a brilliant appearance during last year’s Late Night war.) But there’s reason to hope that a full-on MacDonald comeback is coming: According to the Associate Press, the comedian will star in Sports Show with Norm MacDonald on Comedy Central, premiering in April. I’m excited for the show, but the news got me thinking: Are there other Saturday Night Live stars from the ’90s who could use a career boost?Norm MacDonald has never appeared particularly interested in Adam Sandler-style superstardom. Especially after the movies didn’t work out – he starred in Dirty Work, an overlooked gem, and Screwed, an overlooked travesty – he’s been pretty comfortable on the fringes of Hollywood. Heck, his greatest role in the last decade has arguably been as Conan O’Brien’s favorite talk-show guest (including
There were so many comedy stars to come out of SNL between 1990 and 2000 – between Sandler, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, David Spade, Will Ferrell, and the relentlessly-employed Rob Schneider – that it’s easy to miss the fact that the show had a surprisingly deep bench back then. Some people just seemed to disappear after their stint on the show was over – Ana Gasteyer in particular has seemed criminally unemployed since she left SNL. Other people got steady jobs without ever really finding quite the right fit for their brand of humor – think of Jay Mohr, Tim Meadows, or Molly Shannon. And then there are the beautiful flame-outs: Chris Elliott’s Cabin Boy came out during his short stint on the show, and it’s a fair bet that Hollywood will never give such a quirky talent the chance to make another movie ever again.
Still, if I had to pick the former SNLer most in need of a comeback, it’s Darrell Hammond. Hammond was on the show for 15 years, and it’s fair to say that he was consistently the most talented person on the show. The problem was, his particular talent – imitating celebrities and politicians in incredible detail – were uniquely perfect for SNL. It’s hard to cast a mimic… but Hammond is such a knockout that the right role could be perfect. Maybe he could do a faux-Keith Olbermann in Aaron Sorkin’s cable-news drama? (He was, after all, great during his guest stint on Damages.)
PopWatchers, what other SNL stars could use a Comedy Central pilot/lead role on a network sitcom/starring role in an Off-Broadway comedy? And what’s the deal with Comedy Central and all these sports-comedy shows?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich