Home / Features / VIDEO: 5 Irish Stars on America’s No.1 Comedy Show

VIDEO: 5 Irish Stars on America’s No.1 Comedy Show

Saturday Night Live (SNL) is an American TV institution, showcasing the best in new comedy and music talent from around the world. It is the comic pop culture of the TV world.

Driven by characters and sketches the alumni of comedy actors and writers included Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi and Tina Fey. With weekly guest hosts the late night NBC show has been presented by some of the most charming celebrities around (… and Donald Trump). To be invited to host Saturday Night Live is an honour, a privilege and a career highlight. Produced by the legendary Lorne Michaels, the show continues to be a breakout institution for such recent luminaries as Will Ferrell, John Mulaney and Amy Poehler. For any aspiring comedy writer a season on SNL can make and break a career. For any aspiring comedy actor an appearance or a sketch on the show leads to instant status.

But we thought it would it would be interesting to honour Irish artists who graced the studio and stole the show. But sadly it is not the comic minds – instead below we present to you with five Irish music stars to grace the 30 Rock stage on the must influential TV show in America … broadcast live from New York.

Please welcome ….

The Cranberries

Formed in Limerick and beloved from around the world, The Cranberries performed on the show in its 20th season (1994/1995) alongside rising heart-throb George Clooney. Performing  “Zombie” and “Ode to My Family”, the episode is also notable by being the first appearance of long-time cast member Molly Shannon.


Ireland’s – and some would argue the world’s – premier rock group have appeared on Saturday Night Live three times over the years, a phenomenal achievement in a long list of phenomenal achievements. Comedy fans like their music. U2 like their comedy. The above clip is taken from their appearance on SNL at the beginning of December 2000. As it was the 20th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Bono sang a verse from “All You Need Is Love” over the end of their performance of “Beautiful Day.”

The Pogues

With limited space we’ve had to make some decisions. The Chieftains, Van Morrison, even Ed Sheeran thanks to his Irish parents…all could have been included. However, today we thought we’d focus on the masters of Celtic Punk, The Pogues. Fronted by Shane McGowan, here’s their performance of The Body of an American in 1990 in an episode hosted by Rob Lowe.


It was almost impossible to escape the US rise of Hozier and Saturday Night Live was no exception. Playing to a packed audience of fans and ex-pats, Hozier performed his famous hit “Take Me to Church” as well as “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene”. Instead of linking to the performances (it’s not hard to track down a video of him singing Take Me to Church) instead enjoy this promo clip he recorded with the hilarious Bill Hader and Cecily Strong for NBC.

Sinead O’Connor

The last on the list and likely the most well-known appearance, Sinead O’Connor concluded her performance of ‘WAR’ by holding up a picture of  Pope John Paul II, declared “Fight the real enemy” and tore the picture in two.

O’Connor then held up a picture of an African child before departing the stage. The audience was quiet as the floor manager had declined to put on the APPLAUSE sign due to feeling that O’Connor had attempted to derail the show.

And yet, it continues to be a striking image and one that is still referenced in articles presently written about the singer from Glenageary. Regardless of the notoriety Sinead remains one of  Ireland’s most treasured creative artists and  we here in grintage wish her and family all the best..

Now if we can only find 5 Irish comedians or comedy actors to have starred on SNL?




Check Also

The first comedy that might make millennials feel old

Aimless siblings Cary and Brooke Dubek’s lives are thrown into chaos when their teenage brother …