Round of 64

DON PARDO

(1) Eddie Murphy vs.  (16) Jay Mohr/ Jeanne Garafolo/ Sara Silverman/ Julia Louis Drefyes/ Ben Stiller/ Robert Downey Jr/ Jim Belushi

A sixteen seed has never upset a one seed and this match up will not end that trend.  Eddie Murphy, the number one overall seed, can cruise in this match.  Buckwheat alone trumps anything this hodgepodge of disappointing cast members can muster.  I mean can you even name a single character or memorable sketch any of our sixteen seeds appeared in?

ADVANCE: Eddie Murphy

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/272878/saturday-night-live-mike-meyers-and-ben-stiller

(8) Tim Meadows vs. (9) Maya Rudolph

The eight, nine seed game is always a tossup.  Here we have Tim Meadows a real SNL veteran who lasted ten years on the show versus Maya Rudolph, who may be one of the most versatile cast members ever.  Tim Meadows early in his career played the part of the token black guy; he eventually hit his groove with the Ladies Man and played opposite Christopher Walken in the memorable Census Taker.  Maya on the other hand specialized in impressions; she played everyone from Oprah to Christina Aguilera to Lucy Liu, now that’s range.  She also scored with some recurring sketches “Bronx Beat” and “Wake Up, Wakefield.”  I have to admit, when I first started writing this I wanted to pick Tim Meadows, than I flip flopped a few times, but in the end Maya Rudolph advances.

ADVANCE: Maya Rudolph  

Swan Song:     http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/census-taker/274571

(5) Tracy Morgan vs. (12) Horatio Sanz

Sitting at the five seed, irreverent and unpredictable Tracy Morgan takes on the funny fat guy Horatio Sanz.  While Tracy never quite did impressions (other than Al Sharpton) he was the go-to black guy for a big chunk of his SNL career, but Tracy excelled most with hilarious characters like Brian Fellows, Dominican Lou and Astronaut Jones.  Horatio, like Tracy, also found most of his success with character based sketches, but to be honest Horatio functioned best as Jimmy Fallon’s sidekick more than anything else.  Whether he played Jimmy’s roommate in Jarret’s Room or Frankie, Jimmy’s best friend in the Boston teens sketches, in essence he was Jon Starks to Jimmy’s Ewing.

ADVANCE: Tracy Morgan  

Swan Song: http://www.iviewtube.com/v/156814/cork-soakers-snl-skit-%28saturday-night-live-janet-jackson%29

(4) Tina Fey vs. (13) Kenan Thompson

Tina Fey, the smart and kind of sexy co-anchor of Weekend update goes up against my favorite current cast member and criminally underused Kenan Thompson.  Tina killed as the co anchor of weekend update, whether she sat next to Jimmy Fallon or Amy Poehler, delivered constant wit.  Tina never a character strong performer, she did make huge waves with her many cameo appearances playing a deadly accurate Sarah Palin, giving SNL some of its highest ratings of all time.  Enter Kenan, heavy on celebrity impersonations, Charles Barkley, Herman Cain, and even the hilarious Grady Wilson giving sex tips.  He also throws in some awesome characters like the talk show host Deandre Cole and imprisoned convict Lorenzo McIntosh.  UPSET CITY!!!! Kenan knocks off Tina in a nail bitter.

ADVANCES:  Kenan Thompson

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/10333/saturday-night-live-mom-jeans

(6) David Spade vs. (11) Bill Hader

David Spade, one of the original “Bad Boys of SNL” goes against the chameleon like impersonator Bill Hader.  Spade starred in some of the most memorable sketches of the 90s like the “Buh-Bye” flight attendants, Dick Clark’s receptionist, and the Gap Girls, but scored most witg his Hollywood Minute, where he would cut celebrities to the bone with razor sharp wit.  Hader goes more the impersonation route with an eerie Vincent Price and a spot on Alan Alda, but Hader kills it most as Stefon the gay New York City Correspondent on Weekend update.  Spade takes this one comfortably but not easily.

ADVANCES: David Spade

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/149656/saturday-night-live-update-stefon

(3) Dan Akroyd vs. (14) Bobby Moynihan

We have an original not ready for prime time player versus someone younger than the show.  I like Moynihan a lot, his pieces on Weekend Update are always funny, he does a fun Snooki and Guy Fieri, but my toughest choice will be deciding between secondhand news correspondents Anthony Crispino and Drunk Uncle for his swan song.  Akroyd takes this one in a rout.

