Photo credit: Glamour

Glamour SNL SpreadThis story was originally published on Glamour.com. To read the original, visit http://glmr.me/1CtrAL4.

When the first episode of Saturday Night Live aired on October 11, 1975, the show’s three female cast members—Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, and the late Gilda Radner—played, perhaps expectedly, nurses and housewives. Not expected? How weird, bold, and fearless they were. They showed women as smart, funny, complicated, and real. Over the decades SNL’s woman power grew, and so did the instant-classic female characters born on Lorne Michaels’ stage. There was Molly Shannon’s self-confidence champion Mary Katherine Gallagher, Rachel Dratch’s Debbie Downer, and, of course, Tina Fey’s epic Sarah Palin. To celebrate 40 years of SNL, Glamour got 17 extraordinary female alumnae together to talk about everything that happens before and after the lights go on at Studio 8H.

The women of SNL appear in Glamour’s March issue, on newsstands nationwide on February 10 and available now digitally at glamour.com/app.

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