Mike Ryan recently wrote about the problem with this year’s cast size on Saturday Night Live, suggesting that with 17 members, it’s not only difficult for newer cast members to get screentime, but for the entire cast to develop a personality.
I watch the show every week, and there’s still a couple of the new cast members that I couldn’t name without looking them up (Brooks Whelan and John Milhiser seemed to have made the smallest impression so far). This cast runs the risk, more than any other in years, of having more than one or two cast members be completely forgotten come 2015.
It happens, of course. There are certain members added to SNL casts over the years that never really leavean impression, and often only make a headline when they depart or when they show up on a sitcom three years later and are advertised as SNL alums (really? She was on SNL?) It’s not entirely the cast member’s fault; he may simply not fit in with a certain cast, and never even get the opportunity to set himself apart in order to make that lasting impression.
There have been several contenders for the least memorable SNL cast member of the 21st Century so far, but with apologies to Abby Elliot, these 10 left the smallest impression during their time with the show.
Jerry Minor (2000-2001). Best known sketch: “Rap Street” (with Horatio Sanz)
Dean Edwards (2001). Best known for his Don Cheadle impression.
Jeff Richards (2001-2004). Best known for “Drunk Girl,” a recurring segment on “Weekend Update.”
Finesse Mitchell (2003-2006). Best known for his recurring sketch, Starkisha, a stereotypically ghetto woman with a bad attitude.
Rob Riggle (2004-2005). Best known for, uh, being on The Daily Show (he also did impressions of Larry the Cable Guy, Howard Dean, Rick Sanchez, Mark McGwire, and Toby Keith on SNL).
Casey Wilson (2008-2010). Best known for Dusty Velvet, “the paralyzed stripper” (and after SNL, of course, Happy Endings).
Michaela Watkins (2008-2009). Best known for her Hoda Kotb impression and an Arianna Huffington impression, though I don’t remember either (someone besides Nasim Pedrad did an Arianna impression?). I love her in Trophy Wife, but have no memory of her on SNL. She was let go at the same time as Casey Wilson.
Jenny Slate (2009-2010). Best known sketch: Slate is probably best known for accidentally saying “f**king” during her very first ever sketch (and later as Jean-Ralphio’s sister on Parks and Recreation). She also had a recurring sketch as Tina-Tina Chaneuse, an infomercial pitchwoman of unspecified Latino heritage.
Paul Brittain (2010 - 2012). Best known for being Bob Newhart’s nephew. Also for Lord Cecil Wyndemere (a childlike, 48-year-old lord).
Tim Robinson (2012-2013). Best known for being only the second cast member to be demoted from featured player to staff writer (he’s still on the writing staff). The first was Brian Doyle-Murray. Robinson was also in one recurring sketch as Carl, an elderly retail worker who always got insulted by characters played by Bobby Moynihan and Cecily Strong.