Ever lie awake at night wondering what was happening on Saturday Night Live during the year you were born?  We got you, boo.  Assuming you’re at least 16 years old, here’s a handy guide to your SNL birth year.

1979

John Belushi claims he’s too sick to do the show and is about to be replaced by an actor from the NBC replacement pool.  But when a doctor threatens to cut off Belushi’s drug supply, he jumps back to good health and intros the show. Art imitating life. 

1980

Lorne is burnt out and leaves the show, along with what remained of the original cast. New producers hire Denny Dillon, Charles Rocket, and Ann Risley.  Not making the cut:  Jim Carrey, John Goodman, and Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens.

1984

A major influx of comedy talent is injected into the SNL bloodstream, with Billy Crystal, Martin Short, and Christopher Guest dominating the 30 Rock stage.  A fun season full of pre-taped bits that feels like a different show.

NBC

1985

Lorne is back!  Unfortunately, he hires a bunch of comedy movie stars whose talents don’t work well on ensemble TV, including Robert Downey Jr., Joan Cusack, Anthony Michael Hall, and Randy Quaid.  None of them last more than one season.

NBC

1990

No one has hosted Saturday Night Live more than Alec Baldwin.  On April 21, he hosted his first show. He’d go on to do it an amazing 17 times … and counting.  This was also the year

1991

The youth movement is on. Adam Sandler and Tim Meadows arrive, joining the recently hired Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and David Spade. Several recurring characters show up for the first time, including the Making Copies guy, the Superfans, Stuart Smalley, Coffee Talk’s Linda Richman, and Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey.  For better or worse, the era of the Continually Recurring Character was on.

NBC

1994

Under the category of “Sketches That Would Not Air Today,” Alec Baldwin returns as a Scoutmaster who molests Adam Sandler’s Canteen Boy.  Inexplicably, while less troublesome sketches have been scrubbed from online archives, nbc.com still has this one on the roster

1997

Chevy Chase hosts for the last time before being banned for all-around douchenozzle behavior. “A little snobbish,” says Will Ferrell, “and he’d yell at someone down the hallway— scream and yell— and you would look at him, and he’d see you were looking at him and he would smile like, ‘I’m just joking.’ We’d be like, ‘No, I don’t think you are.’”  Check out more of

2001

A brave Reese Witherspoon hosts the season premiere at a time when New York (and America) was still terrified of terrorist attacks. Comedy movies were being pulled from theaters as it seemed an inappropriate time for laughter, but SNL

2002

In what must have been a down year for professional funny people, both John McCain and Al Gore hosted shows in the fall. Hard to say who was more hilarious, though SNL would come back to bite McCain with its ruthless Sarah Palin sketches a few years later.

NBC

 

2004

Musical guest Ashlee Simpson was set to “sing” “Autobiography,” but someone pushed the wrong button, and the vocals for “Pieces of Me” started before she could open her mouth. It was the lip-syncing disaster heard ‘round the world.  Her band tried to carry on but a flustered Simpson left them hanging alone on stage.  Watch-o-Meter, set to Full Cringe!

2005

Lazy Sunday, the first SNL Digital Short drops. This just might have been the first YouTube link your boss ever forwarded around the office.

2006

It’s the smallest cast in several years as NBC budget cuts account for the firings of Chris Parnell (again), Horatio Sanz, and Finesse Mitchell. The show still managed an Emmy for Dick in a Box.  Your boss forwarded that one too.

NBC

For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:

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The Simpsons: 3 Times Fans Spoke Up, And The Show Listened

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