5 Kevin Nealon
Kevin Nealon’s reign as “Weekend Update” host from 1991 to 1994 was among the most polarizing. “EW” ranked Nealon 11th in its list of top anchors, but an October 2008 article from StarPulse.com named Nealon the most underrated of all the anchors. Nealon actually came across as a believable anchor, but he also managed to slip in brilliant transitions between real news and comedy elements. His knack for well-time pauses helped the audience keep up. If the anchor gets credit for his guests, Nealon gets more points. Adam Sandler’s “Opera Man” character was a recurring hit under Nealon’s watch.
4 Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase set the tone for “Weekend Update” as its original host for the 1975 to 1976 season. In fact, Chase was arguably the brightest star in an otherwise modest opening cast for “SNL.” The goofy, unwitting comedic profile Chase followed to film stardom was largely molded during his time as news anchor. He also established the role of anchors in developing content for “Weekend Update” by creating many of his own concepts and popular bits.
3 Norm MacDonald
Ironically, Norm MacDonald’s first job was as a writer for “The Dennis Miller Show.” “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels found him when he was writing for “Roseanne.” It was MacDonald’s writing talents and his very dry humor that earned big laughs from 1994 to 1997. Chevy Chase called MacDonald the funniest “Weekend Update” host of all time.
2 Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller was a wordsmith, which served him well in the carefully crafted news bits shared during his time as “Weekend Update” host from 1985 to 1991. While Miller went on to host his own show and remains active in stand-up as of 2013, he was never more funny than he was as the “SNL” news host. Miller achieved laughs flying solo throughout much of his time behind the desk.
1 Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Individually, neither would have likely cracked the top five. As a pair, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler created an unmatched comedy synergy during their 2004 to 2006 stint as “Weekend Update” co-hosts. In naming them No. 1 on its list of best anchors in September 2009, “Entertainment Weekly” highlighted Fey’s humorous writing and comedic timing and Poehler’s uncanny ability to get laughs with little more than an expressive look. The two also made history as the only female duo to host.