I can’t believe that April is coming to an end, and we’re rounding the final corner of the A to Z Challenge. We’ve still got a few letters to go though, so I thought that for W, I would write about some of my most favorite Ladies I Love, the hilarious Women of Saturday Night Live (SNL)! As I went through the entire cast history of SNL, I began to get a little overwhelmed at the thought of writing this post. There have been a lot of female SNL cast members, and I love almost all of them. So I decided that I would pick my top five (all pictures are from NBC) and go from there…and that was incredibly difficult in itself!
As a member of the original cast, Gilda Radner is first on my list. She was with SNL from 1975 – 1980, and won an Emmy for her performances in 1977. Her most iconic characters were Roseanne Roseannadanna (a loudmouthed and crude consumer-affairs reporter) and Baba Wawa (a parody of Barbara Walters), but she also had other amazing characters up her sleeve. Gilda Radner suffered from bulimia during her stint on the show, and eventually succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1989, with her husband (Gene Wilder) at her side.
Molly Shannon appeared on SNL from 1995 to 2001. I LOVE Molly Shannon because she was absolutely fearless when it came to throwing herself into her humor (quite literally). She had several characters that performed physical comedy, such as Catholic school girl Mary Katherine Gallagher, who would trip over folding chairs during her talent show auditions, and 50-year-0ld Sally O’Malley who wore extremely tight and high-riding red pants and liked to kick, stretch, and kick!
One of my more recent favorite SNL actors is Kristen Wiig. She was with the show from 2005 – 2012, and also used physical humor in her sketches, doing a lot of dancing and singing in awkward ways. My favorite characters of hers were the Target Lady, Dooneese Maharelle (the deformed singer with tiny hands on the Lawrence Welk Show), and Triangle Sally (who, uh, played the triangle). Kristen Wiig is a very versatile actor and had many other recurring characters on SNL and there were so many to love! I was sad to see her leave the show, but she’s had a rather successful career in movies since then.
I’ll bet you can guess who my next two favorite SNL actors are…and you’re right! First is Amy Poehler, who worked on SNL from 2001 through 2008. She was promoted from “featured player” to full cast member mid-way through her first season, an accomplishment shared by only her and Eddie Murphy! She had a recurring role as Hillary Clinton, but also did several hysterical impressions of people like Michael Jackson and Kim Jong Il. She, along with Tina Fey (more in a sec!) made up the first women-only pair to host Weekend Update. Amy Poehler went on to star in several movies as well as her own show, Parks and Recreation (which I love dearly). Also close to my heart is her project “Smart Girls at the Party“, which is a social-media based program that aims to encourage girls to be themselves, think for themselves and be confident. Amy Poehler is not only funny as hell, but she’s a great role model for our girls!
Finally, it’s my very favorite SNL actor (just by a hair!), Tina Fey. Tina Fey was on SNL from 1997 – 2006. Aside from her doppelganger depiction of Sarah Palin, Tina Fey hosted Weekend Update (first with Jimmy Fallon, and then with Amy Poehler). And, oh yeah, did I mention that she was the FIRST FEMALE HEAD WRITER AT SNL??? Well, I just did. Bam. Tina Fey also went on to make movies and write and star in her own show, 30 Rock (which I also loved very much). AND, in 2013 and 2014, she and Amy Poehler also co-hosted the 70th and 71st Golden Globe Awards and totally rocked it. She even wrote her memoirs in a best-selling book called Bossy Pants, and jeez – is there anything this woman can’t do???
Can you believe that people have said that women aren’t funny? Yes, and these people are even other comedians who have even worked with funny women (btw, I’m giving John Belushi, Jerry Lewis and Chevy Chase the stink-eye right now). I know a lot of people who would disagree with these opinions…and in fact, there’s a GREAT podcast about the subject on Stuff Mom Never Told You that you can listen to here. And, you can read the book “We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy” by Yael Kohen. I’m sad that there are too many fantastically funny women who have performed on SNL to write about, but this post has already gone too long. If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations and thank you! To make it worth your while, share with me your favorite funny women – who makes you laugh your head off, from SNL or elsewhere?
