Robert Downey Jr named worst SNL cast member ever

snl robert downey jr

Many readers may not know this, but a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (or New York City), the man you know as Tony Stark aka Iron Man was a cast member on the American institution known as Saturday Night Live. If you have just learned this now it’s probably because he really didn’t make that big of an impact and only lasted one year during the 1985-1986 season, when the popular sketch show wasn’t doing too well itself. Now, Downey Jr has received the unwanted status of worst SNL cast member ever by Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone magazine.

The article, titled “‘Saturday Night Live’: All 141 Cast Members Ranked,” couldn’t have come at a better time, what with SNL celebrating its 40th season this Sunday with a star-studded, 3-hour special. Sheffield claims the article is “a celebration of Lorne Michaels’ creation 40 years on.”

In Downey Jr’s defense, the article, which the writer (as well as all readers probably) says is insanely ambitious, absurdly exhaustive and ruthlessly complete, has nothing to do with a performer’s career overall or anything that took place off screen; it’s all about their performance and impact onscreen from 1130pm on Saturday to 1am the next Sunday. As well, the article doesn’t include long-time friends of the show like Alec Baldwin or Justin Timberlake; it focuses on the cast members and performing writers.

So, want to know what he had to say about Iron Man? Let’s take a look:

“Robert Downey Jr. is a comic genius. Making him unfunny stands as SNL’s most towering achievement in terms of sucking. How do you fuck up a sure thing like Downey? He’s funny in anything. I mean, dude was funny in Weird Science. He was funny in Johnny Be Good. He was funny in Iron Man. But he met his Kryptonite, and it was SNL, where he spent the 1985-1986 season sucking up a storm. His greatest hit? A fart-noise debate with Anthony Michael Hall. In a perverse way, the Downey Fail sums up everything that makes SNL great. There are no sure things. No rules. No do-overs. No safety net — when you flop on SNL, you flop big. And that’s the way it should be. The cameras roll at 11:30, ready or not. Live from New York — it’s Saturday Night.”

So, he sucked it up big time on SNL. I think it’s safe to say his career didn’t suffer for that. It did for other reasons at one point…but that’s another conversation.

You can see all 141 SNL players ranked at Rolling Stone’s site.

You can catch the SNL 40th Anniversary Special on NBC on Sunday, February 15th and Robert Downey Jr in the next 27 Marvel projects.

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Glen Ilnicki
Glen Ilnicki 271 posts

Glen has been reading comic books and playing video games his whole life. His unhealthy passion, however, is for film. He currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.