Behind the Scenes Scandals of Saturday Night Live

Sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has been around for over four decades and is still going strong. It has brought the world comedy superstars like Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey and Kristin Wiig. During its long run, the show has filled our living rooms with incredible characters, hilarious moments and dealt with some unbelievable scandals. Read on to discover all the amazing things you never knew about SNL.

Eddie Murphy Returns to SNL After 35 Years With an Epic Performance

On December 21st, 2019, Eddie Murphy came back to host and perform on Saturday Night Live after 35 years. And it was epic. Apart from bringing back some of his most beloved SNL characters from way back, like Gumby, Buckwheat and Mister Robinson, Murphy shared the stage with comedy legends like Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Dave Chappelle. In a one-of-a-kind SNL episode, in which Lizzo was the hit musical guest, Murphy joked about leaving the show 30 years ago, having a 10th child, and even made a crack at Bill Cosby. And he even had a slip and swore on national TV!

Getty Images Photo by Michael Kovac
Getty Images Photo by Michael Kovac

“If you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring-stay at-home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I wouldn’t have taken that bet. Who is America’s dad now?!” Murphy said in a spot-on impression of Cosby. Many die-hard SNL fans know that Eddie Murphy joined the show’s cast back in the 1980s, and would remain one of SNL’s most popular characters until 1984. But a bad joke from David Spade about Murphy’s failing career kept him away from the show for nearly four decades.

Alec Baldwin Is the Host with the Most… Appearances

Holding the record for the most times hosting in the show’s history, Alec Baldwin has been SNL’s host a whopping 17 times. He has done such a great job that the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, has made him an honorary cast member and given him an open invitation to come in and host whenever the schedule allows it.

 

Michaels has also issued this invitation to the eccentric and hysterically funny actor, Christopher Walken. Baldwin has made waves in the past couple of years with his recurring role on the show as President Donald Trump.

Steven Seagal Was Banned from the Show for Being the Worst

The creator of ‘SNL’, Lorne Michaels, has famously stated that Steven Seagal was the “worst host ever.” He was generally rude and unprofessional, and was disliked by the cast, crew, writers and even the audience.

 

He has been added to the ‘SNL’ blacklist and will not appear on the show ever again. Other blacklisted hosts include Martin Lawrence and Adrien Brody.

Some Celebs Weren’t Cast, and Went to Bigger and Better Things

Some actors, who are big stars today, did not get cast on ‘Saturday Night Live’, including Jim Carrey, Steve Carrel, John Goodman and Kevin Hart. We can all agree that these comic actors went on to have amazing careers without SNL. The most memorable story, however, was when Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow both auditioned for the show and were not cast.

Getty Images Photo by Jeff Kravitz

Luckily, not long after, the two were cast in the biggest sitcom in the history of the world, ‘Friends’. They went on to both fortune and fame from the show, and since, Kudrow has famously said, “Thank God I didn’t get Saturday Night Live!”

The Show Only Exists Because Of Johnny Carson

Legendary ‘Tonight Show’ host, Johnny Carson, asked NBC in 1974 to stop airing reruns of his program on the weekend, because he wanted to save them for some extra time off during the week. The network then turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to develop something new for the suddenly empty Saturday night slot.

Getty Images Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

He came up with ‘Saturday Night Live’, and the rest is history. Michaels pitched the show to cast member Laraine Newman as ‘Monty Python’ meets ’60 Minutes’.

It Wasn’t Always Called Saturday Night Live

When the show premiered in 1975 on NBC, it was simply called ‘Saturday Night’. This was because rival network ABC was airing a show at the time called, “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.” When that show went off the air, NBC swiftly paid for the rights, and in 1977, the name of the show was officially changed.

Getty Images Photo by Ron Galella

If you’ve ever wondered, Chevy Chase had the honor of being the first to say the famous line, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

Successful Movies Have Come Out of It

Some of the sketches on SNL have been so successful, that hit movies have been based on them. The most famous examples include ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘Night at the Roxbury’, and ‘The Coneheads’. Those films entertained audiences and made a lot of money during the 80s and 90s.