ADVANCES: Dan Akroyd

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/317016/saturday-night-live-weekend-update-drunk-uncle

(7) Darrell Hammond vs. (10) Rob Schneider

Darrell Hammond has the longest tenure of any SNL cast member, ever; Rob Schneider was also on SNL.  Hammond impersonated basically everyone and most celebrity impersonators are just ripping him off at this point.  Schneider played a character that gave people nicknames.  Hammond Wins.

ADVANCES: Darrell Hammond

Swan Song: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgrk97_richard-lamer-jeff-daniels_shortfilms

(2) Chevy Chase vs. (15) Chris Elliot

Chevy Chase, the man who coined “Live from New York its Saturday Night” and creator of Weekend Update, versus Chris Elliot, a guy you probably know better from Letterman than SNL. No Contest.

ADVANCES: Chevy Chase

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4139/saturday-night-live-steve-martins-penis-beauty-creme

ROCKEFELLER CENTER

(1) Will Ferrell vs. (16) David Koechner

Anchorman co-stars faceoff.  I won’t waste your time, Will Ferrell in a cake walk.

ADVANCES: Will Ferrell

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/69477/saturday-night-live-bill-brasky-airport-bar

(8) Kevin Nealon vs. (9) Joe Piscopo

Another eight, nine game pits Nealon against Piscopo.  Nealon anchored Weekend Update and while not its strongest rendition it did score.  He also mixed in Franz, the pseudo Arnold Schwarzenegger body builder he portrayed next to Dana Carvey and Mr. Subliminal. Piscopo somewhat rode Eddie Murphy’s coattails while also mixing in a passable Letterman and a really good Sinatra.  This really comes down to Sinatra versus Mr. Subliminal, it goes to Sinatra.

ADVANCES:  Joe Piscopo

Swan Song: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgqmzk_mr-subliminal_shortfilms

(5) Jon Lovitz vs. (12) Seth Meyers

Jon Lovitz has a slew of character and catch phrases. Seth Myers predominantly sits behind a desk telling jokes.  In my opinion Seth Meyer’s Weekend Update is the weakest in years and that makes it impossible for him to move on.  Jon Lovitz has a ticket to the next round.

ADVANCES:  Jon Lovitz

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/331282/saturday-night-live-really-with-seth-and-amy-birth-control

(4) Adam Sandler vs. (13) Victoria Jackson

Adam Sandler detractors always say he’s too juvenile. Victoria Jackson detractors say she only plays the dumb blonde.  Detractors on both sides have their points but I’ll take Cajun Man, Opera Man and Canteen Boy over Toonces the Driving Cat any day.  Sandler takes this one pretty easy.

ADVANCES: Adam Sandler

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/278875/saturday-night-live-toonces-the-cat

(6) Molly Shannon vs. (11) Julie Sweeney

Believe it or not, both Molly Shannon and Julie Sweeney had movies based on their SNL characters.  Both movies were terrible but both movies still got made.  Sweeney had Pat about an androgynous, umm, person named Pat.  Molly had Mary Katherine Gallagher, a teen catholic school girl, who believed she was a superstar while everything else about her proved otherwise.  Molly also had Salley O’Malley and the NPR sketches.  Sweeney didn’t really have any else in her bag of tricks.

ADVANCES: Molly Shannon

Swan Song: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xl8cpg_saturday-night-live-pat-at-the-office_fun

(3) Mike Myers vs. (14) Jane Hooks

Mike Myers, arguably the strongest three seed in the tournament (Phil Hartman may disagree), finds himself up against Jane Hooks.  Myers has such a huge arsenal of characters; Wayne’s World alone laps anything Jane Hooks ever did on the show.  Hooks entire career on SNL can be boiled down to; stock female.

ADVANCES:  Mike Myers

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/3531/saturday-night-live-the-sinatra-group

(7) Norm Macdonald vs. (10) Fred Armisen

This is the marquee matchup of the first round.  Norm Macdonald, who for my money put on the best Weekend Update ever, add to that his fantastically underscored performances as Larry King, Bob Dole, Burt Reynolds and David Letterman, faces the male Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, unbelievably versatile, playing Barack Obama to Joy Behar to an insanely funny David Patterson, he also mixes in such oddly alternative characters like Nick Fehn and Garth from Garth and Pat.  Both perform refreshingly non mainstream acts, in other words my mother would not get either of these guys.  Such a tough matchup, but a winner must be chosen.  I remember hearing Tina Fey say Norm was the last dangerous cast member, something I think SNL has been missing for a few years now and that gives Norm the edge.

