Since the show first aired on October 11, 1975, Saturday Night Live as constantly made up laugh with its cooky sketches and butting social commentary. From Bill Murray to Cecily Strong, the show has launched the careers of some of America’s funniest entertainers and continues to churn out knee slapping content.
Business tycoon Elon Musk made his comedic debut as the show’s host on last week’s episode. While most die-hards were perturbed by the random chose of casting Musk, the billionaire made waves by cracking jokes at his own expense. He notably stated that he was the first host of the show to be diagnosed with Asperger’s – or at least, the first person to admit it,” he adds.
Though Musk stood front and center during Saturday’s performance as the richest man alive, you’d be remise to not acknowledge the select few SNL alumni who are also racking in the dough. Here are the some of the wealthiest Saturday Night Live cast members!
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6 Tracy Morgan – $70 Million
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Before this SNL legend took to the iconic set of Studio 8H, most audiences recognized him for his recurring role as Hustle Man on Fox’s Martin. Though, when he finally made his SNL debut in 1996, fans were enamored by his brilliant stage presence in skits like the parrot centric “Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet” and the ever so hilarious “Scared Straight: Underage Drinking” when he shared the stage with Kenan Thompson.
Within the seven years and 136 stellar performances, Morgan appeared in a number of films that equate to his $70 million net worth. Films like Half Baked and Head of State along with his starring in Tina Fey’s tribute show to SNL, 30 Rock put Morgan on the map as one of the most successful of the series’ cast members.
In 2014, Morgan unfortunately got into a car collision with a Wal-Mart truck which caused him life hanging brain injury. Though the injury put a halt to the star’s performing abilities, it’s said that Morgan received a rather hefty settlement from the mega chain. While the exact mount of money he received was never disclosed, CBS reports that court documents suggest the compensation to be “as high as $90 million.”
5 Tina Fey – $75 Million
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While Tina Fey may have made a name for herself during her nine years as a staff writer and performer on SNL, it’s what she did after her run that granted her iconic status in the entertainment industry.
Who can forget her biggest contribution to American culture: Mean Girls. Fey penned the iconic film and, in 2004, it took the world by storm with it’s beyond clever wordplay and cheeky characters. This catapulted Tina as a forced to be reckoned with in her field, producing her highly acclaimed show 30 Rock (which was actually inspired by her time at SNL). Celebrity Net Worth reports that the star made a whopping $500,000 per episode of this show.
Along with the successes of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt and her New York Bestselling autobiography, Bossypants, Fey has made an amazing career for herself post-SNL.
4 Chris Rock – $100 million
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Who can forget Chris Rock’s hilarious narration of the UPN sitcom based on his teenage years in Everybody Hates Chris? Audiences easily remember Rock’s out of the box comedic stylings in such classics as Madagascar and Grown Ups; but let us not forget that he got his biggest break by wowing audiences every Saturday at Studio 8H.
SNL fans and critics alike list the 90’s as some of the best years for the program and Rock was an integral part of this phenomenon. With legendary skits like “Nat X” and his beyond spot-on impressions, Rock made a huge impact to the show within his three years as a cast member.
Though in ’93, the comedy genius was let go by execs due to his interests in a competing program. In Living Color was the new hit show on the block, offering more creative freedom to it’s cast members that Rock just wasn’t getting from SNL.
“When I got hired, I was the first black guy in like eight years,” the comedian explains during an episode of Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, “and In Living Color was just hip. The sh*t was hot. I wanted to be in an environment where I didn’t have to translate the comedy I wanted to do.”
Though the show was cancelled a month after Rock joined the cast, he continued to become one of the most revered – and wealthiest – comedians in the industry.
3 Mike Myers – $175 million
With his starring roles in the iconic mega franchise Austin Powers, this Canadian performer certainly has one of the biggest success stories post-SNL. Mike Myers entertained the audiences of the show for a whopping six seasons, joining the likes of Kevin Nealon and Dennis Miller and ’89.
While Myers played a plethora of ironically funny characters during his time on the show, it was his portrayal of everyone’s favorite whacky metalhead, Wayne Champbell that truly stuck with audiences even to this day. The character was so galvanizing, it landed Myers and his partner-in-crime Dana Carvey their own movie adaptation called, Wayne’s World. The film was such a hit that it got a sequel, earning Myers $4.5 million for both pictures.
Mike Myers’ astonishing net worth can certainty be attributed to the colossal success of the Austin Powers franchise. While the first installment brought the star $3.5 million, he wound up with $25 million after the third movie, Austin Powers in Goldmember, wrapped production.
2 Robert Downey Jr. – $300 million
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Of course, everyone knows Robert Downey Jr. as the sarcastic, superhero billionaire, Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But many tend to forget that Downey was also a member of SNL in ’85. A big reason many people overlook his time on the show was because it was quite short lived.
It’s safe to say that live sketch comedy was not Downey’s strongest point at the time, as he was only on the show for a single season. The actor was still very green to acting, only having a few Off-Broadway roles and bit movie parts under his belt. With a rather lackluster run, failing miserably to uncomfortable laughter during sketches like Suitcase Boy, Downey came in dead last in Rolling Stone’s 2015 ranking of the every SNL cast member. He was, of course, not asked to return for the next season.
This, although, did not deter the young star-to-be. He rose through the ranks of Hollywood, immediately redeeming his subpar tv stint that same year with his appearance as a school bully in Weird Science. From Chances Are to Soapdish, Downey continued to prove that he had the chops to be a landing man.
After a long battle with substance abuse, Downey returned to the big screen, first staring in Mel Gibson’s The Singing Detective. After producers noticed him cleaning up his act, he began to continue his career as one of the most prolific actors of our time. He joined the world of the MCU, garnishing $50 million from the first Avengers movie and $80 million for the second installment.
1 Adam Sandler – $420 million
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Along with holing the title of the richest cast member to grace the SNL stage, Forbes listed Adam Sandler as one of the richest actors in the world!
Even before his SNL days, Sandler had begun carving quite the path for his career in the industry. During his studies at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, he was killing it at stand up and made several appearances on TV like the Cosby Show and Remote Control. In ’90 his comedic prowess caught the attention of SNL legend Dennis Miller and he soon found himself in show’s writing room.“I did all right, my first few weeks I got skits on,” Sandler laments in a 2015 interview with Howard Stern, “But I wasn’t in them.”
The following year, Sandler finally got his chance to shine onscreen. While he was initially given skits like “Dance Party U.S.A” – which was received so poorly, it was replaced with a completely different sketch during reruns of its episode – Sandler soon became a pivotal figure in what many fans call the golden era of SNL. Though he suffered a similar fate as Chris Rock when he was let go in ’95.
Much like Rock, Sandler’s career completely blew up after his departure from the show. Now, receiving upwards of $20 millions per movie, he dominates the field of motion pictures with smash hits like the 2019’s award snagging thriller, Uncut Gems.
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Sources: CBS, Celebrity Net Worth, Insider, Rolling Stone
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