Sunday Feb 14

Marlin Brando once said "To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication."  Just a short generation later, Jim Carrey would observe "Until Ace Ventura, no actor had considered talking through his ass."  Yes, there is no recipe for what makes great acting and no surefire way to distinguish it from the talking asses of the world, perhaps in no small part because when it's at it's best, it doesn't seem like acting at all.  Ranking artistry is never easy, if not downright impossible.  It's undeniably subjective, contentious, and almost sure to offend.  Of course, that's never stopped us before.  

Rankings were made taking into account overall ability and range, strength of the roles taken, longevity, influence, and awards won.  Listed alongside are each actor's best works, also loosely ranked according to how each exemplifies their talents.
Actors must have appeared in at least one 21st century feature film for consideration as "modern."

  1. Robert De Niro: The Godfather II, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Jackie Brown, Once Upon a Time in America, Mean Streets, Heat, Cape Fear, Casino, The King of Comedy, Brazil, The Mission, Silver Linings Playbook.
  2. Al Pacino: The Godfather II, The Godfather, Scarface, Heat, Scent of a Woman, Carlito's Way, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, Donnie Brasco, The Insider.
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis: There Will Be Blood, Lincoln, Gangs of New York, My Left Foot, The Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, The Age of Innocence, The Crucible, The Boxer, Nine.
  4. Jack Nicholson: The Departed, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Shining, Easy Rider, Chinatown, Batman, A Few Good Men, As Good As It Gets, Terms of Endearment, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Pledge.
  5. Peter O'Toole (D): Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett, The Ruling Class, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man.
  6. Tom Hanks: Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Road to Perdition, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, Big, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Captain Phillips.
  7. Dustin Hoffman: Rain Man, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Lenny, Marathon Man, All the President's Men, Papillon, Sleepers.
  8. Paul Newman (D): Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Hud, The Sting, The Hustler, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Color of Money, Road To Perdition, The Verdict, Nobody's Fool.
  9. Robert Duvall: The Godfather, The Apostle, Apocalypse Now, Network, Tender Mercies, The Great Santini, Get Low, To Kill a Mockingbird, M*A*S*H, The Natural.
  10. Anthony Hopkins: Silence of the Lambs, The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands, Nixon, Amistad.
  11. Denzel Washington: Malcolm X, Training Day, Glory, American Gangster, Inside Man, Remember The Titans, Courage Under Fire, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, Crimson Tide, Flight, The Bone Collector, The Manchurian Candidate, The Siege, Antwone Fisher.
  12. Gene Hackman: The French Connection, Bonnie and Clyde, Unforgiven, The Conversation, Mississippi Burning, Hoosiers, Superman, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Poseidon Adventure, Get Shorty.
  13. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (D): Capote, The Master, Synecdoche New York, Magnolia, Doubt, Almost Famous, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Charlie Wilson's War, The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  14. Clint Eastwood: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Dirty Harry, Gran Torino, Escape from Alcatraz, In the Line of Fire, The Bridges of Madison Country, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Hang Em High.
  15. Morgan Freeman: The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Se7en, Million Dollar Baby, Glory, The Dark Knight, Gone Baby Gone, Driving Miss Daisy, Street Smart, The Sum of All Fears, Batman Begins, Outbreak, Amistad, Along Came a Spider, High Crimes.
  16. Robert Redford: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson, All is Lost, The Sting, Out of Africa, The Natural, All the President's Men, Three Days of the Condor, The Candidate, Tell Them Willie Boy is Here.
  17. Sean Penn: Mystic River, 21 Grams, Milk, Dead Man Walking, Carlito's Way, The Thin Red Line, I Am Sam, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Colors, Sweet and Lowdown.
  18. Michael Caine: Sleuth, Alfie, The Dark Knight, The Cider House Rules, Educating Rita, Hannah and Her Sisters, Little Voice, The Quiet American, The Italian Job, Harry Brown.
  19. Ben Kingsley: Gandhi, Schindler's List, House of Sand and Fog, Sexy Beast, Shutter Island.
  20. Gary Oldman: Leon, JFK, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter, Sid and Nancy.
  21. Leonardo DiCaprio: The Departed, The Revenant, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Basketball Diaries, Django Unchained, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Blood Diamond, Inception, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, Titanic, Revolutionary Road.
  22. Harrison Ford: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fugitive, Blade Runner, Witness.
  23. Geoffrey Rush: Shine, The King's Speech, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean.
  24. Kevin Spacey: Se7en, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, LA Confidential, The Negotiator, A Time to Kill, Glengarry Glen Ross, Outbreak, Superman Returns, The United States of Leland.
  25. Russell Crowe: LA Confidential, Gladiator, The Insider, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Romper Stomper, 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Master and Commander, Blood Oath.
  26. Willem Defoe: Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Boondock Saints, Shadow of the Vampire, To Live and Die in L.A.
  27. Dennis Hopper (D): Easy Rider, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers, Speed, Apocalypse Now.
  28. Jon Voight: Coming Home, Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Runaway Train, Ali.
  29. Martin Sheen: Apocalypse Now, The Departed, Badlands, The American President, Wall Street.
  30. Richard Dreyfus: Jaws, American Graffiti, The Goodbye Girl, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Holland's Opus.
  31. Matt Damon: Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Rounders, The Martian, The Bourne Identity, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ocean's 11, Syriana, School Ties.
  32. Brad Pitt: Se7en, Fight Club, The Assassination of Jessie James, Twelve Monkeys, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Sleepers, Ocean's Eleven, Babel, Inglourious Basterds, Snatch, True Romance, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Legends of the Fall, Interview with the Vampire.
  33. Christian Bale: The Machinist, American Hustle, The Prestige, The Fighter, The Dark Knight, American Psycho, Batman Begins, 3:10 to Yuma, Empire of the Sun, Rescue Dawn.
  34. Joaquin Pheonix: The Master, Gladiator, Walk the Line, Her, Inherent Vice.
  35. Ian McKellan: Gods and Monsters, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Richard III, X-Men, Apt Pupil.