ADVANCES: Norm Macdonald

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/119794/saturday-night-live-update-fred-as-gov-david-paterson

(2) Dana Carvey vs. (15) Abby Elliot

Abby Elliot probably has already passed her father in SNL lore (not that hard) and she is proving to be much more than just a female place holder on this current SNL staff but Dana Carvey wins this one.  Carvey has some Hall of Fame credentials when it comes to SNL success and if he wants to advance he’ll need them in this bracket.

ADVANCES: Dana Carvey

Swan Song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/12/saturday-night-live-zooey-deschanel-video_n_1271742.html

THE KILLER BEES

(1) John Belushi vs. Jeff Richards

Another one versus sixteen, Richards scored as “drunk girl” on Weekend Update, Belushi scored on everything.

ADVANCES: John Belushi

Swan Song: http://tastyjeff.com/videos

(8) Cheri Oteri vs. (9) Jim Breuer

This match lines up Cheri Oteri, grounded in improv and Jim Breuer, rooted in stand up.  Oteri, never short on character driven sketches like the Cheerleaders, Morning Latte and the “Simmer Down Now” lady, showed she could hang with a one seed like Will Ferrell without being overshadowed.  Breuer on the other hand made his living on impressions and Weekend Update spots.  While he did mix in Goat Boy, a hybrid goat- man MTV VJ, it got beaten to the ground and became more annoying than funny.  Breuer’s shining moment was the Joe Pesci Show, but Oteri has too much up her sleeve to fall in this one.

ADVANCES: Cheri Oteri

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/167907/saturday-night-live-the-joe-pesci-show

(5) Chris Rock vs. (12) Colin Quinn 

Chris Rock and Colin Quinn, both stand ups through and through.  Neither did much character heavy work; Rock had Nat X, while Quinn did a passable Deniro both flourished behind the update desk.  Quinn actually hosted it; whereas Rock would get two minutes here and there to deliver some very stand upish material.  Quinn upsets one of the greatest stand ups of all time.

ADVANCES: Colin Quinn

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/2809/saturday-night-live-weekend-update-old-school-days

(4) Jimmy Fallon vs. (13) Garrett Morris

Old school versus new school, Garrett Morris the original “token black guy” of SNL takes on Jimmy Fallon, the latest star SNL has produced.  For a while it was cool to throw dirt on Fallon, “oh he breaks too much,” but if you watch any season after Will Ferrrell’s departure, it is clear Fallon carried the show appearing in an insane amount of sketches.  Morris on the other hand had a real hard time getting on show, when he did get on he scored with news for the hard of hearing and even got to say douche bag on national TV in the 70s.

ADVANCES:  Jimmy Fallon

Swan Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_b3oPslctA

(6) Kristen Wiig vs. (11) Jane Curtin    

We got a nice little cat fight in this slot.  Wiig probably the most used cast member of the current cast takes on Curtin the only member of the original cast not to get mixed up in drugs, sex and alcohol.  Wiig has a trunk full of characters, but does anyone else feel like they are all derivative of the same thing?  Meanwhile, Curtin played four different first ladies and seemed like a great straight woman, Akoyd and Belushi could play off, in a mild upset Curtin takes it.

ADVANCES: Jane Curtin

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/52188/saturday-night-live-today-show

(3) Gilda Radner vs. (14) Nora Dunn  

The first female star of SNL versus another in a long line of stock female cast members of the 1980s, is this even a question?  Gilda in a landslide.

ADVANCES: Gilda Radner

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/19301/saturday-night-live-tales-of-ribaldry

(7) Rachel Dratch vs. (10) Al Franken

Rachel Dratch, super funny, goes against Al Franken, super smart.  Dratch killed in a bunch of really funny recurring sketches, like the lovers, the Boston teens and Debbie Downer.  Franken was originally a writer on the first season of SNL before having two separate stints as a featured player.  He usually did spots on Weekend Update, although he did hit with Stuart Smalley (he even got a movie out of it).  Maybe if he ever got the Weekend Update gig it would be a different story but he didn’t and Dratch wins this match up.

