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A History of 'Saturday Night Live' at the Emmys

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Sep 17, 2012 | 8:27am EDT

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ALTIf Saturday Night Live MVPs Bill Hader and/or Kristen Wiig — pictured here being taaaaahhhhtally hilarious, and, like, awesome in The Californians sketch — were to emerge victorious at the 64th Primetime Emmys this Sunday night, not only would they be well-deserved wins, but historic ones at that. 

In the span of its unparalleled 38 seasons on the air, only two full-time SNL cast members have won Emmys for their work on the show. Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner both won the award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1976 and 1978, respectively. That's right, it's been nearly 35 years since a thinking man's class clown and a groundbreaking funny lady have walked away with Emmys for their work on Lorne Michaels' late night comedy institution. 

In other words, if Hader and/or Wiig were to win for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively, not only would they be the first SNL players to win in those categories (Wiig has been nominated in her category before, as was fellow SNL retiree Amy Poehler, while Hader is the first male cast member since Eddie Murphy in 1983 to be up for the accolade), but they'd break a far too-long drought of SNL cast members being inexcusably snubbed. These cast members not only did their jobs on live television, but brought multiple characters (some of which became all-time favorites among fans) to life every week. No small feat for the small screen. 

That's not to say that SNL or its talented cast members have been completely shut-out during the series' time on the air. The show, which has generated countless comedy superstars (many of whom have later gone on to capture Emmy glory on other shows), has earned 21 Primetime Emmys. In addition to Chase and Radner's wins, SNL greats like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, Seth Meyers, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, and Al Franken all have golden Emmy statuettes on their mantles, just not for their performances as full-time cast members. For instance, Fey won as a head writer in 2002 and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2009 for her iconic, star-making turn as former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin during the 2008 Presidential race. 

While the Emmys had nominated legendary full-time cast members such as Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Dan Aykroyd, and Jane Curtin in the past in the Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program category, the lack of recognition for the talent's efforts on air is an overwhelming oversight. With this having been Wiig's final season on SNL, Emmy may finally give the actress her due for her eight dominating years as the show's oft saving grace. Though, in years past, Emmy may wait to reward her for her inevitable return as host someday. (Much like they did with Fallon, who won this year for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his spectacular turn as the host for an episode in 2011). 

But why wait? Sharp, hard-working, gut-busting SNL powerhouses like Hader (who has emerged as one of the show's driving forces, not to mention one of the funniest guys on television today) and Wiig may be part of the rich Not Ready For Primetime Players heritage, but they are more than ready — and deserving — for a Primetime Emmy. 

[Photo credit: NBC] 

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