You know you have achieved the comedic trophy when Eric Idle boldly states that you are worthy of having been a Monty Python member. Such was the case when Idle met “Saturday Night Live” legend Dan Aykroyd.
Aykroyd was originally hired as a writer on the burgeoning show but quickly had his CV updated to include him as a performer. The actor contributed greatly to the foundation and future of “Saturday Night Live” in his four short seasons as a writer and actor. Aykroyd was also one of the first Saturday Night Members to create big-screen spinoffs of his sketches.
The "Saturday Night Live" fandom did not know what a blessing they were to receive when Amy Poehler made it through auditions and became a featured actress on the show in 2001. Fellow cast member Tina Fey had petitioned for a number of years for the producers to hire her and, well, they should have listened to Fey sooner.
Poehler’s highly versatile acting and writing were put to full use throughout her seven years on the show. She, like Molly Shannon a few years previously, is credited with advancing the impact of female writers and performers on the show. Of course, Amy Poehler went on to lead her own sitcom, "Parks and Recreation."
Gilda Radner not only blazed the trail for "Saturday Night Live," but she also helped carve the trail altogether. As one of the very first performers of the "Saturday Night Live" ensemble, the ultra-gifted comedic actress helped set the standard for the generations of actors to follow in her footsteps.
Radner’s trademark sketches were those satirizing popular talk shows. Radner sadly did not find the same level of success outside of the live-action format and struggled to make a mark on the big screen. During the latter years of her life, she endured a long battle with ovarian cancer, tragically passing away from it in 1989.
New York native Julia Louis-Dreyfus likened herself to Cinderella landing a spot as a featured member in 1982 on "Saturday Night Live." At the time, the actress held the enviable title of being the youngest female performer to be hired on the show and it came with some serious challenges.
Louis-Dreyfus had to cut her teeth keeping up alongside industry giants such as Eddie Murphy and Martin Short. Louis-Dreyfus more than proved herself and saw three highly acclaimed seasons through. Her comedic prowess caught the attention of a certain Larry Davis and the rest is “Seinfeld” history! She also led her own sitcom, "Veep."
While Martin Short’s time on "Saturday Night Live" was short (see what we did there?), the actor helped carry the show into a new era. Even though Short only starred in the 1984 to 1985 season, the actor helped the show’s plummeting ratings after the departure of some comedic heavyweights from the show.
He played a variety of highly awkward and neurotic characters which were instant hits for longstanding and new fans of the show. Short has since made numerous cameos on the show throughout the years. Short recently reunited with Steve Martin on the comedy-drama series "Only Murders in the Building."