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The Saturday Night Live Cast, Seasons 3 and 4: The First Featured Players

Between 1977 and 1979, SNL got a name change and dropped the cast's Not Ready for Prime Time Players moniker—and added the show's first featured players.

By Elizabeth Logan

The third season of SNL proved that the show was a bona fide hit.

How to Watch

Watch Saturday Night Live Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.  

Technically, it was the first season of Saturday Night Live. When the show premiered, it was actually called NBC's Saturday Night, hence the catchphrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" The word "Live" was officially added to the title in 1977.

All of the Season 2 cast returned, including Bill Murray, who'd replaced original SNL cast member Chevy Chase. Season 3 of SNL also introduced the concept of "Featured Players," or new cast members who haven't cemented a permanent spot on what's known as the cast of Repertory Players today. 

The entire cast returned again for Saturday Night Live Season 4, with no new additions. Stick with a winning formula! There was, however, a small change at the Weekend Update desk.

RELATED: Why the First Saturday Night Live Cast Were Called The Not Ready for Prime Time Players

Check out the cast of SNL Season 3 and Season 4 below.

What year was Season 3 of Saturday Night Live?


The third season of SNL ran from September 24, 1977-May 20, 1978. Steve Martin hosted the SNL Season 3 premiere, while Buck Henry hosted the season finale. Both Martin and Henry became two of the earliest members of the Five Timers Club (before it even had a name).

RELATED: Every Celebrity in SNL's Five Timers Club, In Order

Who was in the SNL Season 3 and SNL Season 4 SNL cast? 

Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd appears in an SNL skit

The youngest of the early cast members, Aykroyd starred in a number of films with his fellow SNL alums, like The Coneheads (with Jane Curtin), Ghostbusters (with Bill Murray), The Blues Brothers (with John Belushi), Trading Places (with Eddie Murphy) and Tommy Boy (with Chris Farley and David Spade). He anchored "Weekend Update" alongside Jane Curtin for Season 3.

John Belushi

John Belushi appears in a Season 1 episode of Saturday Night Live

During his four seasons on the show, Belushi performed a number of impressions of famous figures, like Vito Corleone from The Godfather, Ludwig van Beethoven, and rocker Joe Cocker—the latter of which he did so well that he was once the musical guest in character as Cocker, performing alongside the musician himself.

Jane Curtin

Jane Curtin appears in a Season 1 episode of Saturday Night Live

After her tenure on SNL, Curtin went on to star in the sitcom Kate & Ally, a groundbreaking show about two single mom best friends that ran for six seasons. Curtin took over the "Weekend Update" desk following Chevy Chase's departure in Season 2, and stayed there through seasons 3, 4, and 5.

RELATED: Is Saturday Night Live New This Weekend? Check Out Who's Hosting

Garrett Morris

Garrett Morris in a sketch together on Saturday Night Live Season 2

Morris's many post-SNL TV credits includes 138 episodes of the sitcom 2 Broke Girls, in addition to his live comedy and music careers.

Bill Murray

Snl Bill Murray on Saturday Night Live Season 2 Episode 16

Murray was no longer the new kid as of Seasons 3 and 4. Since then, Murray has won the prestigious Mark Twain Prize, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and two Emmys, one of which he won as part of the 1977 SNL writing staff.

Laraine Newman

Laraine Newman poses for publicity portraits for Season 1 of Saturday Night Live

Newman's voice is just as familiar as her face: She's voiced characters in Pixar classics like Inside Out and Monsters, Inc.

Gilda Radner

Gilda Radner Gilda Radner appears in Season 1 episode of Saturday Night Live

Radner was known for her boisterous and goofy characters, like bored child Judy Miller, hard-of-hearing Emily Litella, and happily dorky Lisa Loopner.

RELATED: Seth Meyers Says Taylor Swift Wrote a "Perfect'"Monologue Ahead of Hosting SNL in '09

SNL's First Featured Players: Al Franken and Tom Davis

Al Franken and Tom Davis stand onstage during a skit

Al Franken

Franken was on the show's writing staff from the very beginning, and began taking occasional onscreen roles before leaving the show in 1980. He returned in 1985, but left again in 1995, and his best remembered on the show for his Stuart Smalley character from the 1990s.

Tom Davis

Davis was Al Franken's writing partner. Franken and Davis were two of the first writers on the show's staff, and created iconic characters like the Coneheads and Nick the Lounge Singer. Davis died of cancer in 2012.