Funny Money: Millionaire Comedians Who Got Their Big Break on SNL

Comedy is not an easy industry to break into, but entertainers have to get their start somewhere. For those who were lucky enough to begin their careers on the iconic “Saturday Night Live,” doors opened with massive opportunities changing the lives of these once starving artists.

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Today we can call many of them not just the greatest comedians of all time, but multi-millionaires.

Bill Hader 2005 – 2013

This aspiring filmmaker dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. Little did he know he would end up on SNL performing comedy sketches in 2005.

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Hader has had several cameos in various TV series such as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “30 Rock” and big movies such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Superbad,” “Knocked Up,” and “Pineapple Express” to name a few. He has been a voice in many animated features including “South Park,“Sausage Party” and the “Angry Birds” movies. As a newbie to this list, he already has a net worth of $8 million.

Jason Sudeikis 2005 – 2013

Jason started as a writer on the show from 2003-2005, then transitioned into sketches in 2005. He is best known for his Joe Biden and Mitt Romney impersonations, his Man A-hole character, and Devil on the shows “Weekend Update” segment. After his time with SNL he transitioned into movies such as “Hall Pass,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Mother’s Day,” and “We’re the Millers.”

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He has starred in several series including, “30 Rock,” “The Line,” “Eastbound and Down,” “Son of Zorn” and “The Last Man on Earth,” and has lent his voice to the “Angry Birds” movies along with many other SNL alums. Jason currently has a net worth of $10 Million.

Maya Rudolph 2000 – 2007

Before joining SNL in 2000, Maya played a small part on the drama series “Chicago Hope” and had minor roles in several other TV movies and series. Exposure on SNL allowed her to break into films including “50 First Dates,” “Friends with Kids,” “Bridesmaids,” “Sisters,” the “Grown Ups” movies and voicing on the animated features; “Shrek,” “The Emoji Movie” and The “Angry Birds” movies.

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She has scored several sitcoms including, “Forever,” “Up All Night,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Big Mouth” to name a few. Maya is best known for her Donatella Versace and Beyoncé impersonations and her “TRL” and “Mom Jeans” skits. This funny lady has earned herself a net worth of $10 million.

Tracy Morgan 1996 – 2003

Before Tracy joined SNL in 1996, he played a small part on the comedy TV series “Martin.” SNL put Morgan on the road to success. After joining the show, he landed a small role in his first movie, “Half Baked.” He then went on to appear on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and starred with fellow SNL alum Chris Rock in the movie “Head of the State.”

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After leaving the show in ‘03, he went on to star in “The Tracy Morgan Show” and the series “Where My Dogs At?” He ended up landing a reoccurring role on “30 Rock” until 2013. After multiple TV and movie gigs and lending his voice to several animated series, Morgan has earned a net worth of $12 million.

Andy Samberg 2005 – 2012

Before joining the SNL cast in 2005, Samberg was a little known comedian who debuted on the internet comedy website “Channel 101.” After exposure on SNL Andy was signed on to numerous projects, including TV series appearances in “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” “New Girl,” and “Cuckoo.” He also appeared in several movies including “Grown Ups 2,” and a starring role in his movie “Popstar. “

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Since 2013, Samberg has gone on to star in the TV series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and will be lending his voice to the upcoming TV series “The Dark Crystal.” This Golden Globe winner is best known for hilarious music videos like “I’m on a Boat” that he creates with his comedic musical trio, The Lonely Island. He is also well-known for SNL skits such as “Dick in a Box” with Justin Timberlake and “Natalie Raps” with Natalie Portman. Sandburg has worked his way up to a net worth of $16 million.

Kristen Wiig 2005 – 2012

Kristen was a little-known actress until she finally made it big landing a gig on SNL in 2005. This exposure opened many doors for her, later landing roles on box office hits such as “Bridesmaids,” “Friends with Kids,” “Zoolander 2″ and eventually a character on the TV series “Arrested Development.” The actress has lent her voice to several animations including “The Simpsons,” “The Looney Tunes” and “Despicable Me.”

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Her famous SNL characters include Aunt Linda, Gilly, Penelope, the Target Lady, and Judy Grimes. She is recognized for her impressions of Jamie Lee Curtis, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Dina Lohan. She left the SNL in 2012 to focus on movies, TV, and voice acting. Her net worth is currently $20 million.

Amy Poehler 2001 – 2008

Amy joined the cast in 2001 and was recruited by the head writer at the time, Tina Fey. Prior to her work on SNL, the actress had a few small roles on TV and low budget movies and was looking for her big break. While working on the comedy series she landed appearances on “Arrested Development” and small roles in movies such as “Blades of Glory,” and “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.” While on SNL she and costar Tina Fey became very close. They soon starred together in “Mean Girls,” “Baby Mama” and “Sisters.”

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Poehler finished her stint with SNL in 2008 only to add handfuls of TV series and movies to her resume. She is well known for her starring role in “Parks and Recreation.” She has lent her voice to various animated roles such as “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “The Simpsons.” This Golden Globe winner has a net worth of $25 million.

Dana Carvey 1986 – 1993

Carvey is best known as Garth in the 1990’s headbanger comedy, “Wayne’s World” starring alongside SNL castmember Mike Myers. To this day, this movie remains the highest grossing film based on an SNL sketch, also resulting in a sequel to the film.

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Since breaking out on SNL, the comedian has starred in various TV and voice animated series. He is also famous for his character, the Church Lady and for his impersonations of George W. Bush, Johnny Carson, and Ross Perot. Today he predominately works on animated voice roles. Dana’s estimated net worth is $30 million.

Dennis Miller 1995 – 1991

Dennis got his start on Saturday Night Live in 1985 where he is best known as the long-running “Weekend Update” anchor. After six years on the series, he transitioned to movies such as “The Net,” “Bordello of Blood,” and the” Joe Dirt” movies.

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Miller has written and hosted a series of his own talk shows from 1992-2005. He has continued to appear in various TV and movies contributing his net worth of $30 million.

Chevy Chase 1975 – 1976

After his short stint on SNL Chase gained massive fame through his “National Lampoon” movies after starring in the breakout film “Caddyshack” with fellow SNL alum Bill Murray. Chase went on to star in a handful of movies including “Three Amigos,” “Cops and Robbersons,”Man of the House” and “Memoirs of an Invisible Man” to name a few. He has appeared on many TV series including “Community” and has voiced on several animated features.

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Chevy Chase is best known for his Landshark character and impressions of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. His current net worth is $50 Million.

Jimmy Fallon 1998 – 2004

Jimmy Fallon has SNL to thank for his massive success. The actor had little exposure before joining the comedy series. Upon his departure in 2004, he joined the TV series “30 Rock.” Fallon was able to score handfuls of gigs in various TV series and movies such as “Almost Famous,” “Taxi,” “Ted 2,” “Jurassic World,” and “Fever Pitch.”

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He is best known for his SNL skits with Justin Timberlake including “Camp Winnipesaukee,” “Real People Fake Arms,” and “Andy Gibb Talk Show. He was also a long-running host of “Weekend Update.” His extensive experience hosting this parody news show is likely what led the six-time Primetime Emmy winner to score the job as host of “The Tonight Show,” a position he currently holds. Fallon has a net worth of $60 million.

David Spade 1990 – 1996

David joined the cast of SNL in 1990. While on the show he developed a close relationship with fellow cast member Chris Farley. At the time the two were inseparable. They would both go on to star in 90’s comedies “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.” He is best known for his Dick Clark receptionist character, and the kid who got the lecture about “the van down by the river.”

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Spade went on to star in many television sitcoms such as “Just Shoot Me,” “8 Simple Rules” and “Rules of Engagement.” He has appeared in several films including “Grown Ups,” “Grandma’s Boy” and the “Joe Dirt” movies. He also lent his voice to various animated projects. Spade has had tremendous exposure and success since his stint on SNL and has increased his net worth to $60 million.

Tina Fey 1997 – 2006

Tina began her work as a writer in 1997 then transitioned into the first female head writer in 1999. She eventually crossed over into performing in sketches in 2000 and became a co-anchor of SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment with Jimmy Fallon. She is best known for her Sarah Palin impersonation.

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This two time Golden Globe winner gained mainstream notoriety with her box office hit, “Mean Girls” which she starred in and wrote. After working on SNL for nearly a decade, she scored a lead role in the TV sitcom “30 Rock” where she stayed for seven years. She is also the writer and creator of the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” After a handful of movies under her belt including “Sisters,” “Date Night” and “Baby Mama,” and a net worth of $65 Million, we think she turned out just fine.

Will Ferrell 1995 – 2002

Will Ferrell has SNL to thank for his success. Before joining the show in 1995, Ferrell had only a couple small roles in TV series. Farrell gained a following with his hilarious SNL “More Cowbell” skit as well as with memorable characters such as Steve Butabi The Roxbury Guy, Craig Buchanan, the Spartan Cheerleader, Gene Frenkel and his impressions of Alex Trebek, George Bush, Dr. Phil, and Harry Caray.

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Ferrell has gone on to become a massive movie star featured in a significant number of Blockbuster hits including, “Blades of Glory,” “Elf,” “Austin Powers,” “Land of the Lost,” “The Other Guys,” “Anchorman,” “Old School,” “Step Brothers,” “Get Hard,” the “Daddy’s Home” movies and so many more. Ferrell has appeared on many TV series and animated movies. He has costarred along with some of the biggest actors in Hollywood and is well-liked by a broad audience. Currently, his net worth is $100 million. The world would never have known his potential if it weren’t for his stand out performance on SNL.

Chris Rock 1990 – 1993

Chris Rock was another little-known actor when he joined the cast of SNL in 1990. On the series, he is best known for his impressions of Michael Jackson, Arsenio Hall, and Whoopi Goldberg. Some of his most famous characters include Nat X, Buster Jankins, and Onski The exposure allowed him to guest star in the comedy series “In Living Color” and lead to cameos on various television shows. He eventually gained two of his own television series, “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “The Chris Rock Show.

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Chris has starred in several movies such as “The Longest Yard” and “Lethal Weapon” and is known for his voice in the animated “Madagascar” movies. Chris has gained massive popularity through his standup comedy and now spends most of his time writing and producing. He has gone on to win 4 Primetime Emmys, and his estimated net worth is approximately $100 million.

Eddie Murphy 1980 – 1984

Murphy joined the SNL cast in 1980. He is best known for his characters Gumby, Buckwheat, and skits “Mister Robin’s Neighborhood” and “White Like Me,” which pushed the racial limits at the time. After four years at SNL, he went on to star in his breakout film, “Beverly Hills Cop,” and then in the iconic comedy, “Coming to America.”

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After multiple films, he gained mainstream notoriety with his “Nutty Professor” and “Doctor Doolittle” films. With appearances in “Daddy Daycare” and “Dreamgirls,” as well as lending his voice to the “Shrek” movies, Murphy has become a full-blown movie star. This mega-fame has gained him a net worth of $120 Million.

Bill Murray 1977 – 1980

Bill joined the cast in ’77, before this the actor had a few small roles in movie shorts and TV series. He is best known for his SNL character Nick the Lounge Singer.

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After his three years on the series, he started gaining popularity through movies such as “Caddyshack,” “Tootsie” and gained mainstream exposure through his role in “Ghostbusters.” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Groundhog Day” and “Lost In Translation” are only a few more of the famous movies this actor has under his belt. He has become an iconic comedian with a net worth of $140 Million.

Dan Aykroyd 1975 – 1979  

This Canadian actor gained fame through his experience and exposure on Saturday Night Live. After his short time on SNL came quick stardom a year later. He went on to write and star in his breakout film, “The Blues Brothers” with fellow SNL alum John Belushi. He then wrote and starred in another blockbuster hit, “Ghostbusters” resulting in two movies, multiple TV series, and video games.

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Aykroyd went on to star in many movies including “My Girl,” Tommy Boy,” and “50 First Dates” to name a few. He also starred in the 1993 movie “Coneheads” based on the SNL sketch he wrote back on the show in 1977. He has appeared in several animated series and TV shows including “Soul Man” and “According to Jim.” Dan has been an active actor, writer, and producer since his time at SNL earning him a net worth of $135 million.

Mike Myers 1989 – 1995

Canadian native Mike Myers is one of the highest earners from the SNL series with a net worth of $175 million. This Primetime Emmy winner has gone on to star in many popular films, but it all started on Saturday Night Live. The comedian joined the cast back in 1989 and broke out into fame with the movie “Wayne’s World” based on his SNL sketch with fellow castmate Dana Carvey.

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Myers then went on the create and star in his own series of “Austin Powers” films playing multiple iconic characters. Lending his voice to the “Shrek” series movies gained him massive popularity amongst all genres of audiences.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1982 – 1985

Julia is the most successful female comedian to come from SNL. Most know her as Elaine from “Seinfeld” or Selina Meyer from “Veep.”Julia joined SNL in hopes of gaining more comedic experience. After her three year stint on SNL, she landed a role on the series “Day By Day” in 1988 and a role in her first big movie,” National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” with fellow SNL alum Chevy Chase. Not long after lending her voice and acting skills to a few TV appearances, Julia landed her most iconic role on “Seinfeld” which put her on the road to massive success.

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After this, her career exploded, she has an extensive resume of movies, TV and animated voice appearances. A few of her acclaimed series include “Arrested Development,” “The Simpsons,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” “The New “Adventures of Old Christine” and “Veep.” This funny gal currently has a net worth of $200 million.

Adam Sandler 1990 – 1995

Adam is not only the most successful comedian to come out of SNL but also one of the highest earners in Hollywood. After his stint on the show, he went on to star in dozens of popular films. His credits include “The Waterboy,” “Airheads,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Little Nicky,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Mr. Deeds,” “50 First Dates,” “Grown Ups,” and “Billy Madison” to name a few.

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He has cameos in dozens of films and TV series and is liked by just about everyone. Sandler has built a net worth of $420 million, largely due to his production company Happy Madison. His famous SNL characters include Opera Man, Gap Girl, Brian, Hank Gelfand, Cajun Man, and Tony Vallencourt and how can we forget the best Chanukah song ever!

Leslie Jones 2014 – Present

Before joining the cast of SNL, Leslie was hustling in the industry to get her big break, only to have appeared in small TV roles. She finally hit it big in 2014 landing a gig on the iconic comedy series. She is best known for her Tabitha character and her Whoopi Goldberg impression. She soon landed movie roles in “Ghostbusters,” “Trainwreck” and “Masterminds” costarring along with SNL alums Kristin Wiig and Jason Sudeikis and Kate McKinnon.

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She went on to star on several TV series such as “Workaholics,” and “Blacklist” and has lent her voice to the animated series “The Awesomes” and movies “Sing” and “Angry Birds 2“. Leslie has become the highest paid black female comedian on SNL with a net worth of $5 million.

Molly Shannon 1995 – 2001

At the start of her career, Molly appeared in a handful of “In Living Color” episodes. Although she had small roles on TV shows, SNL put her on display for the world to see this funny lady. After joining SNL in ‘95 doors opened allowing her to appear in various popular series including “Seinfeld,” and“Sex and the City” and movies such as “A Night at the Roxbury,Never Been Kissed,” and “Shallow Hal” to name a few.

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Her SNL character, Mary Katherine became such a sensation she was given a starring role in the movie “Superstar” based off of the SNL sketch. After her time on the series, she went on to star in “Cracking up,” “Divorced,”Kath and Kim,” “Enlightened,” “Wet Hot American Summer” and so many more. She has appeared in many well-known TV series, voiced animated series and has cameos in various movies to this day. She has earned herself a net worth of $7 Million.

Fred Armisen 2002 – 2013

Before he was featured on SNL in 2002, Fred was a musician and had appearances in various TV shows and small parts in movies. His exposure from SNL allowed him to become a megastar personality. He has gone on to star in various series such as “Portlandia,” “Forever,” “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and many more. You can also see him in movies such as “Anchorman,” “Baby Mama,” and “Eurotrip.”

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Fred has voiced various series including “Bigmouth” and “Crank Yankers.” He is also a regular musician on “Late Night with Seth Myers.” Armisen currently holds a net worth of $8 million.

Kate McKinnon 2012 – Present

This two-time Primetime Emmy winner was introduced to the world by SNL in 2012. Before this, she had small parts in several TV series. The openly gay actress brought a whole new level of feminism to the show. After her exposure, she went on to star in various movies such as “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” “Masterminds,” “Rough Night,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Sisters.”

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McKinnon also lent her voice acting skills to movies such as “The Angry Birds,” “Ferdinand,” and “The Awesomes” to name a few. Kate currently has a net worth of $8 million at only 35 years old.

Chris Kattan 1996 – 2003

Chris is best known as one of the Butabi Brothers with fellow SNL costar Will Farrell. Together they starred in “Night at the Roxbury,” a film based on their sketch from the show. He is also known for his characters Mango and Mr. Peepers.

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Since appearing on the show, he has landed various movies including “Corky Ramano,” “Undercover Brother,” and “Crazy Enough” to name a few. He has lent his voice to several animated animates features including “Delgo” and “Hotel Transylvania.” His net worth is currently $8 million.

Kenan Thompson 2003 – Present

This comedian got a head start as a youngster on Nickelodeon’s “Kenan and Kel” and landed his own movie in 1997 based off the show. He continued to cater to a young audience, eventually landing another Nickelodeon series, “All That.” After making small appearances in various movies and TV shows, as well as lending his voice to many series, he landed a gig on SNL in 2003.

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Kenan is the youngest comedian to be cast on SNL and quickly gained a starring movie role a year later in “Fat Albert.” He has gone on to star in more productions such as the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “The Awesomes.” To this day he holds the record as the longest running cast member on the comedy series. He currently has a net worth of $5 million.

Colin Jost 2014 – Present

Jost started his career as a writer on SNL at just 23 years old, after graduating from Harvard University. From 2009-2012 he contributed as a writing supervisor on the show and in 2014 he transitioned into the co-anchor of the weekend update segment.

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After joining SNL he has gone on to star in several movies such as “Staten Island Summer” and “How to Be Single.” The comedian is still active on SNL with a net worth of $6 million and even landed Scarlett Johansson as a girlfriend!

Jane Curtin 1975 – 1980

Jane was one of the original cast members on SNL. She is best known as the weekend update anchor and for playing straight-laced characters in contrast to her costars at the time. This introduction to the comedy world brought her much fame and fortune.

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She went on to star on “The Love Boat,” “Katie and Allie,” “Working,” “3rd Rock From The Sun,” “Crumbs” and “Unforgettable” to name a few. Curtin is most famous for her role as Prymaat Conehead, in the movie “Coneheads” based off of the SNL sketch. The two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner has earned a net worth of $16 million dollars.

John Lovitz- 1985 – 1990

Before joining the cast of SNL in 1985, Lovitz had appeared in a couple of small roles on TV shows. But after starring on SNL his career exploded. He went on to become a full-fledged movie star and voice actor. He went on to star in movies such as “A League of Their Own,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Three Amigos, Big,” “Coneheads” and “Grown Ups 2.”

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He went on to star in many TV series including “Married With Children” and the “TheGoldbergs” and has lent his voice to animated features such as “The Simpsons” and “The Critic.” John currently has a net worth of $12 million.

Pete Davidson 2014 – Present

Before landing a gig on SNL in 2014, Pete was a little-known comedian. He had small appearances in TV series and was trying to break out in the comedy scene. After he was cast on the show he landed his first movie “TrainWreck,” since then has appeared in various TV series and movies including “Set It Up,” “The Dirt” and “Big Time Adolescence.” He has also voiced on “The Angry Birds” animated movie.

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You could say Ariana Grande made him famous, but that would only be half true. She would have never discovered Pete if he were not on SNL, the two ended up meeting on the show. He currently has a net worth of $2 million.

Robert Downey Jr. 1985 – 1986

Robert Downey Jr. made his acting debut at the young age of 5 but things didn’t kick off until much later in his career. At 20 years old, he was still a relatively unknown actor with no real experience in comedy. Despite this, he somehow got an invite to join the SNL cast for its 11th season. Unfortunately, his time on the show was short-lived as he did not get invited back for Season 12.


Regardless of this unsuccessful stint on SNL, Robert managed to get himself back on his feet. Today, he is known around the world as “Iron Man” and is one of the most successful, highest paid actors on the planet. Other than his role in the Marvel universe, Robert is also known for starring in the 2009 remake of “Sherlock Holmes” He currently has a staggering net worth of $300 million.