“Saturday Night Live” (“SNL”) is one of the most beloved late-night institutions of New York City. Since 1975, the show has given us American political satire, ridiculously funny sketches, a lobster in a diner musical and some of Hollywood’s biggest comedians.
Cast members have come on the show as unknown acts and have left as A-list celebrities. Being new to the cast means you have some big shoes to fill if you want to make it.
Here’s which cast members are promising stars and which ones have fallen under the radar:
1. Bowen Yang (2018-)
Bowen Yang is one of the most extravagant acts to grace Studio 8H’s sound stage. Starting off as a writer during season 44, Yang is now an official cast member. He is the first Chinese-American in “SNL” history, and he has already received an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.
One of Yang’s most memorable characters is the infamous iceberg from “Titanic.”
Without a doubt, we will be enjoying Yang’s work for years to come as he clearly has the star quality to make it big.
2. James Austin Johnson (2021-)
James Austin Johnson has just made his featured player debut this season. Johnson has already proved himself to be the “next big thing” as he opened his first-ever cold open.
The impressionist has mastered former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden’s mannerisms perfectly as he played them both for the show, and has also been in many sketches despite coming onto the show not long ago.
Johnson made it clear in his very first episode that he is here to stay and will soon become a household name.
3. Chloe Fineman (2019-)
Believed to be the perfect replacement for Kate McKinnon, impressionist Chloe Fineman can play just about anyone.
Fineman certainly has the potential to break out into the big leagues as she has already made late-night talk show appearances to make a name for herself. She just needs to be able to star in sketches that aren’t for her impressions, like impressionist king Bill Hader.
Hopefully, we’ll soon see more of Fineman’s comedy so she can cement herself as a Hollywood comedian.
4. Andrew Dismukes (2017-)
Andrew Dismukes has been a writer on “SNL” since 2017 and a featured player since 2020. He is the perfect actor for the weird, shy kid trope, but not much else.
His “Weekend Update” bit about his grandma was quite entertaining, but “SNL” needs stars that can be chameleons of comedy, not the same old, same old character. With that being said, he is still a funny member who will probably last a couple of seasons.
5. Punkie Johnson (2020-)
Punkie Johnson is still a featured player after her debut last season. She hasn’t yet made it as the star of any sketches and has been solidified in the background.
Johnson has had her funny moments, but she barely gets the screen time to make a name for herself. By now, it is not expected Johnson will live up to the legacy of comedians before her.
6. Sarah Sherman (2021-)
Sarah Sherman is one of the strangest acts to join the show, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She can definitely make the crowd bust out into laughter with her hilarious segment on “Weekend Update” with costar Colin Jost.
Sherman has the potential to be a big name on “SNL” if given the time and opportunity to work creatively.
7. Aristotle Athari (2021-)
Newcomer Aristotle Athari hasn’t made many appearances on the show just yet, as he just joined this year, but he already starred in one sketch, “Angelo,” with Rami Malek, that shows he can play more than just an extra.
While he hasn’t stood out much, if given the proper screen time, he may be able to surprise us all.
It’s hard to shine when you’re a part of the largest “Saturday Night Live” ensemble in history, but as more old cast members leave, it lets us meet the new faces who may just become the next Will Ferrell or Tina Fey.