Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna And Baba Wawa Will Never Be Forgotten

By Rebeka Knott
Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Jane Curtin as herself (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Hilarious Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame lived a life that was prematurely shortened by ovarian cancer. That's the bummer of it. But though she left us at age 42, her contributions to comedy continue to loom large. As Roseanna Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner, Gilda Radner showed us a comedic talent that could sculpt vivid and laugh-inducing characters out of thin air.

The cast of the first season of Saturday Night Live included Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Chevy Chase, three actors considered cornerstones of the SNL pantheon. That's fine, and true, but guess who was the first cast member selected for the show. It was Gilda Radner, whose natural comedic shops blew show creator Lorne Michaels away.

On Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner hit the ground running and was all for pushing the limits of television boundaries at the time. She was one of three funny and talented women on the regular cast (the others were Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman). Her lighthearted personality endeared her to audiences.

Some of the more memorable characters she portrayed were Roseanne Roseannadanna, Lisa Loopner, Baba Wawa and Emily Litella. Her characters usually parodied real-life people and/or their occupations. If you remember Baba Wawa, you know that this character, in particular, was Radner’s take on Barbara Walters, complete with a speech impediment.