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N is for Not Ready for Primetime Players
The moniker for the show’s ensemble started off as a joke (as ABC’s “Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell” already had an ensemble called the “The Prime Time Players,” which included later SNL alums including Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest) but now is a badge of pride. These supposedly unprepared performers instead have delivered some of the most memorable performances of the last forty years, both on the show and in later endeavors. Even if these comedians aren’t ready for “primetime,” their work on the show often comes during the primes of their careers.