You probably first became aware of Stephen Colbert on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. But before that, he was a cast member on 1996's The Dana Carvey Show. And in 1995, he was in the cast of the short-lived Comedy Central sketch show Exit 57.
Like Colbert, Steve Carrell also earned his first wide exposure on The Daily Show. And also like Colbert, Carrell was a cast member ofThe Dana Carvey Show. That series also marked the first appearance of SNL's "The Ambiguously Gay Duo," where Colbert and Carrell provide the voices of Ace and Gary.
In 1992, Fox aired the sketch show The Edge. It was centered around MTV star Julie Brown, but the cast also featured a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston. The cast also included Wayne Knight (Newman on Seinfeld), plus Jill Tally and Tom Kenney, who would also both be on the HBO's sketch classic Mr. Show (and Kenney would also become the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants).
In 1992, Jon Stewart hosted the MTV sketch show You Wrote It, You Watch It. On the show, viewers would send in their own real-life stories, and those scenes would be re-enacted by actors. Stewart followed that up with a short-lived syndicated talk show before landing on The Daily Show.
From 1980-1982, ABC aired the late night sketch show Fridays, basically their answer to Saturday Night Live. The cast of the show in included Michael Richards, years before he would reach stardom on Seinfeld. And that wasn't Friday's only Seinfeld connection...
Also in the cast of Fridays was Seinfeld co-creator Larry David. However, many people likely never saw him on camera until he starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2015-2016, David returned to his sketch roots by playing Bernie Sanders in multiple episodes of SNL.
In 1996, Roseanne Barr produced a late night sketch show for Fox, called Saturday Night Special. It replaced Mad TV for six weeks, then was cancelled. But the cast featured Kathy Griffin, before she became known for her stand-up, TV appearances, and a controversy involving a certain president.
In 1992-1993, Fox aired The Ben Stiller Show. Stiller had previously had a very short run as a featured player on SNL before eventually getting own show that was cancelled after one season. But it did enjoy a cult following, and launched other careers as well.
Also in the cast of The Ben Stiller Show was Bob Odenkirk (seen here on the show as Charles Manson). Odenkirk had previously been an SNL writer, then went on to co-create Mr. Show on HBO. He later parlayed a recurring role on Breaking Bad into his own successful spinoff, Better Call Saul.
Yes, there's still even more cast from The Ben Stiller Show who would reach greater heights elsewhere. Also starring on the show was Janeane Garofalo, who would later join briefly join SNL. She starred in movies like The Truth About Cats And Dogs, as well as becoming a highly-respected comedian and activist.
The last Ben Stiller Show cast member to mention is Andy Dick, who would become better known for his work on Newsradio, various movie roles, and various troubles with the law. Besides launching the careers of cast members, The Ben Stiller Show was co-created by Judd Apatow, and had a writing staff that included David Cross.
After the end of Mary Tyler Moore's beloved eponymous sitcom came to an end, she tried her hand at sketch with the variety seriesMary in 1978. The show didn't make it to a second season, but the cast featured Michael Keaton years before Beetlejuice, Batman and Birdman.
Michael Keaton wasn't the only Mary alum to enjoy massive success. The cast also featured David Letterman, years before his weird comedic stylings would find a cult (and, eventually, mainstream) audience on Late Night With David Letterman on NBC.
The original Laugh-In was a massively popular sketch-variety series from 1967-1973. Four years later, a revival was attempted with a new Laugh-In in 1977. The new version was not a success, but it did feature Robin Williams, a year before he starred on Mork & Mindy.