  36. Johnny Depp: Edward Scissorhands, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Blow, Finding Neverland, Donnie Brasco, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Platoon, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood.
  37. Sean Connery: James Bond films, The Untouchables, The Hunt For Red October, Murder on the Orient Express, The Rock.
  38. Ralph Fiennes: Schindler's List, Harry Potter Franchise, The English Patient, The Constant Gardener, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  39. Edward Norton: Fight Club, American History X, Rounders, The Illusionist, 25th Hour, Primal Fear, Birdman, Keeping the Faith, The Italian Job, Red Dragon.
  40. Liam Neeson: Schindler's List, Kinsey, Batman Begins, Taken, Michael Collins.
  41. Tom Cruise: Magnolia, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, Minority Report, Risky Business, The Color of Money, Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, The Firm, Mission Impossible, Tropic Thunder, Top Gun, Vanilla Sky, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicle.
  42. Christopher Walken: The Deer Hunter, Catch Me If You Can, A View to Kill, The Dead Zone, At Close Range.
  43. Tommy Lee Jones: The Fugitive, No Country For Old Men, Lincoln, JFK, In the Valley of Elah.
  44. Harvey Keitel: Mean Streets, Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction.
  45. Samuel L. Jackson: Pulp Fiction, A Time to Kill, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, The Negotiator.
  46. John Malkovich: Places in the Heart, The Killing Fields, In the Line of Fire, Of Mice and Men, Being John Malkovich.
  47. James Earl Jones: The Great White Hope, Field of Dreams, Jack Ryan Franchise, Coming to America, Star Wars.
  48. Jeff Bridges: The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart, True Grit, Starman, The Fabulous Baker Boys.
  49. Ed Harris: Pollock, Apollo 13, The Truman Show, A Beautiful Mind, The Hours, Gone Baby Gone, A History of Violence, Empire Falls, The Rock, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Abyss.
  50. William Hurt: Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News, A History of Violence, Too Big to Fail.
  51. Benicio Del Toro: The Usual Suspects, Traffic, 21 Grams, Che, Sicario, Sin City, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Snatch, Guerrilla, The Argentine, The Pledge.
  52. Michael Fassbender: Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave, Shame, Hunger, A Dangerous Method.
  53. Warren Beatty: Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, Bugsy, Bulworth.
  54. Javier Bardem: No Country For Old Men, Biutiful, Before Night Falls, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Mondays in the Sun.
  55. James Caan: The Godfather, Misery, Thief, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song.
  56. Alan Arkin: Wait Until Dark, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, Little Miss Sunshine, Argo.
  57. Mel Gibson: Braveheart, The Patriot, Lethal Weapon, Ransom, Mad Max.
  58. Christopher Plummer: The Sound of Music, The Insider, Malcolm X, Beginners, The Last Station.
  59. Nick Nolte: Affliction, The Thin Red Line, Warrior, The Prince of Tides, Cape Fear.
  60. Christoph Waltz: Inglourious BasterdsDjango Unchained, Carnage.
  61. Jake Gyllenhaal: Nightcrawler, Donnie Darko, Prisoners, Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, Southpaw.
  62. Mark Ruffalo: Spotlight, Foxcatcher, The Kids are Alright, The Normal Heart, Infinitely Polar Bear, Shutter Island, Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, You Can Count On Me, Avengers.
  63. Will Smith: The Pursuit Of Happiness, Ali, Six Degrees of Separation.
  64. Robin Williams (D): Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire.
  65. Don Cheadle: Hotel Rwanda, Traffic, Crash, Devil in a Blue Dress, Ocean's Eleven.
  66. Kevin Costner: Dances with Wolves, Field of Dreams, JFK, The Untouchables, Bull Durham.
  67. Michael Douglas: Wall Street, Traffic, Wonder Boys, The American President, Basic Instinct.
  68. John Hurt: The Elephant Man, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Alien, Scandal, The Hit.
  69. Bruce Willis: The Sixth Sense, Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, Sin City.
  70. Kevin Bacon: The Woodsman, Sleepers, Apollo 13, Mystic River, Animal House.
  71. Robert Downey Jr.: Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, Less than Zero, Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes.
  72. Max von Sydow: The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Three Days of the Condor, Never Say Never Again.
  73. Paul Giamatti: Sideways, Cinderella Man, American Splendor, The Illusionist, Cold Souls.
  74. Billy Bob Thorton: Monster's Ball, Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, The Man Who Wasn't There, Friday Night Lights.
  75. George Clooney: O Brother Where Art Thou?, Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air.
  76. James Woods: Salvador, Once Upon a Time in America, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, Contact.
  77. Bill Murray: Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Rushmore, Ghostbusters.
  78. Joe Pesci: Goodfellas, Raging Bull, My Cousin Vinny, Casino, Lethal Weapon, Home Alone.
  79. Kenneth Branagh: Henry V, My Week with Marilyn, Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing.
  80. Heath Ledger: (D) The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot, 10 Things I Hate About You, Candy.
  81. Woody Allen: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Deconstructing Harry.
  82. Nicholas Cage: Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, The Rock, Raising Arizona, Face/Off.
  83. Josh Brolin: No Country for Old Men, W., Milk, True Grit, Sicario.
  84. Tim Robbins: The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, The Player, Bull Durham, Bob Roberts.
  85. Forest Whitaker: The Last King of Scotland, Good Morning Vietnam, Bird, Panic Room, American Gun.
  86. Donald Sutherland: M*A*S*H, JFK, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People, The Dirty Dozen.
  87. Colin Firth: The King's Speech, A Single Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
  88. Martin Landau: Ed Wood, North By Northwest, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Rounders.
  89. Viggo Mortenson: Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence, The Road, Eastern Promises.
  90. Steve Buschemi: Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Ghost World, Living in Oblivion, The Big Lebowski.
  91. Albert Finney: Murder on the Orient Express, Tom Jones, The Dresser, Under the Volcano, Erin Brockovich.
  92. Gary Sinise: Forrest Gump, Of Mice and Men, Ransom.
  93. Laurence Fishbourne: The Matrix, Apocalypse Now, What's Love Got to Do with It.
  94. Ryan Gosling: Half-Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Drive, The Ides of March.
  95. John Turturro: Barton Fink, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing.
  96. Tom Hardy: Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson, Max Max: Fury Road, Locke, The Drop, Inception.
  97. William H. Macy: Fargo, Seabiscuit, Boogie Nights.
  98. Daniel Craig: Skyfall, Casino Royale, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Road to Perdition, Defiance.
  99. Casey Affleck: Gone Baby Gone, The Assassination of Jesse James, Good Will Hunting, Ocean's Eleven, Out of the Furnace.
  100. Jim Carrey: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Man on the Moon, The Truman Show, Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber.

*Best Actor/Supporting Actor Academy Award winning performances appear in italics

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Written by Ben Pogany
1) Will Ferrell (1995 - 2002) 
Signature sketches: Celebrity Jeopardy, More Cowbell, W. Bush, James Lipton, Harry Carry, Robert Goulet, The Lovers.      SNL Rating: 10
Extracurriculars: Anchorman, Old School, Funny or Die.      Post SNL Rating: 9.5
Total Score: 19.5


2) Eddie Murphy (1980 - 1984)
Signature sketches: Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood, White Like Me, Buckwheat, Gumby, Prose and Cons, Stevie Wonder, John David Stutts, James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party.        SNL Rating: 9.6
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America.      Post SNL Rating: 9.3
Total Score: 18.9

3) John Belushi (1975 - 1979)
Signature sketches: Samurai Futaba, Blues Brothers, Olympia Restaurant, Joe Cocker, The Singing Bee.      SNL Rating: 9.2
Extracurriculars: Animal House, Blues Brothers.   Post SNL Rating:  7.2
Total Score: 16.4

4) Phil Hartman (1986 - 1994) 
Signature sketches: Bill Clinton, The Anal Retentive Chef, The Sinatra Group, Ronald Reagan, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. SNL Rating: 9.7
Extracurriculars: NewsRadio, The Simpsons.     Post SNL Rating: 6.6
Total Score: 16.3

5) Bill Murray (1977 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Nick the Lounge Singer.        SNL Rating: 7.4
Extracurriculars: Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation.       Post SNL Rating:  8.5
Total Score: 15.9

6) Chris Farley (1990 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: The Chris Farley Show, Matt Foley Motivational Speaker, The Chippendales Audition, Bill Swerkski's Super Fans, Bennett Brauer, El Niño, Schmitts Gay Beer.         SNL Rating: 9.6
Extracurriculars: Tommy Boy, Black Sheep.       Post SNL Rating: 6.2
Total Score: 15.8


7) Dan Aykroyd (1975 - 1979) 
Signature sketches: Blues Brothers,  Irwin Mainway, Beldar Conehead, Fred Garvin, Bass-O-Matic, Julia Child, and One Wild and Crazy Guy.        SNL Rating: 8.3
Extracurriculars: Ghostbusters, Coneheads, Blues Brothers. Post SNL Rating:  7.3
Total Score: 15.6

8) Adam Sandler (1991 - 1995)  
Signature sketches: Opera ManThe Hanukkah SongCanteen BoySchmitts Gay Beer.      SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Happy Madison Films.       Post SNL Rating: 8.4
Total Score: 15.4

9) Chevy Chase (1975 - 1976)  Also a 9-time host, the most of any former cast member.
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Gerald Ford, Land Shark.       SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: National Lampoon, Caddyshack, Fletch, Community.        Post SNL Rating: 8
Total Score: 15

10) Tina Fey
(2000 - 2006) 
Signature sketches: Head Writer, Sarah Palin, Weekend Update.        SNL Rating: 7
Extracurriculars: 30 Rock, Mean Girls. Post SNL Rating: 7.7
Total Score: 14.7

11) Dana Carvey (1986 - 1993) 
Signature sketches: Church Lady, Garth Alger, Hanz, The Grumpy Old Man, Chopping Broccili, Bush I.     SNL Rating: 8.3
Extracurriculars: The Dana Carvey Show, Wayne's World.       Post SNL Rating:  5.8
Total Score: 14.1

12) Seth Meyers (2001 - 2014)  
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Head Writer.   SNL Rating: 7.8
Extracurriculars: Late Night With Seth Myers, The Awesomes.     Post SNL Rating: 6
Total Score: 13.8

13) Mike Myers (1989 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: Wayne Campbell, Sprockets, Coffee Talk.        SNL Rating: 6
Extracurriculars: Austin Powers Trilogy, Shrek Quadrilogy, Wayne's World.       Post SNL Rating: 7.7
Total Score: 13.7

14) Kristen Wiig (2005-2012) 
Signature sketches: The Target Lady, Kat, Penelope, Michele Bachmann.      SNL Rating: 8
Extracurriculars: Bridesmaids, MacGruber.       Post SNL Rating: 5.6
Total Score: 13.6

15) Chris Rock (1990 - 1993)  
Signature sketches: The Dark Side With Nat X, I'm Chillin'.      SNL Rating: 4.4
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Everybody Hates Chris, The Chris Rock Show.   Post SNL Rating:  9.1
Total Score: 13.5

16) Jane Curtin (1975 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Pymaat Conehead.       SNL Rating: 6.7
Extracurriculars: Kate & Alley, 3rd Rock From the Sun, The Coneheads.     Post SNL Rating: 6.6
Total Score: 13.3

17) Amy Poehler (2001 - 2008) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update.       SNL Rating: 6.8
Extracurriculars: Parks and Rec, Baby Mama.     Post SNL Rating: 6.4
Total Score: 13.2

18) Al Franken (1977 - 1980, 1985 – 1986, 1988 – 1995) 
Signature sketches: Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley, Prolific writer.      SNL Rating: 6
Extracurriculars: US Senator, Author, Radio commentator.     Post SNL Rating: 7
Total Score: 13

19) Jimmy Fallon (1998 - 2004)  
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Barry GibbSully and Denise.       SNL Rating: 4.6
Extracurriculars: The Tonight Show, The Jimmy Fallon Show. Post SNL Rating: 8.2
Total Score: 12.8

20) Andy Samberg (2005 -2012)  
Signature sketches: Lazy SundayDick in a BoxMother Lover, I'm On a Boat, Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals.      SNL Rating: 7.5
Extracurriculars: Brooklyn Nine-Nine.     Post SNL Rating: 5
Total Score: 12.5

21) Tracy Morgan (1996 - 2003) 
Signature sketches: Brian Fellow's Safari Planet, Uncle Jemima, Star Jones, Woodrow the Homeless Man.     SNL Rating: 6.6
Extracurriculars: 30 Rock, Stand-up, The Tracy Morgan Show. Post SNL Rating: 5.5
Total Score: 12.1


22) Norm Macdonald (1993 - 1998) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Burt Reynolds, Bob Dole, Stan Hooper.    SNL Rating:  6.7
Extracurriculars: Stand-up, Dirty Work, The Norm Show.    Post SNL Rating: 5
Total Score: 11.7

23) Darrell Hammond (1995 - 2009)  His fourteen seasons is by far the longest running tenure in the history of the show. 
Signature sketches: Sean Connery, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Al Gore, John McCain, Dick Cheney.       SNL Rating: 9
Extracurriculars: Assorted bit roles       Post SNL Rating: 1
Total Score: 10

24) Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1982 - 1985)
Signature sketches: Televangelist April May June, Consuela, Weather Woman.      SNL Rating: 1.5
Extracurriculars: Seinfeld, Veep, The New Adventures of Old Christine.      Post SNL Rating: 8.2
Total Score: 9.7

25) Molly Shannon
(1995 - 2001) 
Signature sketches: Mary Katherine Gallagher, Schweddy Balls, Sally O'Malley.       SNL Rating: 6.9
Extracurriculars: Superstar!, Assorted bit roles.          Post SNL Rating: 2.2
Total Score: 9.1

26) Gilda Radner (1975 - 1980)
Signature sketches: Roseanne RosannadannaEmily LitellaBaba Wawa.      SNL Rating: 7.5
Extracurriculars: Gilda Radner - Live From New York.                Post SNL Rating: 1.5
Total Score: 9.0

27) Kevin Nealon (1986 - 1995) 
Signature sketches: Weekend Update, Franz, Mr. Subliminal.       SNL Rating: 6.2
Extracurriculars: Weeds, Adam Sandler movies.      Post SNL Rating: 2.3
Total Score: 8.5

28) Jon Lovitz
(1985 - 1990) 
Signature sketches: Tommy Flanagan the Pathological Liar, Harvey Fierstein, Master Thespian, Hanukkah Harry.     SNL Rating: 4.7
Extracurriculars: The Client, Newsradio, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club.     Post SNL Rating: 3.7
Total Score: 8.4

29) David Spade
(1990 - 1996) 
Signature sketches: Hollywood Minute, Buh-bye guy.      SNL Rating: 4
Extracurriculars: Just Shoot Me!, Tommy Boy, Rules of Engagement.    Post SNL Rating: 4.3
Total Score: 8.3

30) Garrett Morris
(1975 - 1980) 
Signature sketches: Chico Escuela, News For the Hard of Hearing Translator.         SNL Rating:  4.5
Extracurriculars: The Jamie Foxx Show, 2 Broke Girls, The Downtown Comedy Club. Post SNL Rating:  2.8
Total Score: 7.3


Honorable Mentions:   Tim Meadows (1991 - 2000), Ana Gasteyer (1996 - 2002), Jim Breuer (1995 - 1998), Chris Kattan (1996 - 2003), Joe Piscopo (1980 - 1984), Jason Sudeikis (2005 - 2013), Martin Short (1984 - 1985), Fred Armisen (2002 - 2013), Harry Shearer (1979 - 1980, 1984 - 1985), Chris Parnell (1998 - 2006), Rachel Dratch (1999 - 2006), Cheri Oteri (1995 - 2000), Dennis Miller (1985 - 1991), Horatio Sanz (1998 - 2006), Will Forte (2002 - 2010), Bill Hader (2005 - 2013), Jan Hooks (1986 - 1991), and Kenan Thompson (2003 - present).

Host Hall of Fame: Steve Martin (15 appearances), Alec Baldwin (16), John Goodman (12), Buck Henry (10), Tom Hanks (8), Christopher Walken (7) and Justin Timberlake (5).

Flashes in the Pan Who Went On To Bigger Things: Conan O'Brien (writer, 1987-1991), Robert Downey Jr (1985–1986), Billy Crystal (1984-1985), Steven Colbert (writer, voice in Ace in the Ambiguously Gay Duo), Steve Carell (voice of Gary in The Ambiguously Gay Duo), Christopher Guest (1984-1985), Michael McKean (1994-1995), Sarah Silverman (1993-1994), Chris Elliott (1994-1995), Joan Cusack (1985-1986), Gilbert Gottfried (1980-1981), Randy Quaid (1985-1986).

Written by Ben Pogany
1) HBO: Launched in 1972
Top currently-running properties: Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, Last Week Tonight, Veep, Silicon Valley, True Detective, Girls, Togetherness
Top formerly-running properties: The Wire, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Larry Sanders Show, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Sex in the City, Oz, Boardwalk Empire, Band of Brothers

2)  FX/FXX: Launched in 1994
Top currently-running properties: Fargo, Louie, The Americans, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, American Horror Story, You're the Worst, Baskets, Tyrant, The Strain
Top formerly-running properties: The Shield, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck

3)  Netflix: Launched in 1997
Top currently-running properties: Master of None, Making a Murderer, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, Bloodline, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jessica Jones, W/Bob & Dave

4)  Comedy Central: Launched in 1991
Top currently-running properties: The Daily Show, Inside Amy Schumer, South Park, Nathan For You, Broad City, The Nightly Show, Drunk History, Workaholics, Review, Tosh.0
Top formerly-running properties: Chappelle's Show, The Colbert Report, Key and Peele, The Man Show, Upright Citizen's Brigade

5)  AMC: Launched in 1984
Top currently-running properties: Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire, Fear the Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels.
Top formerly-running properties: Breaking Bad, Mad Men

6)  Amazon Studios: Launched in 2013
Top currently-running properties: Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle

7)  Showtime: Launched in 1976
Top currently-running properties: Homeland, Ray Donovan, Episodes, Shameless, The Affair, Penny Dreadful, Masters of Sex, Billions
Top formerly-running properties: Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Californication, Weeds, The Tudors.

8) FOX: Launched in 1986
Top currently-running properties: Brooklyn Nine Nine, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Empire, The X-Files
Top formerly-running properties: Arrested Development, 24, That 70's Show, 90210, Melrose Place, In Living Color, Prison Break, House, Married...with Children, Party of Five, Undeclared.

9) CBS: Launched in 1941
Top currently-running properties: Big Bang Theory, NCIS, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 60 Minutes, The Good Wife
Top formerly-running properties: CSI, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, Everybody Loves Raymond, Murphy Brown
10) NBC: Launched in 1939
Top currently-running properties: Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Blacklist, Meet the Press, Law & Order: SVU
Top formerly-running properties: Seinfeld, The West Wing, Cheers, Law and Order, Friends, Parks and Rec, ER, Friday Night Lights, The Office, Frasier, Freaks and Geeks, The Cosby Show, Homicide: Life on the Street, 30 Rock, L.A. Law

The Devil in the White City (2017)  Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Dicaprio.  An architect works to build up the 1893 Worlds Fair, while a serial killer uses the fair to attract and kill women.

Dunkirk (2017) Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Tom Hardy. Tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation, which took place at the beginning of World War II.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)  Directed by Ang Lee and starring Joe Alwyn.  An infantryman recounts the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq.

Legacy of Secrecy (???) Written and directed by David O. Russell.  Carlos Marcello and his possible involvement in the murder of JFK.

Triple 9 (2016)  Starring Aaron Paul, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Michael B. Jordan, and Casey Affleck.  A group of gang members and a corrupt cop plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Blade Runner Sequel (2016) Directed by Denis Villenueve and starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Silence (2016) Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe.  In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.

Strangers (???) Directed by David Fincher, screenplay by Ben Affleck and Gillian Flynn, starring Ben Affleck. (Remake of Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train)  A murder plot hatched by two men who meet on a train is considered to be a joke by one of them, and a dangerously real plan by the other.

Jackie (2017)  Directed by Pablo Larrain and starring Natalie Portman.  An account of the days of First Lady, Jaqueline Kennedy,  in the immediate aftermath of JFK's assassination in 1963.

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Matt Bomer and Ethan Hawke.  Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

Downsizing (2017) Directed by Alexander Payne and starring Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon, Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Sudeikis.  A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

War Machine (2016 on Netflix) Directed by David Michod and starring Brad Pitt.  A satire of America's war with Afghanistan with a focus on the people running the campaign.

Enzo Ferrari (2017)  Directed by Michael Mann and starring Christian Bale and Noomi Rapace.  The life story of Italian sports car entrepreneur, Enzo Ferrari.

The Wizard of Lies (2016 on HBO) Directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert De Nero and Michelle Pfeifer.  The story of Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme.

Story of Your Life (2016)  Directed by Denis Villenueve and starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, and Jeremy Renner.  Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat.