 

The film that broke the box office, however, was stoner comedy ‘Wayne’s World’, invented by SNL comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. The biggest SNL movie flop was ‘It’s Pat’, which received a rare zero on Rotten Tomatoes.

SNL Was Almost Cancelled… Twice

Following the end of the show’s tenth season, NBC made the decision to cancel ‘Saturday Night Live’, and would only consider leaving it on the air if Lorne Michaels agreed to return. Luckily, he did, and the show was safe for another ten years.

 

When season 20 rolled around, many cast members left the show for various reasons, including Mike Meyers, Janeane Garafalo, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Morwenna Banks, Ellen Cleghorne, Chris Elliott, Laura Kightlinger, Michael McKean, Jay Mohr and Kevin Nealon. NBC again considered pulling the plug, but the show kept going with new cast members filling the hole.

The Writers Can Be Incredibly Lazy

Following her departure from the show, Tina Fey went on to write the bestselling book ‘Bossypants’, which in addition to other things, documents her time on SNL. In the book, Fey reveals that some of the writers were so lazy and gross, that they wouldn’t get up and use the bathroom, they kept jars of urine in their offices instead.

 

When you read some of her descriptions, you can quickly see where her inspiration for the wacky writers in ’30 Rock’ came from.

Betty White Was the Oldest Host Ever

Lorne Michaels wanted Betty White to host the show on numerous occasions, but her schedule was always too busy. She finally got her shot in 2010, at the impressive age of 88 years old, thanks to an extensive Facebook campaign in which people called for her to host.

 

There was some concern that White would have a hard time coping with the fast-paced demands of the show, but she proved she was just as tough as the women she played, and nailed it. She was a hit with viewers and other cast members.

SNL Takes on Wonder Woman’s Sexuality

There was a lot of anticipation for Wonder Woman Gal Gadot’s appearance as host of ‘SNL’. She had just starred in the biggest blockbuster of the summer and her film was the highest grossing female-led superhero movie of all time. The expectations were high, but so was the payoff.

 

Gadot shared an epic make-out session with openly gay cast member, Kate McKinnon, as part of a skit which wasn’t afraid to ask questions about Wonder Woman’s sexuality. The kiss made headlines all over the world, and is just another incredible moment that will go down in the history books of ‘Saturday Night Live’.

A Surprise Hit

‘Wayne’s World’ was almost finished before it began. When Mike Myers was getting his start on SNL, he brought the idea of Wayne’s character to some of the show’s writers, including Conan O’Brien. The writers didn’t think much of the character and told Myers he could do better, but he decided to write the sketch anyway.

 

O’Brien remembers thinking, “This poor kid is going to have to learn the hard way.” The sketch was allowed to air but scheduled in the unpopular final slot. That did not stop it from becoming a fan favorite and a huge hit.

Chris Rock Was Fired for Checking Out the Competition

Famous comedian Chris Rock joined the cast in 1990 and was on the show for three years. He was then let go because he had expressed an interest in another sketch comedy show, “In Living Color.” When Rock was on the show again in 2019, he made light of his firing in a song with Adam Sandler.

Getty Images Photo by Jeff Kravitz

He Sang, “I was fired by NBC, I went on ‘In Living Color,’ three weeks later they took it off TV.” At least Rock could commiserate with Sandler, who was also let go from the show.

Drew Barrymore Was the Youngest Host Ever

At just seven years old, Drew Barrymore was already a big Hollywood star, after achieving fame in the movies ‘E.T.’ and ‘Firestarter’. Her celebrity status led her to become the youngest host in ‘SNL’ history. Her performance on the show made it one of the most watched episodes ever, and therefore it is no surprise that she has gone back to host five more times over the years.

Getty Images Photo by Al Levine/NBC

The actress has also made cameos on several episodes and been impersonated by cast members Kristen Wiig, Rachel Dratch, and fellow actresses Kate Hudson and Katie Holmes.

Damon Wayans Was Fired for Taking Creative License

Crew member Damon Wayans was on the show for only one season. He quickly grew bored with the parts that were offered to him and decided to liven up a sketch by making the police officer he was playing flamboyantly gay. The problem is, he did not ask the producers beforehand.

