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SNL Stars Whose Careers Have Done a 180 

Thursday, Jan 26 2012

Click here for "Victoria Jackson's Excellent Tea Party Adventure," by Gus Garcia-Roberts.

Joe Piscopo: arm-curling beefcake

Piscopo went from master impersonator to master meathead during the late 1980s and early '90s after trading in movie screen roles (Johnny Dangerously, Wise Guys) for pumping iron. In interviews, Piscopo has said his indulgence in weightlifting stemmed from his doctor's order to curb his thyroid cancer through exercise. But then Muscle & Fitness and Longevity magazines called, pining for Piscopo to flex his pecs on their covers, and he was courted to be the spokesman for GNC Cybergenics products and Bally Fitness. If Piscopo was looking to alienate his comedy nerd fanboy demo — guys who avoid exercise equipment for fear of being trapped — well, mission accomplished. Piscopo's comedic chops remain in demand: He has played to sell-out crowds in stand-up co-bills with former SNLer Father Guido Sarducci, both on the road and at last summer's Club Piscopo at Atlantic City's Resorts Casino.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANKEN.SENATE.GOV - Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota)
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANKEN.SENATE.GOV
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota)

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Al Franken: U.S. senator crusading against his ex-boss

By the time Franken became Minnesota's junior U.S. senator, he wasn't unqualified for the job. He'd been a lifelong political commentator and satirist since arriving at SNL in 1975, in books like Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them) and on his Air America radio show. And he's had a history of reprimanding corporate parent NBC, particularly during the 1979-80 SNL season, when he called out the inadequacies of the network's president, Fred Silverman (a move that cost Franken the job as Lorne Michaels' replacement). Franken's most bittersweet moment, however, came when he used his newfound political power to rally against the NBC Universal-Comcast merger in a 2010 Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust panel, opining, "It matters who runs our media companies. ... When the same company that produces the programs runs the pipes that bring us the programs, we have reason to be nervous."

Pamela Stephenson: sex therapist

This New Zealand import from the 1984-85 season of SNL went from being a sex satirist to a sex therapist. While making light of her assets on "Weekend Update" was late-night de rigueur, nowadays sex isn't something Stephenson jokes about. Possessing more degrees and certificates in psychotherapy than she has SNL credits, Stephenson (married to Scottish comedian Billy Connolly) is the founder and president of the L.A. Sexuality Center, which treats those with sexual disorders and gender issues. And when she isn't discussing the horizontal mambo, you can find her doing the rumba on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

Darrell Hammond: tell-all author

In November, Hammond, SNL's Bill Clinton and Donald Trump impersonator, released his autobiography, God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked, and went on a press tour unloading a slew of confessionals, opening up about his broken relationship with his daughter, how his psychotic mother stabbed his tongue with a knife and how taking crack is "the best orgasm" he ever had "multiplied by five and prolonged for 12 hours." —Anthony D'Alessandro

Reach the writer at anthonydalessandro@hotmail.com

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