It all started with a tweet. Comedian Joe Kwaczala recently pointed out that there are now 151 cast members of Saturday Night Live, which also happens to be the number of Gen 1 Pokémon. With his blessing, Vulture began a great undertaking: matching each Pokémon with their SNL counterpart. It wasn’t easy. For one thing, comparing humans to semi-sentient pocket monsters can be incredibly cruel. For another, there are 22,801 possible pairs of Not Ready for Prime Time Pokémon.
The pairings came from different places. Some were physical, while others came together from evolutions. If there are three similarly surreal oddballs, they become male Nidoran♂ and his cohort. Other pairings were more of an instinctual feeling, something that sang out from a dark and primal place. So after much contemplation, multiple spreadsheets, and rewatching Indigo League, we present to you the occasionally borderline arbitrary entries in the SNL Pokédex.
001. Bulbasaur: Dan Aykroyd
002. Ivysaur: Mike Myers
An evolution. Same character-heavy energy, but with stronger catchphrase and visual-style vines.
003. Venusaur: Will Ferrell
He has his vines in everything. Venusaur has executive-producer energy.
004. Charmander: Andy Samberg
Same openmouthed grin. Also, it’s very easy to imagine Andy Samberg saying “Char! Char!”
005. Charmeleon: Charles Rocket
Ash’s Charmeleon was a sullen, self-sabotaging teen, and that sums up the man who first said “fuck” on air.
006. Charizard: Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy is the foil Charizard of SNL performers.
007. Squirtle: Dana Carvey
008. Wartortle: Beck Bennett
A beefier turtle man.
009. Blastoise: Jimmy Fallon
The cannon on Blastoise’s back fires musical impersonations and giggles.
010. Caterpie: Melissa Villaseñor
The potential to become anything.
011. Metapod: Colin Jost
012. Butterfree: Cecily Strong
While Colin Jost is stuck in the cocoon of anchoring, Strong broke free and is flying above it as Cathy Anne.
013. Weedle: Chris Redd
Weedles live on trees, and Chris Redd loves trees.
014. Kakuna: Garrett Morris
His strength lay in his chill, both on SNL and 2 Broke Girls. Also, this has nothing to do with Pokémon, but Garrett Morris was a playwright before doing SNL. More people should know that.
015. Beedrill: Tracy Morgan
If Tracy Jordan never described himself as a bee with drills for hands, I will be stunned.
016. Pidgey: Gail Matthius
A.k.a. Shirley the Loon.
017. Pidgeotto: Jason Sudeikis
The way he jumps into “What’s Up With That?” proves that he’s flying type.
018: Pidgeot: Chris Parnell
Underrated evolved flying king.
019. Rattata: Laura Kightlinger
There are stages in Pokémon Moon where it seems like you can’t take two steps without encountering a wild Rattata, and Laura Kightlinger cameos also pop up in the least expected places.
020. Raticate: Leslie Jones
Raticate is the embodiment of being “on one,” as Jones always is when she does an “Update” spot.
021. Spearow: A. Whitney Brown
A flying type can see the “Big Picture.”
022. Fearow: Jim Breuer
Identical haircut and demeanor.
023. Ekans: Danitra Vance
Danitra Vance had Shakespearean training, and what could be more Shakespearean in the Pokémon world than the rhyming couplets of Jessie and James?
024. Arbok: Jan Hooks
No shade, but Jan Hooks looks like she can unhook your jaw and swallow you whole. This is her power.
025. Pikachu: Vanessa Bayer
Adorable. Powerful, powerful cheeks.
026. Raichu: Rachel Dratch
Slightly less adorable, but with a stat boost to compensate.
027. Sandshrew: Michael Che
Allegedly thick-skinned, but with a soft underbelly.
028. Sandslash: Norm Macdonald
Actually thick-skinned, also prickly as hell.
029. Nidoran♀: Michaela Watkins
A cute-ass smile.
030. Nidorina: Nora Dunn
Nidorina is the most second-wave feminist Pokémon.
031. Nidoqueen: Jane Curtin
Imagine watching 3rd Rock From the Sun and not only is Dick secretly an alien, but Mary is secretly a Pokémon. Don’t you want to live in that world?
032. Nidoran♂: Tim Robinson
The three fellas in the male Nidoran line have an offbeat energy, with surreal touches that make you feel like you’ve been hit with Leer.
033. Nidorino: Mike O’Brien
Mike O’Brien used his SNL tenure to sharpen his poison horn in film pieces.
034. Nidoking: Will Forte
(Nido)King Weirdo Will Forte. For what is the “Potato Chips” sketch if not a Sludge Bomb?
035. Clefairy: Abby Elliott
Two woodland sprites …
036. Clefable: Chris Elliott
… From the same kooky family.
037. Vulpix: Mary Gross
Meek but powerful. Have you seen Troop Beverly Hills? A perfect shy li’l fox.
038. Ninetales: Laraine Newman
Gorgeous, gorgeous hair.
039. Jigglypuff: Luke Null
Jigglypuff’s musical sketches always seem to get cut between dress and air, and that’s a shame.
040. Wigglytuff: Adam Sandler
Like a Jigglypuff that can hang.
041. Zubat: Pamela Stephenson
Two Eastern hemisphere hires (New Zealand and England), a region as mysterious to the SNL ethos as the underground caves where you find Zubats and Golbats. Escape Rope is the Concord in this analogy.
042. Golbat: Morwenna Banks
What’s even their deal down there (in England and New Zealand)? Unclear. Morwenna Banks was an evolution, however, because she found success on British TV after her SNL stint.
043. Oddish: Melanie Hutsell
An optimist, Oddish shares Melanie Hutsell’s Valley Girl–like uptalk.
044. Gloom: Heidi Gardner
Gloom is the Patronus of Baskin Johns, Goop staffer.
045. Vileplume: Janeane Garofalo
“In the late eighties when I first met Janeane Garofalo, she said to me, ‘I’d really like to do some mushrooms with you.’” —Jeff Garlin in his memoir, My Footprint.
046. Paras: Aidy Bryant
Like Bryant, Paras juxtaposes her baby-doll eyes with a manic edge.
047. Parasect: Paul Shaffer
You will never see either Paul Shaffer or Parasect’s pupils.
048. Venonat: Kyle Mooney
Perhaps the quirkiest of the Gen 1 Pokémon, Venonat would probably also star in a lot of pretapes that get cut and put on YouTube later.
049. Venomoth: Nancy Walls Carell
Nancy can really portray the fragility of a moth.
050. Diglett: Brian Doyle-Murray
Essentially the Pokémon equivalent of the gopher from Caddyshack.
051. Dugtrio: Gary Kroeger
More comfortable underground where there’s less competition.
052. Meowth: Billy Crystal
The cartoon’s Meowth is a catchphrase machine, much like Billy “You Look Mahvelous” Crystal in his SNL years. And what wouldn’t you give to see Meowth host the Oscars?
053. Persian: Ann Risley
According to Saturday Night by Doug Hill, Risley’s gorgeous catlike overconfidence sabotaged her time at SNL. She also had the gravitas of a large wild cat.
054. Psyduck: Jenny Slate
If you saw Jenny Slate freak out at the concept of space on Drunk History, you get it.
055. Golduck: Joan Cusack
And if you’ve seen Cusack sing “Edge of Seventeen” in School of Rock, you see why she’s an evolution of that same wahhhhhh energy.
056. Mankey: Chris Kattan
Mr. Peepers is definitely fighting type.
057. Primeape: Rich Hall
Primeape is the Moe Szyslak of Pokémon.
058. Growlithe: Jerry Minor
Loyal, and plays a lot of cops. Jerry Minor is Growlithe if Bob Odenkirk is Officer Jenny.
059. Arcanine: Tim Kazurinsky
Was literally in Police Academy. Although, do Growlithes stop being police dogs when they evolve into Arcanine? Do they retire to desk duty, or become like SWAT dogs?
060. Poliwag: John Milhiser
Both possess an adorable, spritely attitude.
061. Poliwhirl: Paul Brittain
Paul Brittain is an Aquarius, and Poliwhirl definitely bears water.
062. Poliwrath: Alex Moffat
Like Moffat’s Guy Who Just Bought a Boat character, Poliwrath has a tiny dong he’s trying to compensate for.
063. Abra: Siobhan Fallon
Weak against bug types, and yes, this is a Men in Black joke. Also, she disappeared out of sketches that went against her Catholicism.
064. Kadabra: Dean Edwards
A mid-level impersonation wizard.
065. Alakazam: Michael McKean
Michael McKean has BSME: Big Stage Magician Energy.
066. Machop: Jon Rudnitsky
067. Machoke: Rob Riggle
068. Machamp: Joe Piscopo
069. Bellsprout: Noel Wells
Bellsprout has the same expression as Noël Wells’s Zooey Deschanel. It’s a 1:1 likeness.
070. Weepinbell: Julia Sweeney
Like Pat, Weepinbell also has an exactly 50/50 shot at being male or female.
071. Victreebel: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Like Selina Meyers, Victreebel is victorious but toxic.
072. Tentacool: Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman is a “cool girl,” and only kind of like in Gone Girl.
073. Tentacruel: Rob Schneider
In Gasping for Airtime, Jay Mohr says Rob Schneider only ate sushi at every lunch, examining each piece of fish for worms with a jeweler’s loupe. This is (1) insane and (2) evidence that he is a water type.
074. Geodude: Chris Rock
Both rock type. Also Geodude got a bad edit in the anime, which echoes how Rock got shafted at SNL. There’s no way an electric type would beat a rock or ground type, Pikachu, and you know it!
075. Graveler: Patrick Weathers
Graveler looks like conceptual art, and Patrick Weathers owns several art galleries now.
076. Golem: Terry Sweeney
Played No. 1 stone-cold bitch Nancy Reagan.
077. Ponyta: Denny Dillon
A Broadway hoofer!
078. Rapidash: Christine Ebersole
A Broadway hoofer with more acclaim (and who thinks 9/11 was an inside job)!
079. Slowpoke: Chris Farley
Slowpoke literally lives by a river. In a van? Hard to say.
080. Slowbro: David Koechner
Such a bro.
081. Magnemite: Brad Hall
A magnet robot is kind of like a Human Stapler (which was one of Brad Hall’s recurring characters). They attach one thing to another thing, and they blur the line between animal and machine in a way that is an affront to God.
082. Magneton: Robert Smigel
Magnetons are formed when three Magnemites come together, and Smigel is a writer–voice actor–puppeteer triple threat.
083. Farfetch’d: Jon Lovitz
084. Doduo: Matthew Laurence
A two-headed ostrich is the same thing as an SNL performer with a twin who’s also an actor, right? Right.
085. Dodrio: Anthony Michael Hall
The heads are named “Anthony,” “Michael,” and “Hall.”
086. Seel: Kevin Nealon
Kevin Seel-on. We’re not beneath this joke.
087. Dewgong: Seth Meyers
Both exude a certain serenity.
088. Grimer: Pete Davidson
089. Muk: Jay Mohr
His memoir cements his place as a muk-raker, and I’m sorrier for this pun than all the other ones that came before it or follow.
090. Shellder: Alan Zweibel
Shellder is more comfortable hidden behind the camera, like Zweibel, whose greatest contribution to SNL was writing for Gilda Radner.
091. Cloyster: Yvonne Hudson
Her breakout sketch was “Bad Clams,” and Cloyster is a bad clam. This isn’t rocket science.
092. Gastly: Michael O’Donoghue
093: Haunter: Tom Davis
Dead, and bff to Gengar.
094: Gengar: Al Franken
Dead, to us.
095. Onix: Don Novello
Okay, follow me on this one: Onyx the Birthstone Kid was in KMD with MF DOOM, who referenced Father Guido Sarducci in “Space Ho’s,” off the Adult Swim tie-in album DangerDOOM. Is that anything?
096. Drowzee: Peter Aykroyd
Like the character co-created by Peter Aykroyd in Nothing But Trouble, Drowzee has a penis for a nose.
097. Hypno: Randy Quaid
Hypno would 100 percent be a conspiracy theorist.
098. Krabby: Harry Shearer
099. Kingler: Christopher Guest
Krabby stars in A Mighty Wind; Kingler directs it.
100. Voltorb: Dan Vitale
Prone to exploding.
101. Electrode: Ben Stiller
Has channeled his explosive tendencies more productively.
102. Exeggcute: Jay Pharoah
An egg of many faces.
103. Exeggutor: Bill Hader
Slightly fewer faces, but more mobility with the faces he has.
104. Cubone: Mikey Day
105. Marowak: Bobby Moynihan
106. Hitmonlee: Jim Belushi
All Belushis are fighting type.
107. Hitmonchan: John Belushi
The difference is the power of the punches.
108. Lickitung: Kate McKinnon
Thanks to the “Last Call” sketches, McKinnon has probably licked the most people in SNL history.
109. Koffing: Colin Quinn
Extreme smoker energy.
