There’s been a lot of talk about Saturday Night Live this week with the addition of Michael Che to “Weekend Update” (and the subtraction of Cecily Strong). Colin Jost, of course, was allowed to remain on the “Weekend Update” desk, mostly because he has been in the writers’ room forever, and he was groomed to take that job.
Speaking of the writers’ room, obviously a lot of talented actors and actresses come out of the SNL cast and go on to huge careers in movies and television. SNL is still the breeding grounds for a huge, huge amount of today’s comedy (and if you can’t see that, you aren’t opening your eyes). But a lot of today’s best talent came from SNL but were never in the cast itself. They were but mere writers. Three of the best examples of now famous people who began as writers (but not cast members) on SNL are probably Conan O’Brien, John Mulaney, and Will Ferrell’s acting/producer partner, Adam McKay (all three of which served as head writers at some point).
However, here’s ten you may not know began their careers in the SNL writers’ room.
Bob Odenkirk — Odenkirk, most famous for Mr. Show and, of course, Breaking Bad (and it’s forthcoming spin-off, Better Call Saul), was a writer on SNL between 1987 and 1991, working mostly with Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel.
Larry David — David, obviously best known for co-creating Seinfeld and for Curb Your Enthusiasm, worked as a writer on SNL in the 1984-85 seasons, though he only managed to get one sketch on the air, a 10-to-1 skit. In fact, David quit at mid-season, only to return a few days later acting as though nothing had happened, which inspired an episode of Seinfeld, “The Revenge.”
Mindy Kaling — Kaling, a writer and actress on The Office, and now the writer and star of her own show, wrote for exactly one episode of Saturday Night Live in 2006. She had been offered a full-time writing gig but couldn’t take it because of commitments to The Office, but they did let her guest write one episode.
Hannibal Buress — Burress, who is now one of stand-ups fastest rising stars (and amazing in Comedy Central’s Broad City), spent one season (2009-2010) as a writer on Saturday Night Live before leaving, having had only one of his sketches make it to air.
John Lutz — John Lutz, best known for playing Lutz, a writer on a sketch comedy show in 30 Rock, began as a writer on a sketch show, Saturday Night Live, for seven seasons. He’s now a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers.