All 21 cast members, ranked worst to best:
SNL is a show of sketches, but what would those sketches be without the people in them? Through watching every sketch, cold open, “Weekend Update” feature and monologue cameo, I developed extremely professional and infinitely unbiased opinions about each member of the Season 47 cast. Here they are in a convenient, numbered list format, along with a sketch I feel best shows their talents. I wholeheartedly recommend giving them all a watch.
21) Aristotle Athari
I have a feeling Aristotle Athari may not be back next season, but he’s the only cast member that I wouldn’t be sad to see leave. His only notable impact on the show is the character Angelo, which isn’t nearly enough to make up for the fact that he is on screen less than any other cast member.
Best Sketch: “Angelo”
20) Andrew Dismukes
I honestly have no idea if he’s a good actor because I almost never like the characters he plays. I don’t want him to go away just yet, but if he keeps playing the same emotionless, infantilized twenty-something-year-old, whatever lingering positive feelings I have for him will disintegrate fast.
Best Sketch: “Word Crunch”
19) Punkie Johnson
I like Punkie a lot, and it’s not just because her name is “Punkie.” She seems like she has the potential to be a very strong cast member, but she needs to be in more sketches and branch out some more before I can justify putting her any higher.
Best Sketch: “March of the Suitors”
18) Sarah Sherman
I can get behind some weird sketches, and I appreciate that she is really talented, but I really just don’t love her comedy all that much. She shows a lot of promise in her banter with Colin, and, if she gets her footing next season, I would be happy to see her add a unique character to whatever sketch she’s in. I still don’t forgive her for “Meatballs,” though.
17) Kyle Mooney
I have never been his biggest fan because I’m not a huge fan of sketch comedy based entirely on how awkward it is (á la “Story”). I fully understand that he is talented though, and he really did deserve a proper send-off. I don’t forgive the show for denying him that. However, I don’t forgive him for bringing Baby Yoda onto the show either, so…
Best Sketch: “Home Repair Show”
16) Melissa Villaseñor
*Sigh.* I like Melissa a lot, and I really want her to be good on the show. Her impressions are incredible, and she has tons of them. But they’re not very useful for the show (in the way that Chloe Fineman’s are), so they mostly go unused. I want to see her succeed, but I don’t think SNL is the right place for her to do that, unfortunately.
Best Sketch: “Karaoke All-Stars”
Honorable Mention: Please do not Destroy
These three never fail to make me laugh, and I always looked forward to seeing what they’d do whenever I saw their distinctive lower-case title splash hit the screen. I hope we’ll get to see even more wacky ideas from them next season!
Best Sketch: “Please Don’t Destroy – We Got Her a Cat”
15) James Austin Johnson
There is something that is both endlessly satisfying and terrifying about how perfect his Trump impression is. Between that and his Biden impression, he’s quickly become an indispensable cast member. If the show uses him less liberally as Trump (anti-pun intended) and he gets better at acting in normal sketches, I will be happy to place him higher.
Best Sketch: “Dream Home Cousins”
14) Mikey Day
Mikey Day is always just as good as the sketch he is in. When that sketch is mediocre, his more annoying qualities rise to the surface, but when that sketch is amazing, he complements the other actors in the sketch perfectly. I appreciate—even if I don’t adore—the important role he has in the cast as the perpetual straight man.
Best Sketch: “Old Enough! Long-Term Boyfriends!”
13) Alex Moffat
I used to think of Alex Moffat and Mikey Day as interchangeable, but I’ve grown to appreciate their differences this season. I still think of them fairly equally (and I still confuse them for each other quite a bit), but Alex Moffat gets the slight edge because I still can’t wrap my head around the rate of puns per second he managed in every “Guy who just Bought a Boat.”
Best Sketch: “Weekend Update: Three Guys Who Just Bought a Boat”
12) Pete Davidson
Pete Davidson is an interesting cast member, to put it mildly. He’s rarely present (and even when he is, he’s usually breaking character), but he can deliver some of SNL’s best content on his good days. The most unpredictable of loose cannons certainly left an impression on the show, and I will miss his wildcard presence next season.
Best Sketch: “Walking in Staten”
11) Chris Redd
Chris Redd’s characters are all different variations on one singular character, but, to be honest, he’s just so funny that I can’t fault him for it too much. I can’t get enough of the side-to-side movements and the crazy eyes he does so well.
Best Sketch: “Car Heist”
10) Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson has been on the show the longest, and he was on screen the most this season. For good reason, too. A good team-player with tenure and talent in his own right deserves a high spot on any list. Plus, what would they do without him playing 90 percent of their game show hosts?
Best Sketch: “Amazon Go”
9) Ego Nwodim
She often plays one of two characters, but, like Chris Redd, they are both far too entertaining to fault her too much for the minor ubiquity. I can always count on her to put people in their place with the most well-written and well-delivered slights no matter how boring the sketch is.
7 and 8) Colin Jost and Michael Che
I can’t keep these two apart: they are only so good because they play off of each other so well. Colin plays the butt of the joke expertly, and his delivery is no slouch either. Michael nails the interactions with “Weekend Update” guests. Watching them behind the desk together was a highlight of every episode.
6) Chloe Fineman
Chloe is a rising star that will continue to climb towards the top of the list throughout the seasons she stays on the show. Her impressions are incredible, and her acting in sketches rapidly approaches the quality of some cast members higher on the list.
Best Sketch: “The Understudy”
5) Heidi Gardner
I don’t think I ever give Heidi enough credit for just how strong of an actor she is. She often plays background roles but, no matter where she is, she always improves the sketches she’s in.
Best Sketch: “Blue Bunny”
4) Bowen Yang
I love Bowen Yang. He has some of the wackiest ideas but they always land for me because he sells them so much. I am so glad he’s on the cast and I am so excited to see him continue to refine his sense of humor to (hopefully) become one of the best cast members of all time.
Best Sketch: “Bug Assembly”
3) Aidy Bryant
No one can beat Aidy Bryant’s delivery. No matter who she’s playing or how bad the writing of the sketch she’s in is, she always delivers her lines flawlessly and I will forever miss her unmatched onstage chemistry with Kate. Speaking of which…
2) Kate McKinnon
Kate McKinnon is the cast member that can nearly kill me with laughter. There is no one else who can reach her highs and, without her battiness and cattiness, the show will always feel like there’s something missing.
Best Sketch: “Hotel Ad”
1) Cecily Strong
She can do impressions; she can act up a storm; she can nail a punchline; she can do drama when necessary; she can play pretty much any character; she can do accents that are actually good; she can SING! While Kate is the funniest part of SNL, Cecily is the best of SNL. She easily takes this number-one spot.
Best Sketch: “The Fainting Couch”