Rank the SNL Alums' post SNL careers

It seems to be consensus that if you were in SNL AND the star of a Shrek film, you are in the discussion for most successful SNL alum. Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers have done some BIG films over the years.

Here’s the full cast list.

Give the top five or ten in order.

Also, the reason I was thinking about this is I was wondering where Tina Fey fit in the pecking order. If she is not in your list, please give an approximation of where Fey would fall (e.g.- the mid-teens).

Feel free to include features and outside work done while still on the show (e.g.- Murphy did 48 Hours while still performing).

Not talking quality, but here is my list:

1 Eddie Murphy- BHC1-3, 48 Hours, Shrek, Oscar nomination
2 Mike Myers- Shrek, Austin Powers, Wayne’s World
3 Adam Sandler- Waterboy, Big Daddy, generic sandler hit
4 Will Ferrell- Old School, Step Brothers, Taladega Nights, Elf
5 Bill Murray- Stripes, Ghostbusters, Lost In Translation (Oscar nom)
6 Julia Louis-Dreyfus- Seinfeld, Old Christine (two Emmys)
7 Chevy Chase- Vacation 1&3, Fletch, Caddyshack,Spies Like Us
8 Ben Stiller- Tropic Thunder, Night at Museum, Something About Mary, DODGEBALL!
9 Billy Crystal- City Slickers, Oscar nom AND the greatest host ever, Harry Met Sally
10 Dan Aykroyd- Ghostbusters, Spies Like Us, Driving Miss Daisy (Oscar Nom)

I figure Fey is between 11-17 with Chris Rock, Robert Downey Jr., and David Spade (has had a surprisingly good career for someone so awful!) There has to be a special spot for SENATOR Al Franken, as well!

The clear #1 – Al Franken. The man is in the Senate. They’ll be naming building after him once he retires.

Not a bad list (of people; you could certainly add to the list of accomplishments for some of them).

I wouldn’t put Ben Stiller on it, just because I don’t think of him as an SNL alum: he wasn’t on very long, and I don’t remember seeing him on the show. But if he counts, he’s certainly had a successful career. I might rank Chris Rock a bit higher. And Jane Curtin deserves mention for starring in two successful TV shows after SNL. John Belushi didn’t do a lot outside of SNL (alas), but some of what he did was pretty iconic: Animal House, The Blues Brothers.

Gotta move Dan Ayckroyd up. He also did:

Trading Places
Ghostbusters 2
The Blues Brothers

Among many other smaller roles.

The list below ranks SNL alumni by both ticket sales and tomato-meter ratings of their movies.

Eddie Murphy wins the box office sales list in a walk. The most critically acclaimed is Bill Murray.

With some of these, there’s an obvious judgment call to be made. Is a bit part in Shrek worth the same as the lead actor role in Trading Places? Is voice acting work as important as acting in live action? Etc.

SNL Alumns by the numbers

I would put Robert Downey Jr. somewhere in the top 5, based on his range as an actor, e.g., Chaplin (Best Actor Oscar nom.; won BAFTA); Tropic Thunder (Oscar nom.); Sherlock Holmes (Golden Globe); A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (Sundance jury prize); Ally McBeal (Emmy); Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Through a Scanner Darkly, Short Cuts, Home for the Holidays, Restoration, Less Than Zero

Other alums that I would add to the original list are
12. John Belushi – Animal House; Blues Brothers
13. Chris Rock – Bring the Pain, Bigger & Blacker, Never Scared, Chris Rock Show; has won 3 Emmys
14. Christopher Guest – Spinal Tap; Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show
15. Anthony Michael Hall – (iconic - 80s brat pack) Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Edward Scissorhands; Dead Zone TV show
16. Tina Fey – 30 Rock, Sarah Palin, Mean Girls
17. Jane Curtin – Kate & Allie (2 Emmys); 3rd Rock From the Sun

Also, Adam Sandler’s list above should include Punch-Drunk Love, Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Spanglish

If you wanna go quality rather than box office I’d say there’s been only one truly great actor to come out of SNL…

Bill Murray

I will happily agree with that if we specify pre Lost in Translation, now I am not going to engage with the rest of the cast or the audience or even the fucking script but I will play parody Bill Murray, Bill Murray.

Robert Downey, Jr. has been nominated for a couple of Oscars and Iron Man was a great film. He certainly has quality.

If this list is based on quality instead of box office success, then John Belushi should be ahead of Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler. Any ten minutes of Animal House has more laughs than all of Ferrell’s and Sandler’s movies combined.

I’m personally not convinced Animal House is as great as everyone says it is (I didn’t see anything particularly memorable or outstandingly funny about it), but it has been around for ages and lampooned and parodied so often I think it’s suffering from its own success, so to speak.

And Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Stranger Than Fiction are all excellent movies in various ways. Even Happy Gilmore isn’t bad, IMHO.

Tina Fey needs to rank higher based upon awards. She doesn’t have the box office of some of the men, mainly because she has only done two movies thus far, but she has seven Emmys, three Golden Globes, four SAG Awards and four Writers Guild Awards. That’s more notice than Murphy, Myers, Sandler, Ferrell and Murray put together. And her awards are for performing and writing. None of the other alums come anywhere close in terms of acclaim, she’s got clout, and her clout is growing.

None of Anthony Michael Hall’s iconic film performances came after SNL. They’re what got him onto SNL to begin with. Only Edward Scissorhands happened after his year-long stint in the NRFPTP. No way he ranks above Tina Fey. No way is he even top 20. He’s had one hit film and one TV series on basic cable since SNL.

I’m surprised that Rob Schneider ranks above Will Ferrell, but I guess it makes sense once you factor in the bit parts he’s done in about every Sandler movie.
As for Mike Myers, I noticed that almost everything he’s done outside the Austin Powers, Shrek and Wayne’s World franchises, has been a flop.

In terms of respectable careers, I’m going with Downey, Fey, Guest, and Murray. With Crystal, Rock, and Stiller in the next tier.

I thought that Breakfast Club and Weird Science were released while Anthony Michael Hall was on SNL. I guess I was mistaken. I don’t have time to look through the list again, but I don’t know who else would make the top 20 over AMH. Edward Scissorhands was a pretty big movie, and The Dead Zone had a small but very devoted following.

I think you’re right that Tina Fey should be higher up on the list. It’s hard to know how to compare successful movies to successful TV or top tier standup, though. I would rank movies as being the highest in the celebrity pecking order, followed by standup and then TV. IMO Mean Girls is Tina Fey’s best work so far (I like it much better than 30 Rock). I didn’t see Baby Mama but the trailer looked pretty bad. I wouldn’t say she’s cracked the top ten SNL alums yet, but I do think she will probably end up there.

If you’re talking movie quality, gotta put Bill Murray #1. If you look at the link from** Sam Stone**, Bill has a whole string of tomatoes (about 70% of his movies) whereas all of the others are well below 50%. Tina Fey is definitely charging up the list.

Including an Oscar nomination for Driving Miss Daisy. Also great in supporting roles in My Girl and Grosse Point Blank.

I don’t disagree, but that’s a pretty big “outside.” I mean- to make an admittedly silly comparison- even Harrison Ford becomes a lot less successful when you remove Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Plus IIRC, Meyers created Austin Powers & Wayne’s World.

Thought I was in crazyland because Steve Martin hadn’t been listed, but apparently he was never a cast member! Whaddayaknow.

I give Meyer’s the nod because he writes damn funny stuff and he acts in damn funny stuff. In several different styles(I love so I married an axe murderer, and he is perfect in it)