110. Weezing: Dennis Miller
Everything Dennis Miller says is a poisonous cloud.
111. Rhyhorn: Jeff Richards
Vulture comedy editor Megh Wright said Richards “occupied the weird middle ground of oily frat guys and burly dopers,” which are the rhinos of comedy stock characters.
112. Rhydon: Tony Rosato
Tony Rosato has lived a life. He endured hospitalization, and having to relearn improv. He needed a Pokémon equivalent with some strong base HP. Rhydon takes a hit and gets back up.
113. Chansey: Phil Hartman
A nurturer. Too good for this sinful earth.
114. Tangela: Tim Meadows
This one is hard to explain, but a guy did a video about how much he loved his Tangela and regretted ever trading it, and that’s how I feel about Tim Meadows.
115. Kangaskhan: Damon Wayans
Both know how to rock a bald head. And that makes Damon Wayans Jr. the baby Kangaskhan in the pouch.
116. Horsea: Nasim Pedrad
Nasim Pedrad just is a seahorse. Imagine her floating through a kelp forest, or squirting ink at an attacker. Seahorses don’t squirt ink, but Horsea does, and that’s what makes Horsea so good on Scream Queens.
117. Seadra: Casey Wilson
Seadra’s favorite Housewife is Lisa Vanderpump, and this is the one way it differs from Casey Wilson.
118. Goldeen: Maya Rudolph
The most glamorous Pokémon, with Rudolph’s half-lidded gaze.
119. Seaking: Fred Armisen
Same facial expression. Seaking used to be in a band, but he’s doing his own thing now and that’s chill.
120. Staryu: Finesse Mitchell
Who could forget Mitchell’s recurring “Update” character, Staryu-kisha?
121. Starmie: Beth Cahill
As a costume designer, Cahill deserves the Pokémon that looks most like a sequin.
122. Mr. Mime: Taran Killam
Regardez-vous “Les Jeunes des Paris,” s’il vous plaît.
123. Scyther: David Spade
Scyther can only gesture in air quotes with his forelegs. Much like Spade and his forelegs.
124. Jynx: Victoria Jackson
125. Electabuzz: Ellen Cleghorne
Was buzzy enough to get her own sitcom.
126. Magmar: Martin Short
Martin Short is a volcanic duck and I will not be taking further questions at this time.
127. Pinsir: Robin Duke
Large mandibles for a biting wit.
128. Tauros: Laurie Metcalf
Met-CALF, get it? Also she’s an unstoppable force and can literally break boulders with her skull.
129. Magikarp: Brooks Wheelan
It had to be someone.
130. Gyarados: Robert Downey Jr.
RJD was in a real Magikarp season of SNL, but somehow evolved into Iron Man? How’d that become that? Baffling.
131. Lapras: Kenan Thompson
Much like Kenan, Lapras carries people across deep and choppy waters.
132. Ditto: Darrell Hammond
Look at the effort he put into even being Colonel Sanders. He values accuracy of impersonation over everything, even the funniness of the impersonation.
133. Eevee: Gilda Radner
The Ur-cutie. Can evolve into …
134. Vaporeon: Ana Gasteyer
The cool fox.
135. Jolteon: Molly Shannon
The hyper fox.
136. Flareon: Cheri Oteri
Or the fiery fox. Firefox, if you will.
137. Porygon: Gilbert Gottfried
138. Omanyte: Emily Prager
You don’t see much of Omanyte, under that shell. Similarly, Prager never appeared on SNL when she was officially cast, instead having bit parts before and after the WGA strike of ’81.
139. Omastar: Fred Wolf
Most of the shelled Pokémon roles are for people whose greatest impact on the show was writing rather than performing. Fred Wolf is one such dude, who wrote or helped write Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Dirty Work, Joe Dirt, and Grown Ups 1 and 2.
140. Kabuto: Tom Schiller
Ancient king of pretapes.
141. Kabutops: Jim Downey
Possessing the second-longest writing tenure after Lorne Michaels, Jim Downey is best represented by the Pokémon that was the first life-form to make the transition from water to land in Poké history.
142. Aerodactyl: Bill Murray
A legendary fossil. Aerodactyl sightings are a big part of the first Pokémon anime, much as Billy Murray sightings are a big part of New York.
143. Snorlax: Horatio Sanz
A dormant powerhouse. Sanz doesn’t get up as much as some of his SNL cohort, but when he does it’s extremely impactful.