The History of SNL’s Black Dudes

Cast member: Garrett Morris
Tour of duty: 1975-80
The scoop: Morris will always be remembered as Saturday Night Live’s first black dude. His best known character was a Dominican baseball player whose response to every question was “Baseball been berra berra good to me.”
Fun fact: Towards the end of his run on the show he began to freebase cocaine, which led to delusions that he was being manipulated by an invisible robot.

Cast member: Eddie Murphy
Tour of duty: 1980-84
The scoop: Eddie was SNL’s first African-American superstar, and the first to find big screen success as a box office A-lister in flicks like “48 Hours,” “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” His Buckwheat and Mr. Rogers characters are still amongst the show’s all-time greats.
Fun fact: Hosted the very first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.

Cast member: Damon Wayans
Tour of duty: 1985-86
The scoop: Wayans is best known for appearing on rival sketch comedy show “In Living Color,” but few people remember that he actually got his start on SNL.
Fun fact: He was fired from Saturday Night Live during his inaugural season for changing character while on-air.

Cast member: Chris Rock
Tour of duty: 1990-93
The scoop: Despite appearing in a slew of terrible films, Chris Rock has long been hailed as the funniest man on the planet. Rock got his start on SNL, though his time on the show has been eclipsed by his classic HBO stand-up specials as well as his sketch comedy series “The Chris Rock Show.”
Fun fact: Shares a birthday with Ashton Kutcher.

Cast member: Tim Meadows
Tour of duty: 1990-2000
The scoop: Despite the fact that his most famous character, Leon Phelps, a.k.a. the Ladies Man, was expanded into a full-length feature, Meadows never found the same mainstream success as many of his fellow alum.
Fun fact: With Kevin Nealon, Meadows shares the most consecutive years as a cast member.

Cast member: Tracy Morgan
Tour of duty: 1999-2003
The scoop: As far as we’re concerned, Tracy Morgan is one of the least-funny SNL alums ever. He rarely (if ever) made us laugh, and never with his most famous character, the child-like animal show TV host Brian Fellows.
Fun fact: Was inspired to begin doing stand-up by Andrew Dice Clay.

Cast member: Jerry Minor
Tour of duty: 2000-2001
The scoop: This featured performer’s only recurring characters on SNL were Grand Master Rap and Al Sharpton, neither of which we remember. But hey, his name is Minor, so can you really blame us?
Fun fact: Jerry is currently the only performer to ever belong to all 3 of Second City’s Touring Companies.

Cast member: Dean Edwards
Tour of duty: 2001-2003
The scoop: Um, we don’t really remember this guy.
Fun fact: His first impression on SNL was of Chris Tucker

Cast member: Finesse Mitchell
Tour of duty: 2003-
The scoop: We like his Starkisha character. Plus, he looks pretty hot as a woman.
Fun fact: Finesse was born and raised in Atlanta.

Cast member: Kenan Thompson
Tour of duty: 2003-
The scoop: Aside from starring in “Good Burger” and “Fat Albert,” Thompson got his start on Nickelodeon.
Fun fact: Kenan was the first performer on “Saturday Night Live” to be born after the show’s debut in 1975.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Cool writeup.

    I disagree about Tracy Morgan, though; I often found him very funny and laughed particularly hard at that one skit where his only dancing move is to flex his arms together…you know…erm, that one skit.

  2. michele says:

    Is this an appropriate time to give props to Eddie Murphy’s hit single “Party all the Time?” On a related note, I think you should devote an entire post to the power of Ellen Cleghorne.

  3. Chucko says:

    Good list, but Dan Akroyd and Better Midler hosted the first MTV awards show.

  4. yuppiepunk says:


    By gosh, you’re right. The thousands of immigrants housed in the fact-checking wing of YuppiePunk World HQ must’ve let this one fall thru the cracks. Damn them! We hate getting caught with our pants down (actually, we sorta like it).

    Turns out Mr. Murphy hosted the VMA’s years two and three, not one. Thanks for the update.


  5. Marty says:

    Btw, Tracy Morgan’s cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was legendary, regardless of how unfunny he was the rest of the time.

    “I don’t know what the fuck you just said, lil kid, but you special man.”

  6. Debbie Robinson says:

    What are you guys talking about??? Kenan sucks-how he made it past the recent cut is amazing to me. I personally think Tracy is pretty funny. I read that 30 Rock is behind in ratings…I say, How about more Tracy?

  7. Brian says:

    Anyone ever notice most of the black cast members have an “M” in their last name? Morris, Murphy, Meadows, etc.
    And M is the 13th letter… and 13 in known as an unlucky number. :-) Not sure how signifigant that is. Just thought I’d just throw that out there.

  8. Eddie says:

    I agree with Debbie Robinson, Kenan SUCKS!

    There’s a whole WEBSITE about how much Kenan sucks!

  9. Mike says:

    Wow! Is SNL still on the air? You have to be kidding me. SNL, for me, ended when Will Farrell, Molly Shannon, et al left the show. Since then there’s been a slew of un-funny wanabes’, save for Tina Fey. By the way Tina, what the f*%k are you doing staying on that show? Leave already…

  10. Ste. Goldie says:

    Does anyone know where I can find a video clip of Jerry Minor as Al Sharpton and Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson… they sing “cool it now, ooh watch out you’re gonna lose control” and then they break in to “the NBA is in the house…”?

  11. Ste. Goldie says:

    oh and I love Kenan DEEP HOUSE DISH!!! ooowee T-shane!

  12. Wrapture | Thighs Wide Shut says:

    [...] • The (brief) History of SNL’s Black Dudes [...]

  13. True A. Love says:

    Eddie Murphy’s character was Mr. Robinson from “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood”. It was indeed very funny. Most of these other black dudes I don’t remember. I haven’t watched the show since Eddie Murphy left. My favorite SNL episode was back in the early days. Remember “Land Shark”? Way too funny spoof on the whole “Jaws” movie era.