Late Night Hosts That Got Their Start On SNL

"Saturday Night Live" is one of the longest-running shows on TV with one of the most storied histories. The weekly late-night sketch comedy show has grown as an institution, both in comedy history and New York City history, since its debut in October 1975. The show has counted immense comedic talents among its revolving door of over 150 cast members over 46 years (per Insider). 

For some comedians, the show is the perfect home to really hone their craft. For others, it's a springboard to new comedic opportunities. "Saturday Night Live" is indirectly responsible for some of your favorite films and TV shows, including "Bridesmaids," "Archer," "Wayne's World," and so many more. 

There are also a number of talented "SNL" alum who have gone on to expand their own brand with late-night television shows of their own. These five comedians decided to take on talk television after stints at 30 Rock.

Dennis Miller was nervous to resurrect Weekend Update

Dennis Miller had a unique role as an "Saturday Night Live" cast member. He was on the show from 1985 to 1991 (per IMDb). While most cast members find themselves rotating through sketches, Miller's efforts were primarily focused to his role as a Weekend Update anchor (per Retro Junk). In that time, he made the show his own with touches that were uniquely his, such as rock-driven introduction songs that changed each week.

"The first night I did 'Update' ... you know, you're kind of in low-level shock when you do that gig. You're a comedian who's been brought in from the road. It's like John le Carré or something. All I remember thinking the whole week before I did the first one was, 'My God, Chevy Chase did this,'" Miller recalled in an interview with Vulture. 

After leaving "SNL," Miller took a crack at a late night talk show with "The Dennis Miller Show." The show premiered in January 1992 and lasted seven months before cancellation (per IMDb). In 1994, he gave it another shot with "Dennis Miller Live," with which he found greater success. The half-hour HBO talk show aired over 200 episodes until its cancellation in 2002.

Sarah Silverman's time on SNL was short-lived

Many people aren't aware that Sarah Silverman was hired as part of the 1993-1994 season of "Saturday Night Live" (per IMDb). She came aboard as a writer and featured player, which was a big break for someone who had only gotten her start in comedy a year prior. Sadly, it didn't last. After 18 weeks and one season, Silverman was fired by fax without any of her sketches ever making it to air (per Herald Weekly).

Silverman has had an awesome career in comedy since despite the early setback. In 2017, she tried her hand as a talk-show host with her Hulu series "I Love You, America" (per IMDb). The series took a humorous look at some of the harder subjects facing a very politically-divided America. "With monologues about this very moment coming from her personal point of view, this show aims to venture out of our echo chambers and connect unlike-minded people," Hulu described (per Deadline). "The show reunites ourselves with compassion and empathy without missing a comedic beat."

While the first season had a fair amount of fans, Hulu cancelled it in January 2019.

Norm Macdonald was unforgettable on and after Saturday Night Live

Norm Macdonald was a "Saturday Night Live" heavyweight. Not only was he unforgettable in sketches during his time on the cast from 1993 to 1998, but he shined at the Weekend Update desk (per Deadline). In the years since, Macdonald continued to be recognized as one of the show's most memorable and dynamic cast members. 

Macdonald continued work on television and in stand-up after "SNL." His many talents were clear in every project he took up, but he managed to shine especially in an unusual spot. Macdonald had a reputation as one of the best guests you could have on a TV show, filled to the brim with humorous stories and bits of comedic bits that just worked on any stage (per Vulture).

It made perfect sense then that at three different points in his career, Macdonald was given the opportunity for a talk show of his own. The first was in 2011, when Macdonald hosted 9 episodes of "Sports Now With Norm Macdonald" (per Entertainment Weekly). He hosted "Norm Macdonald Live," a weekly talk show/podcast where he chatted with fellow actors and comedians (per Vulture). Most recently, there was "Norm Macdonald Has A Show" (per IMDb). While it only lasted a single season, which many now speculate was because of Macdonald's concealed illness, guests included Chevy Chase and Drew Barrymore.

Jimmy Fallon's career blew up thanks to SNL

Jimmy Fallon joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" as young comic with a lot of potential. He admits that his first audition for the show flopped however (leading to the hiring of Tracy Morgan), but it was the second one that did the trick (per USA Today). 

"I did an impression of Adam Sandler. At the time he had just left the show, and no one had done an impression of Adam. And I made Lorne [Michaels] laugh — he put his head in his hands, and he laughed, and I thought, 'Wow!'"

Fallon was on the cast of the show from 1998 to 2004, when he moved on to pursue film. After a few years of feeling like he wasn't hitting his stride doing movies, Michaels contacted Fallon about a late night gig, leading to "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." He continued on successfully as the host until he was poached for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," succeeding Jay Leno's run as host in 2014 (per IMDb).

Seth Meyers has put his own spin on late night TV

Seth Meyers was a student at Northwestern University when he decided to pursue comedy, but it wasn't always easy for him."Let this be a real 'stick-to-your-dreams' story," Meyers once told Penn State students about the experience (per The Daily Collegian). "I did not get on my college improv team until my senior year. But in the years that led up to it, I used to go into Chicago and take improv classes."

Meyers graduated Northwestern University in 1996. After that, he moved to Chicago to work on improv with a group called Comedy Olympics. Later, he moved to Amsterdam to join an improv theater formed by college friends (per Badger Herald). He returned to the states in 2000 to do a two-man show with his friend, Jill Benjamin. That show landed him his audition for "Saturday Night Live" in 2001. He was a featured player during his first few years on the show, then moved to repertory player as he took over co-head writer.

From 2001 to February 2014, Meyers had a successful run on "SNL," even manning the Weekend Update desk for years (per Time). When Jimmy Fallon got called up to "The Tonight Show," Meyers was picked as his "Late Night" successor, thus starting Meyers career as a late-night talk show host.