SNL: From Saturday Night to Stardom

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By Courtney Kern

Live from New York...it's Saturday Night!

The sketch comedy show premiered on October 11, 1975 and was originally named "NBC's Saturday Night" and has gone on to be one of the most prolific training grounds for the greatest American comedians. This year, Saturday Night Live led the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards with 22 nominations and 6 wins, including Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. In honor of this year's hilarious successes, we're taking a look back at the best of past nominees on the SNL alumni list, and the best that's yet to come from current SNL players.

julia louis-dreyfus

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Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus won again this year for Outstanding Lead Actress for her role as Selina Meyer on HBO's Veep, and earned a nomination for her role as Executive Producer of the show. She's solidified her place in history for the most Emmys won by a single performer for one role, and has won previously for her portrayal of Elaine on Seinfeld and Christine on New Adventures of Old Christine.

kate mckinnon

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Kate McKinnon has now won back-to-back Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy Awards for Saturday Night Live. Kate played an array of political figures during her time on the show, including Hillary Clinton, Kellyanne Conway, Andrea Merkel, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (as pictured above). 

tina fey

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NBC icon Tina Fey has won a collective nine Emmys during her time in the spotlight. Fey has been awarded for producing and writing credits on her show 30 Rock (including her debut acting role as Liz Lemon), as well as her various roles on Saturday Night Live, especially as Sarah Palin. This year, she's nominated for her role as Executive Producer on the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

alec baldwin

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Actor Alec Baldwin took home an Emmy this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live (and was also nominated for his hosting gig on the reality show Match Game). Baldwin's Trump impression has been called a "technical marvel" by dialect coaches and accent experts. He's also won two Emmys previously for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock alongside Tina Fey.

john mulaney

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John Mulaney, perhaps best known for his stand up specials like The Comeback Kid and New in Town, is nominated this year for his work as a producer on Documentary Now!, the mockumentary series on IFC produced by and starring fellow SNL alumni Seth Meyers, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. Mulaney won his first Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for his work on Saturday Night Live, where he was a writer for six years.

seth meyers

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Former host of the Emmys Award show and current Late Night host, Seth Meyers is nominated in two spaces this year: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Outstanding Variety Sketch Series as Executive Producer on Documentary Now!. Meyers has been nominated 22 times previously and has taken home a trophy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics as a writer on SNL

jimmy fallon

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A few years before Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon was the host of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. This year Fallon is nominated for Outstanding Interactive Program as the Host and Producer of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon has previously taken home awards for The Tonight Show, as well as Outstanding Guest Actor In a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live.

bill hader

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Bill Hader, pictured above in character as "Weekend Update" city correspondent Stefon, is also in the running this year. He previously won an Emmy for Outstanding Short Format Animated Program as a Producer on South Park. This year, Hader is nominated for that same work on South Park, as well as the hilarious work on his show Documentary Now!.

here are the nominees!

This year brings together nominees both new and old. Who will finally take home the trophy? Check out their Emmy-nominated performances below.

leslie jones + vanessa bayer

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This is the first nomination for Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer, both in the running for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series with costar Kate McKinnon.

colin jost + michael che

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This "Weekend Update" duo is nominated this year for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, specifically for their work as co-hosts of the politically driven parody news sketch. This is Colin Jost's ninth nomination as a Saturday Night Live writer and Michael Che's second, both having been nominated in the same category last year.

fred armisen

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Fred Armisen has been nominated a total of 12 times for his work on Saturday Night Live, Portlandia and Documentary Now!. This year, Armisen is nominated for his role as Executive Producer of Portlandia and Documentary Now!, vying for the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series title.

Tune in this Sunday, September 17 to see if any of these SNL greats take home the hardware.

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