We all know that Saturday Night Live has become part of the American weekend newscap. It’s a cultural institution, whether you fully appreciate their sophomoric humor or not.
And some cast members go on to fame and fortune, and can totally count SNL as their trampoline into the big times (Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon), while others can toil away for years and not become as big of a household name over time as you’d think (Tim Meadows).
So one site decided to take a look at the LONGEVITY OF SNL CAST MEMBERS to see if there was any correlation between popularity and tenure on the show.
They found that the average cast member was on the show for 3.58 seasons. That the vast majority of long-standing members of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players were on the show for about four or five seasons. A few decided to hang in there for seven or eight seasons.
But that’s about it. If you haven’t found fame and fortune and everything that goes with it by then, either you’re a dedicated, loyal NBC player, or you have no other options left if you were to leave.
The study did point out one interesting fact — over the 40 years that Saturday Night Live has been on the air, there have been 140 cast members.
55 of them were only on the show for one season. That’s just under 40% of all cast members.
OF COURSE we’re not going to know who you are if you’re part of the 40% (which, technically speaking, could still be considered “almost half of all cast members”) that never even made it to Season Two of your contract.
So here’s the tip: if you want to make it big, you’re going to need to be on SNL for at least two seasons to have any sort of noticeable impact on the audience. Robert Downey Jr aside, that’s where the real money and benefit of being on an ensemble show can really help make you some cash.