Live By Night (2017)  Directed by and starring Ben Affleck.  Based on the book by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone).  A story set in the Prohibition Era and centered around a group of individuals and their dealings in the world of organized crime.

Cortes (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Benicio de Toro.  Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés leads an expedition to bring down the Aztec Empire during the 15th Century.

The Trade (???) Directed by Jay Roach and written by Ben and Casey Affleck.  A chronicle of the 1970s scandal caused by New York Yankees Fritz Petterson and Mike Kekich, who admitted to swapping wives with one another.

Cicero (???) Directed by David Yates and starring Tom Hardy.  Focuses on Al Capone's rise to power moving from the slums of Brooklyn to the top of the food chain in prohibition-era Chicago.

Snowden (2016) Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zachary Quinto.  CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.o.

Ballad of Richard Jewell (???)  Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.  American security guard, Richard Jewell, heroically saves thousands of lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is unjustly vilified by journalists and the press who falsely report that he was a terrorist.

The True American (2016)  Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Tom Hardy.  A Bangladeshi Air Force officer looking to make his way in the United States is shot by an American terrorist out to kill Muslims in the aftermath of September 11th.

Far Bright Star (???)  Directed by Casey Affleck and starring Joaquin Phoenix. Set in 1916, an aging cavalryman leads a team of men to hunt down the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. However, after an ambush in which most of the men are killed, the cavalryman must struggle to survive in the desert.

Stronger (2016)  Directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma.

LBJ (2016) Directed by Rob Reiner an starring Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Jason-Leugh.  The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson from his young days in West Texas to the White House.

Weightless (2016) Directed by Terrence Malik and starring Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Benicio Del Toro, Rooney Mara, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Ryan Gosling.  Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

The Kind One (???)  Directed by Ridley Scott.  The film is set in the 1930s Los Angeles and follows Danny Landon, an amnesiac who works for a violent mobster (a.k.a. "The Kind One"), while he falls in love with this man's girlfriend.

The Founder (2016)  Directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Michael Keaton, Linda Cardellini, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson, and Nick Offerman.  The story of McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc.

Reykjavik (2016) Starring Michael Douglas.  A dramatization of the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Snowman (2017)  Directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One in) and starring Michael Fassbender.  Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.

Suburbicon (???)  Directed by George Clooney, written by the Coen Brothers, and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Josh Brolin.  A crime mystery set in the 1950's.

The Current War (???) Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal.  Electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse compete to create a sustainable system and market it to the American people.

Free Fire (2106) Directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, and Cilian Murphy.  Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

The Irishman (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Starring Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. A mob hit man recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.

Boston Strangler (???)  Starring Casey Affleck.  A detective tries to solve the case of a notorious serial killer in Boston during the early 1960s.

Hands of Stone (2016) Starring Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez. The legendary Roberto Duran and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel change each other's lives.

Candy Store (2016)  Starring Robert De Niro, Keira Knightly and Omar Sy.  An undercover agent begins a new life as a beat cop in Brooklyn, but finds that his past life comes back to haunt him.

The Man Who Made it Snow (???) Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  The true story of Max Mermelstein, a Jewish hotel engineer, who transforms a small mom and pop drug organization into a billion-dollar enterprise.

The BFG (2016) Based on the book by Roald Dahl.  Directed by Steven Spielberg.  A young girl is kidnapped by a giant and together they set off to save England from his fellow giants.

Knight of Cups (2016) Written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett.  A man is in search of love and truth.

Passengers (2016) Directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.  A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.

A Quiet Passion (2016) Directed by Terence Davies and starring Cynthia Nixon.  The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist.

Satchmo (2017)  Directed by and starring Forest Whitaker.  Screenplay by Ronald Bass (Rain Man). A chronicle of the life of jazz legend Louis Armstrong from his early years in New Orleans through his acclaimed career as a trumpeter and improvisational singer.

A Season in the Congo (???)  Directed by Joe Wright and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.  A look at the events surrounding the Congo rebellion in 1960.

Blonde (2018) Directed by Andrew Dominic (Assassination of Jesse James) and starring Jessica Chastain.  A chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe.

Sinatra (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. The life story of legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra.

Thrilla in Manilla (2108) Directed by Ang Lee.

Untitled Josh Hamilton Project (???) Directed by Casey Affleck.  Baseball player Josh Hamilton, who was a top draft pick in 1999, hits rock bottom after suffering from a drug addiction that ruins his family life and career, only to clean-up his act and redeem himself with an unexpected comeback.

Untitled Mike Tyson Biopic (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Terrence Winter and starring Jamie Foxx.  A chronicle of champion boxer Mike Tyson's life.

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1) The Notorious BIG- Ready to Die -(1994) Around the years '87-'88, a young crack dealer named Christopher Wallace began entertaining local passersby by rapping into a beat-up amp on the street corners around Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  Six years later, he was the biggest rapper in the world.  Three years after that, he was dead.   During the short flash that was his career, only one album was to be released, a top-to-bottom classic with the eerily prophetic title 'Ready to Die'.  This album has it all.  Sick beats, brilliant lyrics, crazy flows, and that intoxicating voice of Biggie Smalls.  Key Tracks: Warning, Juicy, Ready to Die.

2)  Nas- Illmatic --(1994) Five months prior to Ready to Die, this 20-year-old Queensbridge native paired with producers Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip and burst onto the scene with what would be his masterpiece. Calling the album Illmatic after his incarcerated friend Illmatic Ice, Nas originally wanted the cover to feature himself with Jesus in a headlock. Key Tracks: N.Y. State of Mind, Life's a Bitch, One Love.

3) Dr. Dre- The Chronic --(1992) Fresh off of his split with supergroup NWA, Dre took it solo and ended up creating perhaps the best produced rap album of all time. The Chronic would introduce Parliament-laced G-funk to the mainstream and made Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg stars before they'd ever even released albums of their own. Key Tracks: Nuthin' but a "G" Thang, F*ck wit Dre Day, Let Me Ride.

4)  Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt --(1996) In 1996, Jay-Z blew audiences away with his debut effort and first release on label Roc-A-Fella records.  Sean Carter had been known as "Jazzy", a nickname that developed into his stage name Jay-Z as an homage to his musical mentor Jaz-O and to the J-Z subway lines that stop by Marcy Avenue.  Jaz-O had given Jay-Z his first break by recruiting him on the 1989 song "Hawaiian Sophie."  Two decades later, Jigga is a true hip hop tycoon.  Key Tracks: Dead Presidents, Brooklyn's Finest, Can't Knock the Hustle.

5)  Public Enemy-It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back --(1988) Channeling the black anger and urban tension so in need of an outlet, Nation of Millions was one of the first truly socially conscious hip hop albums. Key Tracks: Bring the Noise, Don't Believe the Hype, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.

