can do. His Stevie is unforgettable.

Stay tuned for Part Four and numbers 20-11!

50 Best Saturday Night Live Celebrity Impersonations: Part Two

Continuing on with my personal favorite “Saturday Night Live” cast member celebrity impressions, I now bring part two and #s 40-31:

40. Andy Samberg as Mark Wahlberg

Known more for his digital shorts like “Dick in a Box”, Samberg also unleashed a killer Marky Mark impression that had him communicating with a chicken. “Say hi to your mutha for me”.

39. Cheri Oteri as Barbara Walters

Oteri’s take on “The View” host was a riot as she constantly name dropped celebrities and world leaders.

38. Dana Carvey as Charles Grodin

Carvey’s first and far from last appearance on the list. The master impressionist’s take on actor-writer Grodin was hilarious.

37. Chris Farley as Tom Arnold

Victoria Jackson did a nice Roseanne impersonation, but it was the late, great Farley that was the highlight with his manic and accurate portrayal of Roseanne’s ex-hubby.

36. Maya Rudolph as Whitney Houston

Rudolph nailed Houston’s flaky and drugged out personality to a tee, often running out of breath after singing only a couple lines of her best-known hits. Rudolph’s Oprah Winfrey impression also merits consideration on the list, but her Whitney won out.

35. Norm MacDonald as David Letterman

Joe Piscopo did a good Letterman as well, but it’s Norm who gave the best Dave impression. MacDonald had fun with Dave’s habit of repeating jokes and Chris Kattan also provided funny moments as Paul Schaffer. Norm’s Burt Reynolds and Larry King also were considered for the list.

34. Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart

It didn’t hurt that Gasteyer kinda looked like Stewart, but her impression was much more than that. Her Martha Stewart take was often bizarre but always hilarious. One sketch had Martha addressing her audience topless.

33. Taran Killam as Brad Pitt

With Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis leaving the show, I believe Killam is poised to be the show’s new breakout star. He’s done Brad Pitt a couple times on the show and his accuracy impersonating the actor is uncanny.

32. Phil Hartman as Ed McMahon

“You are correct, sir!” Hartman’s appearance has the performer brilliantly serving as sidekick to Carvey’s Carson.

31. Dana Carvey as Tom Brokaw

The spot-on impression that we expect from Carvey, his Brokaw also happened to belong in an uproarious sketch where the anchor is taping announcements for future broadcasts. This includes Gerald Ford being killed by a pack of wolves and Brokaw coming out of the closet.

And there’s Part Two, my friends. Check back soon for the third installment covering numbers 30-21!

50 Best Saturday Night Live Celebrity Impersonations: Part One

Hard to believe but in two years, “Saturday Night Live” will be officially over the hill when it celebrates its 40th anniversary. In that time, we’ve seen countless cast members impersonating celebrities and political figures. This gave me the idea to compile my personal Top 50 Best SNL Impressions. I’ll roll them out in five parts starting with numbers 50-41 and so on. If you’re an SNL fan, I hope you enjoy these posts and please feel free to tell me where I’m wrong, where I’m right, and who I left off. Without further adieu:

50. Kevin Nealon as Brent Musberger

Sometimes a simple little touch can make an impression hilarious. And Kevin Nealon taking his fingers to make his eyes smaller makes his take on sports analyst Brent Musberger genius.

49. Fred Armisen as Queen Elizabeth

Armisen, who leaves SNL after this season, did a brilliant take on the Queen. She’s the delicate and proper lady you would expect while at official functions, but a little different behind the scenes. She sounds more like a Sex Pistols band member behind the curtain. Great stuff.

48. Abby Elliot as Angelina Jolie

Elliot nails her Angelina impression, portraying her as someone whose curious nature goes into overdrive at the mention of the word “baby”.

47. Phil Hartman as Admiral James Stockdale

The incomparable Hartman makes his debut on the list with his unforgettable take on Ross Perot’s 1992 running mate. Funny thing is, Hartman’s performance as Stockdale wasn’t much more exaggerated than the actual guy in the debate.

46. Darrell Hammond as Chris Matthews

First time you’re seeing Hammond’s name, but it certainly won’t be the last. We’ll start with his spot-on impression of the “Hardball” host.

45. Jon Lovitz as Harvey Fierstein

Lovitz’s nailed the flamboyant actor and playwright and started a catchphrase at the time: “Is that so wroooooooong?!?!?”

44. Fred Armisen as Penny Marshall

I think the versatile Armisen only did the Hollywood director and “Laverne&Shirley” star a couple of times, but it was a riot.

43. Jay Pharoah as Will Smith

Pharoah is a newer cast member to the show and his specialty seems to be impressions. He’s got great takes on Denzel Washington, Chris Rock, Jay-Z, and others. His best so far is Will Smith.

42. Jan Hooks as Tammy Faye Bakker

Hooks is one of the most talented female cast members in the show’s history and her impersonation of disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker’s wife is perfect.

41. Kate McKinnon as Ellen DeGeneres

Another new cast member, McKinnon also seems to have a knack for impressions. Her Ellen DeGeneres is remarkable.

Coming next: Part Two, covering numbers 40-31!