Saturday Night Live aired its twenty-first season during the 1995-1996 television season on NBC. The twenty-first season began September 30, 1995 and ended on May 18, 1996. 20 episodes were produced.
SNL once again dodged cancellation from season twenty's low ratings and scathing reviews about the show's decline in quality. Only five cast members: Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney, Tim Meadows, Molly Shannon and David Spade returned to the show from the previous season.
Although David Spade returned to the show, he had more of a diminished role, very rarely appearing in sketches except for Spade in America, a "Weekend Update" segment hosted by Spade that debuted at the start of the season and was featured in all but five episodes.
With the cast overhaul taking place, Lorne Michaels hired Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, David Koechner, Cheri Oteri, and Nancy Walls.
Several episodes into the season, head writer Fred Wolf and newly hired writer Colin Quinn were added to the cast as featured players. Chris Kattan also joined as a featured player for the final six episodes of the season.
This would be the final season for David Spade. Spade had agreed to stay only for a year so that he could be a bridge between the old and new casts. Newcomers David Koechner and Nancy Walls were also let go after this season.
Oscar-nominee Mariel Hemingway kicks off the twenty-first season of SNL.
SNL alum Chevy Chase returns to host, with a guest appearance by Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci.
Friends star David Schwimmer hosts, with a cameo appearance by Jennifer Aniston.
Gabriel Byrne, fresh off filming The Usual Suspects, comes to SNL to host.
Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino hosts.
Melros Place's Laura Leighton hosts, special appearance by Sam Waterston.
The doctor is in. Anthony Edwards of ER hosts SNL.
No stranger to sketch shows, David Alan Grier (In Living Color) hosts.
The brilliant comedienne Madeline Kahn (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) hosts.
Christopher Walken returns to host. Special guest appearances by George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani.
Alec Baldwin is back again to host.
Academy Award nominee Danny Aiello hosts, with a special appearance by Larry Brown.
Sitcom veteran Tom Arnold returns to host with a special appearance by Adam Sandler.
Supermodel Elle MacPherson graces the stage of Studio 8H.
John Goodman returns to host.
One of the all-time SNL greats, Phil Hartman, returns to his former stomping grounds as guest host.
Businessman Steve Forbes trades in politics for comedy when he hosts SNL.
TV staple Teri Hatcher (Lois and Clark..., Desperate Housewives) hosts.
Emmy winner Christine Baranski (Cybill) hosts.
The 1995/96 season finale is hosted by the irrepressible Jim Carrey.