6)  The Wu-Tang Clan- Enter The Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers --(1993)  In 1993, Ghostface Killah and RZA decided to create a hip hop group whose ethos would be a blend of "Eastern philosophy picked up from kung-fu movies, watered-down Nation of Islam preaching picked up on the New York streets, and comic books."  Recruiting the best rappers they could find, RZA set out to produce an album layered with eerie beats, martial-arts movie clips and soul music samples.  To decide who appeared on each song, he forced the Wu-Tang rappers to battle with each other.  The album's title originates from the 1978 martial arts film 'The 36th Chamber of Shaolin'.  Key Tracks: C.R.E.A.M, Protect Ya Neck, Bring Da Ruckus.

7) NWA- Straight Outta Compton --(1988) This debut studio album pioneered gangsta rap and scared a whole lotta white people in the process. Instrumental in shifting power to the West Coast, Straight Outta Compton became the first album to reach platinum status without any airplay support or major tours. Key Tracks: Straight Outta Compton, Express Yourself, F*ck The Police.

8)  A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory --(1991) Fusing hip hop and jazz, childhood friends Q-Tip and Phife Dawg and high school mate Ali Shaheed Muhammad created an unique brand of intelligent, socially conscious music.  Low End features contributions from jazz great Ron Carter on upright bass. Key Tracks: Excursions, Jazz (We've Got), Scenario.

9)  Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle --(1993) Following the success of The Chronic, Doggystyle debuted at number one and sold over 800,000 copies in its first week, the record for a new artist. Key Tracks: Gin and Juice, Who Am I (Whats My Name)?, Lodi Dodi.

10)  Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx --(1995) Raekwon brought producer RZA and Ghostface Killah along for his solo debut, an album widely regarded as the pioneer of Mafioso rap, a genre later perfected by Biggie and Jay-Z (It was also the first hip hop album to name drop Cristal). It's title suggests that the music was as tough as Cuban link chain jewelry.  Key Tracks: Criminology, Glaciers of Ice, Rainy Dayz.

11) Outkast- Aquemini --
(1998) Outcast's third studio album took its name from a combination of the duo's astrological signs (Aquarius for Big Boi and Gemini for André 3000). The synthesizer-laden, distinctively Atlanta sounding record took only 2 months to go platinum. Key Tracks: SpottieOttieDopaliscious, Rosa Parks, Return of the "G".

12)  The Fugees-The Score --(1996) The second and final album of super-group Wycelf Jean, Lauren Hill and Pras. 18 million sold. Key Tracks: Killing Me Softy, Fu-Gee-La, Ready or Not.

13)  2Pac- All Eyez On Me --(1996) All Eyez was released after Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records and baddest mofo on planet earth, bailed 2Pac out of jail in exchange for signing to his label.  Arriving in studio to begin work hours after being released, Pac would lay down what would become his crowning achievement.  Key Tracks: 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, California Love, Ambitionz Az a Ridah.

14)  Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force- Planet Rock: The Album--(1986)  Respectfully known as the "Grandfather" for his monumental impact on the early development of hip hop, Bambaataa recently became one of the first hop hop artists to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Representing Zulu Nation, he released the seminal Planet Rock over two decades ago as a collection of previous singles that had up until then never appeared on an album.  Key Tracks: Planet Rock, Looking For the Perfect Beat, Renegades of Funk. 

15)  Boogie Down Productions
-Criminal Minded --(1987) With Criminal Minded, KRS-One and BDP laid the groundwork for gangsta rap, as it was the first album to feature gun-toting MCs on its cover and crime narratives within its tracks. Their hardcore lyrics would become all too real after DJ Scott La Rock was shot and killed a mere five months after this seminal release.  Key Tracks: The Bridge is Over, Criminal Minded, South Bronx.

16)  Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five-
The Message --(1982) Releasing their debut album on upstart Sugarhill Records, DJ Grandmaster Flash and MCs Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Cowboy, Mr. Ness/Scorpio, and Rahiem essentially wrote the rule book on turntablism, break-beat deejaying, and rapping.  The title track was the first hip hop song to integrate socially and politically conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: The Message, Scorpio, She's Nasty.

17)  Eric B. & Rakim-Paid In Full ---(1987) After Rakim responded to Eric B.'s search for "New York's top MC," the duo got to work after Rakim's friend and roommate Marley Marl permitted them use of his home studio.  They would end up creating one of the most influential rap albums ever for its use of samples, internal rhyme, complex lyricism, and laid back flow.  Key Tracks: Eric B. Is President, I Know You Got Soul, Paid in Full.

18) Dr. Dre-Chronic 2001
--(2001) Almost a decade after releasing his landmark album The Chronic, Dre took back to the studio to begin work on his long-anticipated follow up.  Dre did not mince words about his motivations: "For the last couple of years, there's been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I'm still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn't have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here's the album -- now what do you have to say?"  Point made...    Key Tracks: Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode, What's The Difference. 

19)  The Notorious BIG-Life After Death
--(1997)-This double album released posthumously featured guest artists 112, Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, R. Kelly, The LOX, Kelly Price, and Puff Daddy.  Considered a seminal mafioso rap album, it is one of three hip hop albums to ever be certified diamond (10 million US sold). Key Tracks: Notorious Thugs, Hypnotize, Ten Crack Commandments.

20) Run D.M.C.- Run DMC--(1984) Run DMC's debut effort was the first hip-hop album to ever receive a 5-mic rating from The Source. Key Tracks: Rock Box, It's Like That, Sucker M.C.'s

21)  Beastie Boys-
Licensed To Ill ---(1986)-Some fast facts: It is the first rap LP to top the Billboard 200 chart.  It is Columbia Records' fastest selling debut record to date.  Kerry King of Slayer made an appearance on the album playing lead guitar on "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn".  The '3MTA3' on the cover image of the plane spells 'EATME' when viewed in a mirror.  The original title for the album was Don't Be a Faggot but Columbia Records refused to release the album and pressured Russell Simmons into having the Beastie Boys to come up with another name.  Key Tracks: Fight for Your Right, No Sleep Til Brooklyn, She's Crafty.

22) 2Pac- Me Against The World --(1995) Recorded in a matter of weeks before Pac was to go to prison on sexual assault charges, MATW would make the embattled rapper the first and only artist to ever have a number one album while serving a prison sentence. Key Tracks: Dear Mama, Me Against the World, Outlaw.

23)
Eminem- The Marshall Mathers LP --(2000) Em's third studio album was gritty, angry, and brutally honest, lashing out against critics and illustrating the troubles that his new found fame had induced. The album sold more than 1.79 million copies in its first week in the US alone, making it the fastest selling solo album ever. Key Tracks: Stan, The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady?

24)  Ice Cube-
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted --(1990) Primarily produced by The Bomb Squad, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted made use of several tracks Cube had originally written for NWA before their acrimonious split. Taking on the American justice system, race relations, poverty, and drug addiction in South Central, L.A., Cube produced an instant classic that is as powerful today as it was two decades ago. Key Tracks: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Endangered Species, Who's the Mack?.

