Over the weekend, I watched a Saturday Night Live retrospective highlighting the first five years of the series. It confirmed my long-standing opinion of SNL – that I’d much rather spend an hour and a half with Aykroyd and Belushi than with Farley and Spade. And although I do enjoy Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, you have to admit there was something special about Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner. The talented ’75-’80 SNL casts, besides the above mentioned stars, introduced us to Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, and a pre-Spinal Tap Harry Shearer. On the other hand, the only 80′s/ 90′s SNL stars that have transcended into superstardom have been Will Ferrell, Mike Myers and Adam Sandler. In the 90′s alone, SNL spinoff films included Coneheads, It’s Pat, A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar and The Ladies Man, but none were nearly as successful as the two Wayne’s World movies.
After reading “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live” by Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller, I’m not at all surprised that there have been very few female cast members who have found big screen success after leaving the show. The fact that Fey and Poehler now anchor ‘Weekend Update’ is at least visual proof that the the equally funny women of SNL have their Manolos in the door of the old boys club that has permeated the show since its inception.