21 thoughts on “Ladies I Love: W is for the Side-Splitting Women of Saturday Night Live!”
Great picks and tributes! What I love is what good friends Tina and Amy are in real life. To see them collaborate and genuinely like each other is highly unusual in our world of backstabbing reality shows. I envy them their friendship!
Good point, Sammy! I think that knowing Tina and Amy are close friends makes their comedy even funnier, because I can imagine them plotting and scheming sketches and jokes together. I love them both and I can’t wait to see more from them together! 🙂
It’s sad that Gilda didn’t live to guest star with Tina and Amy.
Hi Elizabeth – wouldn’t that have been fantastic? I could totally see Gilda doing a sketch with Tina and Amy, or even Molly Shannon and Cheri Oteri. Loved that woman. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Tina, Amy, and Kristen are my favorites too. I also love Cheri Oteri and Ana Gasteyer … and I’m really warming to the gang on there now. I like the all-women bits they do, like Twin-Sized Bed, which I just rewatched twice when it ran on the SNL Shorts special Thursday.
Cheri Oteri and Ana Gasteyer were great – and of the current cast, I love Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong. I just watched the Shorts special – Twin-Sized Bed was hilarious! I wish I had time to write up my top 20 female SNL actors…there are so many of them that crack me up! 😀
Cheri Oteri is another that I really liked. Love this stroll down memory lane!
Wendy at Jollett Etc.
Hi Wendy – yeah, I loved when Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell did sketches together; she would probably be number six or seven on my list. Thanks for stopping by! 😀
I was so happy to see that Gilda Radner was included, and the first one too. These ladies are amazing.
Hi Michelle! Gilda was amazing – very ahead of her time. I loved Jane Curtain, too – the pair of them were really funny! Thanks for stopping by! 😀
Great picks! It was tragic Gilda died so young. I also would pick these 5, though Jane Curtin was also hilarious.
I need to do a tribute to the ladies of SCTV, because Andrea Martin and Catherine O’hara are frickin’ hilarious!
Love the post!
Thanks, Ava! Yeah, Jane Curtin was really hysterical, too. I wish I could’ve done a top 20 list; alas, I do not have time! I will look forward to seeing your SCTV tribute – ha! Thanks for stopping by 😉
I was never a Gilda Radner fan, but I love, love, love the rest of the women you highlighted. They are hilarious!
Hi Kim! I was actually just watching some SNL from the early years and I think the style of the show, and the humor has really changed…in a lot of ways, the humor of the women actors has gotten a lot more sophisticated and clever. Gilda’s humor was different from her time, which is why I think I like her – I’m sad she’s not still around! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I’ve only really watched Tina, and I think she’s a hoot. I think she was wonderful as Palin.
Absolutely – one of my favorite characters she’s done! She’s great! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Just a fly-by – there’s everything at Fuzzy Undertones to come back for!
For now, Gilda! So many great characters in her repertoire! Emily Litella’s “Never mind” has always and forever will crack me up. And Tina Fey’s Palin, utter perfection…
Hi Miss Alister! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yeah, all the characters these women dreamed up are really hilarious…I don’t think I can truly pick a favorite. I loved Gilda’s little girl character – the Brownie? I can’t remember her name. Anyway, Yes! Come back and see all of the ladies I love! Z is going to be a little creepy (probably the creepiest), but I thought I’d end the A to Z Challenge with a bang. Why not, right???? 😀
The good old days when Saturday Night Live was my absolute favorite. 🙂
Yeah, it’s weird how there are some periods when SNL was totally lame, but others when it was the BEST. I remember watching that show with my mom and little brother when I was younger – those are some good memories! We used to laugh so hard at Dana Carvey singing “Chopping Broccoli” 😀