25)  Jay-Z- The Blueprint--Despite the bad fortune of being released on September 11, 2001, The Blueprint sold over 426,000 copies in its opening week, becoming Jay-Z's fourth consecutive album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart.  Produced by Kanye West and Just Blaze, it was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in two days.  Key Tracks: Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Renegade, Girls, Girls, Girls.

26)  Big L- Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous --(1995) Like Biggie's Ready to Die, Lifestylez was the only studio album to be dropped prior to it's author's murder.  The tremendously underrated LP introduced up-and-comers Jay-Z and Cam'ron.  Key Tracks: Put It On, M.V.P., Street Struck.

27)  Mobb Deep- The Infamous...--(1995) This rap duo is the third act on this list to hail from Queensbridge. Key Tracks: Shook Ones Pt. II, Temperature's Rising, Survival of the Fittest.

28)  LL Cool J-
Radio --(1985) This first full length album release on Def Jam Records was primarily produced by co-founder Rick Rubin.  Key Tracks: I Can't Live Without My Radio, Rock the Bells, I Need a Beat.

29)  Outkast- ATLiens
--(1996) "It's deep. So deep that listening to 'ATLiens' you might feel like drowning, but the smooth vocals of Big Boi and the earthy flows of Andre always push you back up to the surface. They are players in the truest sense of the word; not just playing for ends but playing to win in the ultimate battle of life over death, good over bad, and righteousness over evil." --Steve Juon, RapReviews. Key Tracks: ATLiens, Wheelz of Steel, Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac).

30) Run DMC- Raising Hell --(1986) One of the most important rap albums ever for its success in taking the infant the genre mainstream, Raising Hell silenced critics who had deemed hip hop a passing fad.  It made its biggest mark with Walk This Way, a collaboration with Aerosmith that became the first hip hop video in heavy rotation on MTV.  Key Tracks: Its Tricky, Walk This Way, My Adidas.

31)  Bone Thugs N Harmony- E. Eternal 1999 --(1995) Released four months after executive producer Eazy-E's death, Eternal spawned the landmark single "Tha Crossroads", which won a Grammy, went double-platinum, and tied The Beatles' 32-year-old record (1964's "Can't Buy Me Love") for the fastest rising single on the pop charts. Key Tracks: The Crossroads, 1st of tha Month, East 1999.

32) Black Star- Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star- (1998) The sole album from this power duo, the hyper-intelligent Black Star moniker is a nod to the Black Star Line, an early 20th-century African-American shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey. Key Tracks: Definition, Brown Skin Lady, Respiration.

33)  Nas- Stillmatic --(2001) Nas harkened back to his Illmatic days with his fifth release, 2001's Stillmatic, which instantly earned the ever sought 5 mic rating from The Source.  Highlighting the achievement was Nas' bitter rebuke of Jay-Z with the "Ether", a scathing counterattack that portrayed his rival as both a plagiarist and sell-out.  Key Tracks: Got Ur Self A..., One Mic, Ether.

34)  GZA- Liquid Swords --(1995) GZA's second solo album is up alongside Cuban Linx as the best of the Wu-Tang solo efforts. Key Tracks: Duel of the Iron Mic, Liquid Swords, Shadowboxin'.

35)  Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill --(1998) After breaking out with The Fugees, Hill released her solo debut in 1998, a fusion of hip hop, soul, reggae, R&B, and gospel.  The album garnered ten nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year.  Key Tracks: Doo Wop (That Thing), To Zion, Everything Is Everything.

36) Mos Def- Black On Both Sides --(1999) Mos Def's debut solo album post-Blackstar featured live instrumentation and socially-conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: Ms. Fat Booty, Brooklyn, Mathematics.

37)  Wu-Tang Clan- Wu-Tang Forever --(1997) The long-awaited follow-up to 36 Chambers, Forever showcased their trademark stream-of-consciousness style of rap.  Key Tracks: Triumph, Visionz, As High As Wu-Tang Get.

38)  Jay-Z- The Black Album --(2003) J's 8th studio album was promoted as his last, though he would obviously renege on that pronouncement not long after.  This epic has been mixed with everything from the Beatles and Grateful Dead to Linkin Park and Prince.  Key Tracks: What More Can I Say, Dirt off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems.

39)  Cypress Hill- Black Sunday --(1993) This stoner opus marked the first time a Latino group would go platinum.  They would later be banned from Saturday Night Live after Muggs smoked a joint on-air and the band trashed their instruments while playing their second single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That".  Key Tracks: Insane In The Brain, Hits From The Bong, I Ain't Goin' Out Like That.

40)  Gang Starr- Moment of Truth
--(1998) The fifth studio album from DJ Premier and the late great Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), Moment of Truth was the high water mark within a brilliant, nearly two decade-long career.  Key Tracks: You Know My Steez, Brooklyn Trooper, Moment of Truth.

41)  De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising--(1989) Produced by Prince Paul, the album takes its title from a Johnny Cash song called "Five Feet High and Rising". Key Tracks: Me Myself and I, Buddy, Eye Know.

42)  Eminem- The Slim Shady LP --(1999)-For a kid in 6th grade, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Eminem introduce himself to the world.  This was something unlike anybody I'd ever heard; raw, revealing, humorous, and at the same time brutally violent.  The album erupted a firestorm of opposition, as parental groups balked at lyrics that discussed everything from drugging a fifteen-year-old girl to disposing of Em's dead wife's corpse.  Key Tracks: Guilty Conscience, My Name Is, '97 Bonnie & Clyde.

43) Beastie Boys- Paul's Boutique --(1989) Incorporating production by the Dust Brothers, the album makes use of samples from 105 different songs.  The sampling was uncleared, which was one of the last albums to do so before the landmark Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. case against Biz Markie that forced artists to obtain the rights to any song from which they sampled.  Key Tracks: Hey Ladies, Shake Your Rump, The Sounds of Science.

44) Big Pun-Capital Punishment--(1998) As The Source put it, "Capital Punishment is all about execution."  To be sure, Pun positively killed it in this debut effort, his spitfire rhyming skills asserting him as one of the most promising figures in hip hop before a heart attack killed him just two short years later. Key Tracks: Still Not a Player, Twinz (Deep Cover 98), You Came Up.

45)  EPMD- Strictly Business --(1988) This landmark effort from Eric Sermon and Parish Smith unearthed samples from within a genre to which few other rappers of the era were paying much attention.  Contained within its tracks are cuts from ZZ Top, Steve Miller Band, and Eric Clapton.   Key Tracks: It's My Thing, Strictly Business, You Gots to Chill.

46)  The Roots-
Things Fall Apart --(1999) The Roots' fourth studio offering turned out to be their commercial breakthrough.  During recording, the group laid down an astonishing 145 songs, which they later whittled down to the 14 that appear on the album.  Key Tracks: Adrenaline!, The Next Movement, Act Too (The Love of My Life).

