The 20 Best 'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member Ever Just In Time To Celebrate 'SNL 40'

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In 40 years, Saturday Night Live has seen its fair share of cast performers. Some washed out after a season (sorry, Brooks Wheelan!), some didn't get their due on screen but went on to greater things after they left the show (we love you, Julia-Louis Dreyfus!), and some stuck with the cast for a while until they hopped out to do movies (bring back Stefon again, Bill Hader!). And then there were those that became the SNL powerhouse players — the ones who created enduring characters and sketches that people are still talking about, even decades later. Here are some of those players, the 20 best  Saturday Night Live performers of all time.

Now, choosing the best SNL performers is a hard and sometimes thankless task. Pretty much everyone who got on the show had a shining moment, and a majority of them are probably somebody's favorite. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be angered by this list because I'm leaving somebody off. (No, Jimmy Fallon did not make the list; yes, I stand by that — remember all those sketches where he did nothing but giggle at Horatio Sanz?) But that's part of the fun of SNL: It inspires nerdy, pop-culture arguments — let's be nice and call them conversations — about things like best sketches, best characters, and best casts.

Here are the 20 that I've determined to be the Best of the Best.

Image: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

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