Seth Meyers and the Lonely Island Explain the Difference Between 'SNL' Featured Players and Full Cast Members

It's just money

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 1, 2024

There are two tiers of Saturday Night Live stars: full cast members and featured players. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Seth Meyers and the Lonely Island broke down the extremely nominal distinction between the two positions in a recent episode of their podcast.

Appearing together on their recently launched The Lonely Island and Seth Meyers Podcast, the sketch trio and the former SNL head writer acknowledged that there's almost no difference between features players and repertory players.

"Obviously, we know that 'featured player' is just a name. It means nothing," Meyers said. "It mostly is, I think, a way to signal to the audience: don't expect too much from this person yet, they're new. Other than that, your responsibilities are the same as any cast member."

Andy Samberg chimed in, "Yes. And you're getting paid significantly less."

Meyers laughed and agreed: "Yes. So [it's a] nice way of saying you're paid less. But the usual run of business is you're a featured player for two years and then they bump you up. I think that, my first year — because I started with Amy Poehler — she, because she had more credits going into her time at SNL than I did, managed to negotiate that, after Christmas, she was full cast. But I did go the full two years."

He continued, "I don't know if this happened for you, Andy, but when you get full cast, your friends think you have accomplished something other than just the passage of time."

Hear the podcast discussion below. It focuses on the SNL Digital Short "Cubicle Fight."

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