Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SNL year - 1984-1985

Updated with some background info on the year.

TLIF (Ryan) named the year: 1984-1985

Can you name the cast members in this photo?

So Lorne Michaels' original players were leaving by 1978 (that's when Aykroyd and John Belushi left). Lorne then tried to fill in the gaps with the brothers and writers. There were some frustrations with the studio, and in 1980, Lorne left SNL and all his people went with him. The studio recast the whole thing, and they had a completely new list of players, including Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, and Gilbert Gottfried.

Well, that was a bust, so they brought Lorne back for the 81-81 season, and Lorne hasn't left sense. The first thing Lorne did was that he let go almost all of the cast except for Piscopo and Eddie Murphy. Next, he started bringing back some of the players he was previously working on (namely his writing team and Brian Doyle-Murray), Finally, he continued hiring fresh faces (Julia Louis Dreyfus in 82, Jim Belushi in 83).

Despite all that, the show was still being carried by Eddie Murphy, who left in the 83-84 season (but it was supported well). And that was also Piscopo's last season. So Lorne tried to drum up some fresh comedians for the 84-85 season: Billy Crystal (who hosted before he joined; he was a famous comedian), Harry Shearer (Lorne used him back in 89), Martin Short (fresh off of SCTV), and Cristopher Guest. Plus Belushi and Louis-Dreyfus were still on and very talented.

After this year in the picture (84-85), Lorne was losing his top cast, and he had to revitalize the show. The show just wasn't as hot as it was with the original cast (specifically Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, and Gilda Radner), and it wasn't as hot as it was with Eddie Murphy leading the cast. So the 85-86 season was a huge rehaul. Nobody who was in this picture made it to the next season (combination of people leaving and rehauling the show).

In the 1985-1986 season, Lorne used three strategies. First, he hired existing comedic actors who have been in movies (Robert Downey Jr., Anothony Michael Hall, Joan Cusack, and Randy Quaid). Second, he started to bring on fresh, new comedians (the ones who stuck from 1985 were Dennis Miller and Jon Lovitz). Third, he followed his previous strategy of featuring his writers again (including Al Franken, Don Novello, and Damon Wayans).

Then, the year after that (86-87), he pulled out his movie actors, scaled back the writers, and concentrating on filling in new comedians (adding Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey).

Then the rest is history. They continued to add fresh new comedians, to mixed results and mixed reviews. The highlights were Kevin Nealon in 87; Mike Meyers and Ben Stiller in 88; Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and David Spade in 90; Michael McKean, Norm MacDonald, Jay Mohr, and Sarah Silverman in 93-94; Chris Elliott, Janeane Garofalo, Mark McKinney, and Molly Shannon in 94; Jim Breur, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, David Koechner, Cheri Oteri, and Chris Kattan in 95; Ana Gasteyer in 96; Jimmy Fallon and Chris Parnell in 98; Tina Fey in 2000; Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler in 01; Fred Armisen and Will Forte in 02; Kenan Thompson in 03; Jason Sudeikis in 04; Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig in 05.

So there you go... from Billy Crystal and Martin Short to Andy Samberg and Bill Hader! =^)



The Lonely Island fan said...

1984-1985 season!

(Yes I had to do research....) ;)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No, John Belushi's brother, James/Jim. Kimmel does kind of look like him here.

Ed Price said...

I'll see if I can name them. There are a few I'm not sure about. There's Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Billy Crystal. So there are 4 that I can't name off the top of my head.


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