SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (2024)

9 of the richest Saturday Night Live alumni in 2024 – net worths, ranked: Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Bill Murray … which comedian earned the most in Hollywood?

In 1975, a group of comedians and writers changed TV forever when they created and starred in the first episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL), a groundbreaking sketch show based in New York and famous for its celebrity hosts. The magic of the show has lasted through the decades, becoming a home for political commentary and an outlet that is unafraid to call out those in positions of power using hilarious skits and impersonations.

Starting with the iconic cold open sketch and phrase “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night”, the show kick-started the careers of big time Hollywood names, including Bill Murray and Adam Sandler. Here’s how these stars used SNL to get mega famous – and mega wealthy. All wealth estimates courtesy of the number crunchers at Celebrity Net Worth.

9. Chris Rock, US$60 million

SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (1)

He may be famous now, but Chris Rock’s star only began to rise after his time on SNL, between 1990-1993. After leaving the show, he comedian and actor went on to star in big hits, including Head of State, Bad Company, The Longest Yard and Grown Ups. He has also had stand-up specials on Netflix and HBO and has hosted the Oscars. According to The Sydney Morning Herald Rock was paid a whopping US$52 million for his two Netflix specials.

8. Harry Shearer, US$85 million

Writer and performer Harry Shearer got his golden ticket to Hollywood after two stints on SNL, from 1979-1980 and then again from 1984-1985. He has been outspoken about his time on the show, telling Neil Griffiths on his podcast that his time on SNL was “The first year, especially – my worst year in show business. Maybe my worst year of my life.” After leaving SNL, Shearer is best known for voicing multiple characters – and bulking up his bank balance – on the lucrative animated show The Simpsons. Per Variety, he was known as the “whitest Black man on TV” when he voiced the character of Dr Hibbert, but in 2020, the show’s producers made the decision to stop using white actors to voice black characters.

7. Will Ferrell, US$160 million

SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (3)

From 1995 to 2002, Will Ferrell gained massive popularity for the various characters he brought to life on SNL. His impersonations of former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and former US President George W. Bush, and original characters such as cheerleader Craig Buchanan, are some of his more well-known turns. Ferrell told the Chicago Tribune that he left SNL because it was time to move on and discover whether he could make a success of other roles. From movies like Anchorman, Elf and Barbie to TV show The Office, Ferrell has certainly proved that his comedic chops translate to film and is now widely celebrated for his versatility in Tinseltown.

6. Bill Murray, US$180 million

After SNL stalwart Chevy Chase left the show, Bill Murray was brought in, making his mark from 1977-1980. Murray went on to have a successful film career, starring in big hits including The Royal Tenenbaums and Groundhog Day. Murray rarely gives interviews and has shunned awards, telling The Daily Mail, “Laughter and the lighter moments of life always seem easy to deliver. I don’t expect those giving out the awards to understand.”

4 & 5, tied – Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers, both US$200 million

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Global superstar Eddie Murphy has been widely credited for rescuing SNL when he joined the cast after all the original cast had left, as well as creator Lorne Michaels. Part of SNL from 1980-1984, Murphy, who was just 19 at the time, helped bring an increase in viewership, and went on to star in mega hit films, including The Nutty Professor, Beverly Hills Cop, Mulan and Shrek.

His career earnings are tied with those of Mike Myers, who began doing commercials when he was just 10. In 1989 he joined the cast of SNL, creating memorable characters such as public access radio host Wayne Campbell, which he turned into hit film Wayne’s World with fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey. After leaving the show in 1995, Myers took a brief hiatus before returning to films, including Austin Powers, Shrek and – more recently – Amsterdam. In 2010 he married Kelly Tisdale and the couple have three children together.

2 & 3, tied – Dan Aykroyd and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, both US$250 million

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Dan Aykroyd is one of SNL’s OG cast members and was part of show from its very first episode in 1975 until he left in 1979. He famously impersonated Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Julia Child. Aykroyd, who told Esquire his parents enrolled him in priest school as a kid, went on to create and star in hit flick The Blues Brothers, later founding restaurant chain House of Blues and co-creating the Crystal Head Vodka brand. But Aykroyd is most famous for creating Ghostbusters, a megahit film that Vanity Fair writes “eroded the once insurmountable barrier between television and film actors”.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was just 21 years old went she joined the cast of SNL in 1982 and remained a part of the hit show until 1985. She told Entertainment Weekly she had “no idea what I was doing” and was “learning by the seat of your pants”. At the time, she was also the youngest female on the show and Louis-Dreyfus has spoken about how “brutal” and “sexist” the environment was at the time, per People. It was on SNL that she met Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, which she later starred in – and made a lot of money from.

1. Adam Sandler, US$440 million

SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (7)

Taking the top spot as SNL’s richest alum is Hollywood megastar Adam Sandler. According to Entertainment Weekly, SNL OG Kevin Nealon was the first to discover Sandler, meeting him at a stand-up gig. Nealon described Sandler’s performance that night as “timid”, but after going on the road and taking on more TV gigs, Sandler finally found his voice and was recruited to bring his “silly” sense of comedy to SNL. Sandler thrived on SNL, becoming a master with his songs, holiday commentary and innovative characters. Sandler has gone on to join the big leagues in Hollywood starring in flicks including The Waterboy, 50 First Dates, Happy Gilmore, Anger Management and Blended.

SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (8)

SNL alumni net worths, ranked: who’s Saturday Night’s highest-paid comedian? (2024)
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