The top earning Saturday Night Live cast members


By web gangsta | Published:

As we head into the 40th season of SNL, let’s take a step back and see how much of an influence Lorne Michaels and gang have had on the economy.

What? The economy?

Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests
Live From New York:
The Complete, Uncensored History of
Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests

Working on Saturday Night Live is seen as a major stepping stone in a comedians’ career. Without SNL, we wouldn’t know who John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell and others would be – or at the very least, they wouldn’t have catapulted into the American zeitgeist as fast as they did.

The point being, once you get on SNL and get Lorne Michaels’ blessing, you pretty much can write your own comedy ticket to anywhere you want to go. Of course, you may want to continue your work outside of SNL while still underneath Lorne’s vast entertainment umbrella (hello, Seth Myers!), but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you can find the success you’re looking for.

And quite frankly, SNL is the most phenomenal training ground for comedic acting, timing, writing there possibly can be.

So if you become an SNL cast member, what are the chances that you can earn a lot of money?

BusinessWeek took a look at the TOP EARNING BOX OFFICE FOR SNL PERFORMERS and compiled this nifty chart for us.  Who do you think should be at the top of the leaderboard?

As you can see, the rankings run the gamut from old school original cast up to one-year wonders who never were able to make SNL a long-term career step for themselves.

  1.  Eddie Murphy
  2. Dan Ackroyd
  3. Robert Downey Jr
  4. Ben Stiller
  5. Bill Murray
  6. Adam Sandler
  7. Chris Rock
  8. Will Ferrell
  9. Mike Myers (Shrek more so than Wayne’s World)
  10. Joan Cusack (Pixar is her friend)

Funny thing about Joan Cusack’s appearance on the list:  out of the top 25 money makers, 10 of those actors’ top earning films were animated.

Just goes to show that if you’re funny, you’re funny in voice as well as in acting.  Good for them.