More than 40 years after it first hit the air, Saturday Night Live remains an enduringly relevant pop culture phenomenon. Few shows have faced as much scrutiny as the various iterations of the not-ready-for-primetime-players have, but even fewer have survived nearly 800 episodes and can still generate the attention, buzz and headlines of SNL. In recent weeks, NBC's Saturday night flagship delved into controversy by booking Donald Trump as a guest host and then drew praise by breaking from standard format to honor Paris in the aftermath of the November 13th attacks with a tribute from Cecily Strong.
Over the years, the SNL machine has stayed fresh through the energy and spirit of an ever-changing roster of dynamic, funny young comedians looking to build a wider following through greater exposure. The show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, has always had a keen eye for talent and it’s been under his watch that budding stars like Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, along with so many more, have used Studio 8H as a stepping stone for big screen stardom.
Of course, not every on-air talent within the SNL universe has made it big. For every John Belushi, there are innumerable talent-less players like Tony Rosato and scads of poor fits like Jay Mohr. To succeed with Michaels, you need to pitch skits that get the green light after a mid-week table read and then manage to deliver the goods live in front of an in-studio and TV audience while navigating through a versatile variety of skits. In other words, it isn't quite the fun and games that it may look like from the outside in.
No wonder, then, that these 10 poor souls didn’t quite make the grade. You could say that they were not ready to be not-ready-for-primetime players.
10 Victoria Jackson
9 Brad Hall
8 Colin Quinn
7 Jenny Slate
6 Anthony Michael Hall
5 Jim Belushi
4 Damon Wayans
3 Charles Rocket
2 Ellen Cleghorne
1 Horatio Sanz
No one found Horatio Sanz funnier than Sanz, himself. That much is evident by the countless sketches in which the jovial, heavy-set eight-year cast member couldn’t hold back his laughter and 'broke' in the middle of sketches. Only Jimmy Fallon could match his friend and fellow player in number of crack-ups, but Fallon at least offered reason to laugh. Remarkably, Sanz actually got worse over the course of his lengthy run, transitioning from prepared and able to used his humorous look to deliver straight-faced physical comedy to a spastic, volatile mess that gradually became uncomfortable to watch.
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