Crystal played "Jodie Dallas" on the popular 1977 television sitcom, Soap.
In 1984, Crystal joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live television show where his most famous recurring sketch role was his parody of Fernando Lamas, a smarmy talkshow host whose catchphrase, "You look mahvelous!" became a media sensation, He also appeared briefly in Rob Reiner's film, This Is Spinal Tap with Dana Carvey.
In 1986, Crystal started hosting Comic Relief on HBO with Robin Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg. Comic Relief, which was founded in 1986 by Andy Kaufman sidekick, Bob Zmuda, raises money for homeless men, women and children in the United States.
In 1990, Crystal became one of the most popular hosts for The Academy Awards. He would go on to host the event in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2000.