ADVANCES: Rachel Dratch

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/277157/saturday-night-live-daily-affirmation

(2) Bill Murray vs. (15) Brian Doyle-Murray

Brother versus brother, I don’t think anyone will argue with this decision.

ADVANCES: Bill Murray

Swan Song: Couldn’t find any internet clips…Sorry.

STUDIO 8H

(1) Chris Farley vs. (16) Charles Rocket

For those of you who don’t know, Charles Rocket famously said “fuck” on national TV, that’s all you really have to know about him.

ADVANCES: Chris Farley

Swan Song: http://www.zebrality.com/media/2005/rocket.wmv

(8) Chris Kattan vs. (9) Will Forte

Chris Kattan and Will Forte, both big character guys, often get slept on when talking about past cast members, Kattan had Mango, Mr. Peppers and the Roxbury guys, Forte had Jon Bovi, The Falconer and MacGruber.  Kattan always seemed flamboyant compared to Forte’s absurd, so it’s really a matter of taste.  I got to go with Forte on this one, simply for delivering the movie MacGruber, which edges Night at the Roxbury, barely.

ADVANCES: Will Forte

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/3485/saturday-night-live-update-gay-hitler

(5) Amy Poehler vs. (12) Christopher Guest

Christopher Guest, awesome in one of my favorite movies of all time, This is Spinal Tap, was one and done at SNL.  Amy Poehler got nominated for two Emmy’s as a supporting actress on SNL (that doesn’t usually happen).  This one is pretty simple Amy wins.  You’ll see on Guest’s swan song he was more cut out for film anyway.

ADVANCES: Amy Poehler

Swan Song: http://videosift.com/video/Christopher-GuestHarry-Shearer-Mens-Olympic-Synchronized-Swimming-clip-1

(4) Andy Samburg vs. (13) Jason Sudeikis

While Jason Sudeikis has started to break into movies and dating up (January Jones and Olvia Wilde, really!?!), Andy Samburg takes this one quite comfortably.  I mean Andy Samburg’s digital shorts, really kind of, resurrected SNL after Amy, Tina and Jimmy left.

ADVANCES:  Andy Samburg

Swan Song: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-the-devil/1311375

(5) Martin Short vs. (11) Chris Parnell

This may have had the elements of an early upset.  Martin Short was only there for only one season, while Parnell paid his dues as a long time cast member.  Parnell was one half of Lazy Sunday and did a great job as a bit guy in a lot of excellent sketches.  But there is no upset here; Short proved he could really carry a sketch, like his Ed Grimley stuff, whereas Parnell never really ascended to stardom.

ADVANCES: Martin Short

Swan Song: http://www.funnyhub.com/videos/pages/SNL-lazy-sunday-narnia.html

(3) Phil Hartman vs. (14) Laraine Newman

Phil Hartman known affectionately as “the glue” for his ability to hold the show together and help other cast members shine, lines up against Laraine Newman, and if Garrett Morris was the first “token black guy,” than Newman was the first “stock female.”  Hartman takes this one; he can even rest his starters in the fourth quarter.

ADVANCES: Phil Hartman

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4136/saturday-night-live-puppy-uppers

(7) Dennis Miller vs. (10) Ana Gasteyer

Another classic match-up between stand up and improv, Dennis Miller the sadistically smart Weekend Update anchor versus Ana Gasteyer the sketch heavy character comedienne.  Dennis Miller had easily the smartest Weekend Update ever and if you could keep up with the brainy, obscure references you were in for much delight.  Gasteyer on the other hand slipped into many masks, the music teacher, the delicious dish, Hilary Clinton, Martha Stewart amongst many others.  I was all set to give Gasteyer the nod, but after watching a few old Miller clips, game goes to Miller.

ADVANCES:  Dennis Miller

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4156/saturday-night-live-nprs-delicious-dish-schweddy-balls

(2) Billy Crystal vs. Michael O’Donoghue

Billy Crystal another one and done cast member, was the runaway star his only year on the program.  Michael O’Donoghue, the original head writer of the series, was never a true cast member but got screen time with Mr. Mike’s Least Loved Bedtime Tales.  Billy populist appeal shines over O’Donoghue’s dark bedtime tales.

ADVANCE:  Billy Crystal

Swan Song: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4152/saturday-night-live-mr-mikes-blind-chicken

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