47) Wyclef Jean- The Carnival --(1997) Wyclef kicked off his solo debut with an electric record that combined hip hop, reggae, folk, disco, soul, Son Cubano and Haitian music.  As a tribute to his homeland, the final three songs are sung in Haitian Creole.  Key Tracks: Gone Till November, We Trying to Stay Alive, Guantanamera

48)  Jurassic 5- Quality Control-- (2000) The major label debut of Chali 2na and company played a central role in the development of the alternative rap scene that was burgeoning around the turn of the century. Key Tracks: Quality Control, The Influence, World of Entertainment (W.O.E. is Me)

49)
Puff Daddy & the Family- No Way Out --(1997) Originally titled 'Hell Up In Harlem' until the The Notorious B.I.G.'s death, the album topped the album charts in the US with 561,000 units sold in its first week of release. It would go on to win the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Key Tracks: Victory, Been Around the World, It's All about the Benjamins.

50)  Busta Rhymes- When Disaster Strikes... --(1997) Busta's second solo effort reached #3 on the Billboard 200.  Key Tracks: Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, Dangerous, Turn It Up.


Honorable Mentions:

Pete Rock and CL Smooth- Mecca and the Soul Brother, Method Man-Tical, Outcast-Stankonia, Nas-I Am..., LL Cool J-Mama Said Knock You Out, Beastie Boys-Check Your Head, Notorious BIG-Born Again, Run DMC-King Of Rock, Ice T-O.G. Original Gangster, Missy Eliot-Supa Dupa Fly, A Tribe Called Quest-Midnight Marauders, Salt N Pepa- Blacks Magic, Kurtis Blow-Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane-Its a Big Daddy Thing, Eric B. & Rakim-Follow the Leader, Gang Starr-Daily Operation, Common-Like Water for Chocolate, KRS One-KRS One, Kanye West-The College Dropout, 50 Cent-Get Rich or Die Tryin', Eminem- The Eminem Show, Nas-It Was Written, Public Enemy-Fear of A Black Planet, DMX- Its Dark and Hell is Hot.

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Written by Ben Pogany
1) Stephen Colbert (1997-2005)
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12) Wyatt Cenac (2008-2012)
Extracurriculars: Standup

13) Rob Riggle (2006-2008)
Senior Military Affairs Correspondent
Extracurriculars: Step Brothers, 21 Jump Street

14) Rob Corddry (2002-2006)
Extracurriculars: Anchorman, Hot Tub Time Machine

15) Mo Rocca (1998-2003)
Dollars and "Cents, Mark Your Calendar, Mopinion.
Extracurriculars: CBS Sunday Morning, I Love the 70's/80's, My Grandmother's Ravioli

16) Demetri Martin (2005-2008)
Trendspotting
Extracurriculars: Standup, Important Things with Demetri Martin

17) Al Madrigal (2011-2015)
Senior Latino Correspondent

18) Jordan Klepper (2014-Present)

19) Kristen Schaal (2008-2015)
Women's Issues Correspondent
Extracurriculars: Flight of the Conchords

20) Beth Littleford (1996-2000)
The Beth Littleford Interview
Written by Ben Pogany
Because if these scenes haven't already forever seared themselves into your memory, maybe its just time for a little refresher...

Warning: consider this your spoiler alert to end all spoiler alerts.  Read on at your own peril.  (But seriously, if you haven't seen any one of these movies, just shame on you.  Honestly now...)

  1. The shower scene.  Done aaaaaand done. -Psycho
  2. Fredo breaks Michael's heart; pays dearly -The Godfather II
  3. Tony Montana introduces Sosa's men to his little friend; meets a few dozen of their own -Scarface (1983)
  4. The wood chipper.... -Fargo
  5. Daniel Plainview drinks Eli's milkshake; bludgeons him to death with a bowling pin -There Will Be Blood
  6. Vader conquers his dark side; gives Palpatine the shaft (or vice versa) -Return of the Jedi
  7. Serial bank robbers discover that karma is a bitch -Bonnie and Clyde
  8. David Mills "becomes wrath" -Se7en
  9. After futile attempts to hang, rack, and dismember the Scottish warrior, William Wallace finally finds freeeeedooommm!!!! -Braveheart
  10. Hannibal Lector escapes his cell; borrows a face for the ride -Silence of the Lambs
  11. And you will know my name is the LORD when I lay my vengeance upon thee" -Pulp Fiction
  12. Travis Bickle reaches his breaking point; murders Sport and his two bodyguards in the bloodbath of a finale -Taxi Driver
  13. Willard terminates Kurtz with extreme prejudice (ie. a machete); gives him a true taste of "the horror..." -Apocalypse Now
  14. Bambi's mother gets capped by "man" -Bambi
  15. Scorpio asks himself one question; finds his luck to be lacking -Dirty Harry
  16. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid finally reach the end of the line; go out guns a blazing -Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  17. Smiegol strangles Diegol; gives himself the worst birthday present ever -Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  18. Tommy and Jimmy go to town on Billy Batts; load him into Henry's trunk for eventual disposal -Goodfellas
  19. "...Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings" -Network
  20. Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes -The Godfather
  21. A raincoat-donning Patrick Bateman axe-murders his colleague to the "clear, crisp sound" of Huey Lewis and The News -American Psycho
  22. Drago breaks Apollo-Rocky IV
  23. Holly Martins shoots his old mate Lime; puts an end to a truly epic sewer chase -The Third Man
  24. Mola Ram rips out his sacrificial victim's beating heart; lowers the poor bastard into lava pit.  Kali maaaaa..... -Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  25. Kaizer Soze cleans house.  And like that, he's gone... -The Usual Suspects
  26. "Put your mouth on the curb..." -American History X
  27. Bill killed... -Kill Bill 2
  28. Raymond shakes his mother's spell; commits matri, step-patricide -The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  29. The Joker makes a pencil "disappear" -The Dark Knight
  30. Charlie gets hung out to dry -On The Waterfront
  31. McClane wishes Hans happy trails.  Yippie-ki-yay indeed... -Die Hard
  32. Leonard gets sniped; plunges off Mount Rushmore -North By Northwest
  33. Carla Jean Moss (presumably) finds out just how much one can lose on a coin toss -No Country For Old Men
  34. Death by paint... -Goldfinger
  35. The Moe Greene special -The Godfather
  36. Hal opts not to open the pod bay doors after all -2001: A Space Odyssey
  37. The McManus brothers dispose of nine Russian crime bosses in Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti -The Boondock Saints
  38. Leonard Shelby murders in reverse -Memento
  39. Vizzini pulls the old switcheroo, dies anyway -The Princess Bride
  40. William Munny goes postal on Little Bill, henchmen; respectfully declines his offer for a rendezvous in hell -Unforgiven
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