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The 15 Longest-Running Cast Members in ‘Saturday Night Live’ History

Ellen Gutoskey
Kenan Thompson at the 47th Annual People's Choice Awards in 2021.
Kenan Thompson at the 47th Annual People's Choice Awards in 2021. / Amy Sussman/GettyImages
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Some Saturday Night Live performers barely stay for a season. Others post up at 30 Rock for so long that it’s hard to imagine an episode without them. Chief among this latter class is Kenan Thompson, who’s been a comedic cornerstone of the show since joining up in 2003.

As The Wrap reports, that’s 19 seasons and counting—more than any other cast member in SNL history. The former Nickelodeon star has played everyone from Steve Harvey to Reba McEntire, along with plenty of original characters, too. Even casual SNL viewers are probably familiar with Thompson’s Diondre Cole, host of the fictional talk show What Up With That?

Before Thompson, the longest-running cast member was Darrell Hammond, who throughout his 14 seasons was especially memorable for his impressions of celebrities like Bill Clinton and Sean Connery. Seth Meyers’s 13-season run landed him in a close third. He left during the 2013-2014 season, and Colin Jost—who had already been writing for the show since 2005—filled his empty "Weekend Update" seat.

Jost has now been delivering irreverent headlines on Saturday nights for the better part of nine seasons, making him one-sixth of a six-way tie for sixth place. The other five players include Kyle Mooney, Bobby Moynihan, Kevin Nealon, Maya Rudolph, and Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis.

Meyers and Jost aren’t the only two people who exited or joined the cast in the middle of a season. Rudolph actually did both: She was hired as a featured player for the last few episodes of the 1999-2000 season, then left in November of the 2007-2008 season. So while she only really spent seven years with SNL, her tenure spanned nine seasons. While Rudolph has made quite a few cameos since her departure, she’s still three hosting gigs away from earning a spot in the Five-Timers Club.

See who else made the list of longest-running cast members and revisit some of their best sketches below.

1. Kenan Thompson // 19 Seasons (2003-Present)

2. Darrell Hammond // 14 Seasons (1995-2009)

3. Seth Meyers // 13 Seasons (2001-2014)

4. Fred Armisen // 11 Seasons (2002-2013)

4. Al Franken // 11 Seasons (1977-1980, 1986, 1988-1995)

4. Kate McKinnon // 11 Seasons (2012-2022)

5. Aidy Bryant // 10 Seasons (2012-2022)

5. Tim Meadows // 10 Seasons (1991-2000)

5. Cecily Strong // 10 Seasons (2012-Present)

6. Colin Jost // 9 Seasons (2014-Present)

6. Kyle Mooney // 9 Seasons (2013-2022)

6. Bobby Moynihan // 9 Seasons (2008-2017)

6. Kevin Nealon // 9 Seasons (1986-1995)

6. Maya Rudolph // 9 Seasons (2000-2007)

6. Jason Sudeikis // 9 Seasons (2005-2013)

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