Whether you watch it for the celebrity guest hosts, the funny sketches or just in the hopes that someone will screw up on live television, Saturday Night Live can be pretty entertaining. There have been so many faces in the cast of that I find them difficult to keep track of, especially since many don’t stay long. After all, they can’t all be Jimmy Fallon (or Justin Timberlake, come to think of it. He’s hosted SNL like, a hundred times by now, right?). But just because these folks couldn’t make it on live television doesn’t mean they couldn’t make it. They may have left SNL – of their own accord or with a swift kick in the you-know-what – but they still became stars.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
(Photo: Mario Mitsis/WENN.com)
Julia was also first on our list of celebrities you might not have known were SNL cast members. Because, obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is Seinfeld. So who cares that SNL didn’t go so great for her? She followed it up with a famous television role and she met her husband, Brad Hall, on set! Plus, Julia currently stars in the HBO comedy Veep and has been nominated for and received many awards, such as the two Golden Globes she’s up for now.
2. Gilbert Gottfried
You may not know exactly what you know Gilbert from, but you know him, and it’s not because he got fired from SNL as part of a mid-season overhaul…though it may be because he got fired as the voice of the Aflac duck after sending offensive tweets regarding the 2011 tsunami in Japan. In spite of his debatable manners, Gilbert’s a famous comedian and he’s done alright for himself since leaving the show. He’ll make appearances in three movies this year, so happy 2014 to him!
3. Michaela Watkins
(Photo: WMTV, PacificCoastNews.com)
Michaela told Entertainment Weekly that she was fired from SNL because Lorne Michaels “felt deep down that I should have my own show. And I agreed.” Though this hasn’t happened, Michaela hasn’t shied away from the camera. She had a supporting role in The Back-Up Plan shortly after leaving SNL, she’s had recurring roles on comedy shows Enlightened and New Girl, she appeared in Wanderlust and she now co-stars in ABC’s Trophy Wife.
4. Damon Wayans
Saturday Night Live is, by definition, a live show, and we know anything can happen on live TV (VMAs, anyone?). Damon apparently took advantage of this, and was fired for improvising on the air. He’s had success since then as an actor and a writer, with shows like In Living Color and My Wife and Kids showcasing both of those talents.
5. Casey Wilson
(Photo: Brian To/WENN.com)
Casey was only on SNL for one calendar year, but her success has extended long past that. Though rumors flew that she was fired from the show for being “too fat,” Casey laughed those off as untrue. She was most recently popular as Penny Hartz on ABC’s Happy Endings, she had roles in movies such as Julie & Julia, Bride Wars and Killers and you’ll be seeing her in the upcoming movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl. Leaving SNL did not ruin her happy ending!
6. Chris Parnell
Seasons: 1998-2001, 2002-2006
Chris was not just fired from SNL, he was fired twice; the first time to make room for fresh talent and the second time due to budget cuts. When you’re as funny as Chris, that doesn’t get you down: he’s been in big movies like Anchorman, The Five Year Engagement and 21 Jump Street, voices a sex addict accountant on Archer and SNL cast mate Tina Fey obviously liked him enough to give him a recurring role on 30 Rock as Dr. Leo Spacemen, who I wouldn’t let treat me for anything more severe than a paper cut.
7. Jenny Slate
You may remember Jenny for her accidental “f-bomb” in her very first live sketch, which contributed to her contract not being renewed after her first year. The name “Jenny Slate” doesn’t ring any bells? How about Marcel the Shell? In addition to being the creator of the “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” video sensation and writer of a Marcel-themed children’s book, Jenny has also appeared in a recurring role on SNL cast member Amy Poehler’s comedy Parks and Recreation.