The Post-SNL Careers of 5 Featured Players
Tonight's season finale of Saturday Night Live will see the departure of longtime impressionist Bill Hader, who joined the cast in 2005. Like plenty of SNL celebs before him, Hader’s star will undoubtedly burn bright as he follows in Will Ferrell’s blockbuster footsteps, but not all SNL alums have pursued further careers in entertainment. Here’s a look at some SNL ex-pats whose found new life both on the screen and off.
1. Christopher Guest
That’s The Right Honourable The Lord Haden-Guest to you: Christopher Guest, who appeared on SNL for just a year (1984-85), stepped into his role as The 5th Baron Haden-Guest in 1996 (his older half-brother, Anthony, was ineligible). The comedian, who was born in New York City, retains dual citizenship with the U.K.; the title has been in the Haden-Guest family since 1950, when it was given to then-politician Leslie Haden-Guest. Christopher—who managed to continue to make movies during his time as 5th Baron, most notably the mockumentaries Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind—stayed active in the House of Lords until a 1999 act cut his political career short.
2. Robin Duke
Remembered for playing Wendy Whiner from 1981-84, Duke shifted from performing comedy to teaching it: She became a professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Toronto’s Humber College in 2004. Her RateMyProfessor overall quality score? A paltry 2.2. The actress still tours with her Women Fully Clothed sketch comedy troupe.
3. Christine Ebersole
Some of Ebersole’s notable SNL impressions—Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary, country singer Barbara Mandrell—were musical. After she left the show following its 1981-82 season, she appeared in a number of films, including Amadeus and Black Sheep. But she was most successful on the Broadway stage: She snagged a Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony for her role in 2001’s revival of 42nd Street; in 2007, she won her second Tony for her performance as both Big Edie and Little Edie in the musical adaptation of Grey Gardens.
4. Pamela Stephenson
The first female cast member born outside of North America (she appeared in the show’s 1984-85 season), the New Zealander officially tacked a PhD onto her title in 1996—she’s a licensed clinical psychologist and formerly owned a private practice in Beverly Hills. You might remember her for her faux-British Weekend Update commentary as frizzy-haired Angela Bradleigh, but Dr. Stephenson Connolly is now a trained hypnotherapist, specializes in human sexuality, and has done field studies in Samoa and Tonga. Maybe laughter is pretty good medicine after all.
5. Al Franken
One of SNL’s two original writers—and known for such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley—the Democratic funnyman took over the junior United States Senator office in Minnesota in 2008. The election was no laughing matter; incumbent Norm Coleman's supposed victory over Franken (within half of one percent) was challenged by a recount in an 8-month legal scuffle. Franken emerged with 312 votes more than Coleman, and was sworn in during July of 2009, seven months after his term officially began.