You’ve got to give Saturday Night Live credit: Despite highs and lows, a constantly changing cast and constant cries that it’s lost its edge, the show continues to have undeniable staying power.
For more than four decades the weekly sketch comedy series has been a staple in late-night entertainment. Saturday Night Live has seen – and made fun of – several different U.S. presidents. It’s survived executive turnover at NBC, the departure of its stars and changes in the ways audiences consume television. It is the longest-running variety show in U.S. history and somehow manages to still be pop-culture relevant years after it started.
Naturally, other programs have tried to copy SNL’s formula over the years, to varying levels of success. Some shows tried to skew toward a specific racial demographic or age group, while others attempted to separate themselves by delivering an edgier brand of comedy.
In one case, a former Saturday Night Live cast member tried to create a sketch comedy franchise. At another point, SNL’s creator, Lorne Michaels, even tried to repeat his success on a different show with basically the same mold.
Interestingly, several future SNL cast members got their start on a copycat show, including Tracy Morgan, Jim Breuer and Kenan Thompson. And though the majority of the shows in the below list of 14 Saturday Night Live Copycat Shows were failures, they featured many actors who would go on to huge success in their respective careers – including Steve Carell, Jennifer Anniston, John Leguizamo and Alex Borstein.
‘Saturday Night Live’ Copycats
Many have imitated the late-night staple’s formula but none has come close to matching its success.