The Top 40 Recurring Saturday Night Live Characters

The wild, wacky inventions of the sketch comedians who’ve been making us laugh since 1975. 

Every Saturday Night Live fan is opinionated in some way: We all have our own favorite eras (anything from 1997 to 2002 is regular repeated viewing for me), cast members we love (or love to hate), and sketches whose punch lines we repeat over and over. There’s also a habit to get attached to recurring characters, whose appearances on the show never fail to surprise and delight. In honor of SNL‘s 40th anniversary, we’re ranking the top 40 recurring characters that have left an especially memorable mark on the show.

40. Mr. Bill (Claymation figure) 

39. The Bears From Bear City (People in bear costumes)

38. The Coneheads (Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman)

37. Donatella Versace (Maya Rudolph)

36. Debbie Downer (Rachel Dratch)

35. Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) 

34. The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi)

33. Bill Swerski’s Superfans (Joe Mantegna, George Wendt, Robert Smigel, Mike Myers, Chris Farley)

32. Stuart Smalley (Al Franken)

31. Baba Wawa (Gilda Radner)

30. Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer (Phil Hartman)

29. The Culps (Ana Gasteyer, Will Ferrell)

28. Jack Handey (Himself, Thinking Deep Thoughts) 

27. Samurai Futaba (John Belushi) 

26. The Boston Teens (Jimmy Fallon, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, Ben Affleck)

25. Dick in the Box Guys (Andy Samberg, Justin Timberlake)

24. Hans & Franz (Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon) 

23. Sally O’Malley (Molly Shannon)

22. Roseanne Roseannadanna (Gilda Radner)

21. The Continental (Christopher Walken) 

20. Carol (Horatio Sanz)

19. Target Lady (Kristen Wiig) 

18. Dieter (Mike Myers) 

17. Linda Richman (Mike Myers) 

16. The Gap Girls (Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Farley)

15. The Nerds (Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin)


14. Wayne and Garth (Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey)


13. The Spartan Cheerleaders (Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri)


12. The Ladies Man (Tim Meadows)


11. Matt Foley (Chris Farley)


Click through to see the top ten.

Photos by NBC Universal