With 43 seasons and 150 featured cast members so far, it’s no surprise NBC’s long-running comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live has a truly fascinating history — one that’s been covered in countless memoirs (two are Tina Fey’s and Amy Poehler’s), podcasts (WTF with Marc Maron has many SNL-centric episodes) and, more specifically, the national bestseller (and beast of a book) Live From New York, a complete and uncensored history of the show, straight from the mouths of its stars, writers and guests themselves.
To start, did you know there’s believed to be an SNL curse? Basically, once you leave the cast, you have a higher chance of an early death. How morbid is that? John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley and Phil Hartman (among others) are believed to be victims of the curse. They definitely died young: 33, 42, 33 and 49, respectively.
And have you heard of the F-Bomb Club? You do not want to be part of this club, either, especially if you’re a cast member. Sam Rockwell and Kristen Stewart are two of the most recent celebs to join it by accidentally dropping the F-bomb when they appeared as hosts on the show. Lucky for them, they weren’t part of the cast, or they would have gotten fired. It’s true; producer Lorne Michaels has a very low tolerance for cursing on live TV (for good reason).
For instance, remember when Jenny Slate, a cast member from 2009-2010, dropped the F-bomb on her very first on-air skit? She never quite lived it down because she eventually got fired for doing it.
For some, getting fired might signal the end of their career, but not for these former SNL cast members. In fact, getting the ax helped boost them to fame and stardom.
Here are 15 SNL cast members who got fired and made it big.