Getty Images Photo by Bobby Bank

His little stunt got him fired and Wayans told The Weekender, “I knew I was going to get fired for it. Lorne did the right thing.” Seems like the bridges weren’t completely burned, however, because he was asked back to the show two months later to perform some stand-up.

Lorne Michaels Quit the Show and Returned Five Years Later

After five seasons, in 1980, ‘Saturday Night Live’ creator and producer, Lorne Michaels, left the show and did not return until 1985. According to Michaels, he would not even watch the show during that time.

Getty Images Photo by Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan

He told James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales in their book, ‘Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live’: “It was very hard for me, in retrospect, to be relieved of the show was an emotional withdrawal that took me, truly, years to get a perspective on.”

Chris Kattan Left the Show Due to Injury

Chris Kattan was on ‘Saturday Night Live’ for seven years. He left the show in 2003 and kind of dropped off the map. When he appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2017, he revealed that his upper-body stiffness was due to an injury he sustained while on the show.

 

Apparently, he broke his neck while doing a stunt in a sketch about the ‘Golden Girls’. The incident left him unable to do physical comedy and he has since undergone four surgeries.

George Carlin Was the First Host

Saturday Night Live’s first episode in 1975 was hosted by comedian George Carlin. He was stand-up comedy’s biggest star at the time, and brought his very particular brand of satire to the show. Carlin did not take part in any of the skits, but did stand-up segments between them.

Getty Images Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

The skits included one in which Jim Belushi goes to a tutor to learn English, but everything he learns is about wolverines, and another in which an insurance company offers a grieving family a new dad to replace the old one. The musical guests for the first episode were Billy Preston and Janis Ian.

SNL Saw into the Future

In 1975, George Carlin did a sketch which made fun of both advertisers and consumers, it was a commercial for a three-blade razor. They named it the Triple Trac Razor Blade, and the audience got a real hoot out of it, considering that in the 70’s, people felt that the two-bladed razor was excessive. The skit ended with the announcer saying, “The Triple-Trac. Because you’ll believe anything.”

 

Apparently, we do, because in the 1990s Gillette launched the Mach 3, and it was a big hit. We wonder if Carlin or the show got a percentage of the profits.

Ad Prices Are Higher Than Ever

Since Trump has taken office, Saturday Night Live’s popularity has been on the rise. More people watching means those commercial slots are now worth a whole lot more. If a 30-second slot just a couple of years ago cost roughly $90,000, it can now cost between $100,000 and up to a whopping $300,000!

 

In order to keep viewers from skipping commercials and just watching clips online, ‘SNL’ has been collaborating with major players like Verizon and Apple to create custom ads that intend to keep us glued to our seats.

Larry David Quit but Returned the Following Day

In the 1980’s, Larry David wrote for SNL, but he hated working there and was always fighting to get his sketches on the air. One Saturday, five minutes before the show went live, David went to Dick Ebersol, who was a producer at the time, and announced, “I’ve had it. I quit.”

 

David soon realized his mistake and the money he would be losing, and decided to simply show up for work on Monday as if the incident had never occurred. It worked, and he continued writing on the show for the rest of the season. Later, when he was working on ‘Seinfeld’, he used the event as the basis for an episode.

SNL Has Had Many Untimely Deaths

Eight ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast members have suffered untimely deaths: Chris Farley and John Belushi both overdosed on drugs.

 

Gilda Radner, Danitra Vance and Tom Davis died of cancer. Michael O’Donoghue suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, Phil Hartman was killed by his wife, and Charles Rocket committed suicide with a box cutter.

Fear’s Performance Nearly Caused A Riot

John Belushi was very taken with punk band Fear and lobbied for them to be the ‘Saturday Night Live’ musical guest on the 1981 Halloween episode. The band’s performance included a group of slam-dancers, which the director was against, until Belushi agreed to be one of them.

Getty Images Photo by George Rose

The band’s lead singer, Lee Ving, was booed by the crowd for saying, “It’s great to be in New Jersey”, and the slam-dancers left $20,000 worth of damage to the set in what is described as practically a stage riot. Unsurprisingly, Fear have not since been invited back to the show.

Donald Trump Controversial Appearance

President of the United States, Donald Trump, appeared on the show for the second time during the 2016 presidential campaign. NBC was approached by Latino advocacy groups who asked them to cancel his appearance because of the remarks he had made about Mexican immigration. Protesters stood outside Trump Tower and 30 Rockefeller Plaza for days before the show with “Dump Trump” signs.

Getty Images Photo by Andrew Renneisen

DeportRacism.com even offered $5,000 in cash to any audience member that would heckle Trump and call him a racist during his monologue. The protests were unsuccessful, and Trump did the show, which received extremely high ratings but was slammed by critics.

Eddie Murphy’s Comedy about Racism Came from Painful Experience

When Eddie Murphy joined the show at 19 years old, he brought in a new perspective and a lot of emotional material about racism in America. His sketches “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” and “White Like Me,” gave the audience an honest, yet funny glimpse into the injustices of white privilege.

 

His comedic voice soon made Murphy a star, but he still couldn’t hail a cab at the end of the show. His white cast members had to do it for him, because at the time, taxis refused to stop for a young black man at night.

Tina Fey, Famous for Playing Sarah Palin, Would Not Stand Next to Her

Comedian and former cast member, Tina Fey, has shared the SNL term “Sneaker Uppers” with the world. According to her, it refers to “when a famous person sneaks up behind the actor who plays them and pretends to be mad about it or be in on the joke”. During the 2008 election, Fey, who had already left the show and was staring in ’30 Rock’, was brought back in to play Palin, and dreaded the “sneaker upper” she knew was coming.

 

She made it clear to Lorne Michaels that she refused to share the screen with Palin because she did not want to be seen as endorsing her. Palin ended up being filmed in the backstage with Michaels, but the episode was still one of the highest-rated in the show’s history.

Everyone Wanted to Play Barack Obama

After Barack Obama was elected president, auditions were held for an actor to play him on the show. Several actors who have since become big stars tried out, namely Donald Glover, Wyatt Cenac, and Jordan Peele. In the end, the role went to Fred Armisen, and when he left the show, the role was picked up by Jay Pharoah.

 

Donald Glover has since found fame in music and acting, and won a Golden Globe for his work on the TV series, ‘Atlanta’. Jordan Peele has become an award-winning screen writer and director.

Rage Against the Machine Hung Upside Down Flags

In April of 1996, Rage Against the Machine were the musical guests on the show. On the same night, ‘SNL’ was hosted by billionaire and presidential candidate, Bill Forbes. The band wanted to protest against Forbes’ politics and decided to hang two upside-down American flags on their amplifiers.

Getty Images Photo by Tim Mosenfelder

The flags were removed right before the band went on and were not seen by the viewers at home. Rage Against the Machine were then asked to leave, which allegedly prompted bassist Tim Commerford to storm into Forbes’ dressing room while throwing pieces of a torn flag. They were never invited back.

Jenny Slate Dropped the F-Bomb

You may not even remember that Jenny Slate used to be on ‘SNL’, because even during her time on the show she did not appear in many episodes. That is because she dropped the F-bomb on her very first sketch. It was called “Biker Chick Chat” and it was written by Slate, and while performing it, the word just slipped out.

Getty Images Photo by Dina Rudick

You can immediately see that she knows what she’s done and regrets it. She wasn’t fired right away but remained on the show until the end of the season, and then her contract was not renewed. The worst part was that she found out that she had been fired by reading it online, according to ‘Last Night On’.

Even Popular Cast Members Were Fired

Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, who were two of SNL’s biggest stars, and were immensely popular with the fans, were suddenly let go – on the same day. Sandler has said he had no idea that they were on their way out until Farley ran into his office shouting, “We’re getting fired!”.

Getty Images Photo by SGranitz

Apparently, Sandler still doesn’t know why they were let go, but the reason probably has something to do with the low ratings the show had at the time.

John Belushi Thought Women Weren’t Funny

Comedy legend John Belushi openly admitted that he did not like working with female cast members. Jane Curtin told The Huffington Post that Belushi didn’t want to take part in any sketches that were penned by the show’s female writers.

 

Although he wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to work with the women on the show, Belushi was the worst of them and actually stated that “women are just fundamentally not funny.” Curtin also said of him that he “felt as though it was his duty to sabotage pieces written by women.”

Host Checked Out Early

On one occasion, a host accidentally walked off the stage a minute and a half before the final skit was over. Former cast member Nasim Pedrad told Radar Online the story, “…The sketch awkwardly faded to black in the middle of one of our lines, and the whole thing was a mess. My favorite part was the host sweetly came up to me during the goodbyes and was like, ‘Hey, we did it!’ And I did not have the heart to tell him that we certainly did not.”

Getty Images Photo by Lars Niki

Although Pedrad was discreet enough not to reveal the name of the host, Reddit users strongly suspect this incident took place during the sketch in which Bruce Willis appeared as a centaur.

Stolen Sketches

‘SNL’ has dealt with accusations of plagiarism more than once over the years. In 2015, comedian Ben Zweig claimed that they had “ripped off” a sketch he wrote for Comedy Hack Day about “Settl”, a dating app for “sad people.” Seems like he wasn’t that angry though, saying he would forgive them if they gave him a “handwritten apology on a napkin that Ryan Gosling has breathed on.”

 

Other writers were not so understanding. Ian Gary, who claimed that the sketch “River Sister” about Tina Turner impersonators was stolen from him in 2014, went on Facebook and wrote, “Over the years I have seen MANY, MANY sketches flat out stolen from my friends by Saturday Night Live. Nearly verbatim.”

Musical Performances Are Not Always Live

Although many of the musical performances on the show are, in fact, broadcast live, some have been lip-synched and a few have even been taped in advance. Ashlee Simpson became infamous for the lip-synching incident of 2004.

Getty Images Photo by James Devaney

The singer was starting her second performance when the track for the first song she sang was accidentally played. Simpson didn’t know what to do and walked off the stage, while the show quickly went to a commercial break.

Most and Least Favorite

In the book, ‘Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live’, we discovered who were the most respected and liked members of the cast and who were the least, except for Chevy Chase, who you already know was the worst.

Getty Images Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez, Richard Wolowicz, Ron Galella and Jim Spellman

The most beloved were Chris Rock and Bob Odenkirk, although their time on the show was short. Also highly regarded were, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner. The most disliked were Janeane Garofalo and Nora Dunn.

Salaries and Sitcoms

As you’ve probably noticed, crew members don’t typically last very long on ‘SNL’, which is not surprising, since NBC only pays them $60,000 a year. Their salaries increase over time, and Will Ferrell holds the record for being the highest-paid crew member of all times, getting $350,000 in 2001.

 

Another way to increase their salary is by getting sketches on the air, but they have to write them themselves. The NBC contract is also quite restrictive, if the network offers them a sitcom, they can refuse up to two times, but must agree to the third offer.

John Mulaney Plays Tricks on Bill Hader on Weekend Update

One of the reason Bill Hader’s character, Stefon, is so popular is because he often breaks character during the Weekend Update. This happens because his co-writer, and co-creator of the character, John Mulaney, likes to mess with him by changing the jokes at the last minute.

 

Stefon often puts his hands to his mouth, this was not originally part of the sketch, but happened because Hader was trying to hide his laughter from the jokes he was reading for the very first time. Andy Samberg, who is their friend, would stand by the camera with arms folded, shaking his head, and also try to throw Hader off his game.

Chris Parnell Was Fired Twice

Larry David has nothing on Chris Parnell, who was actually fired from the show on two separate occasions. He was fired in 2001, due to his lack of confidence, and describes the experience as “devastating.” He was invited back, however, on the next season, and was only fired for the second time in 2006.

Getty Images Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd.

In that instance, the show was making a $10 million budget cut, so they decided that Parnell and fellow cast members, Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz, had to go.

Sarah Silverman Was Fired by Fax

In 1993, Sarah Silverman became an ‘SNL’ cast member. She spent her first season on perfecting her impersonations of Joan Rivers and Cher. Sadly, only one of the sketches she wrote made it to rehearsal, but none made it to air. Unsurprisingly, at least for her, she was let go at the end of the season.

Getty Images Photo by Lars Niki

The funniest part was that she claims she received the announcement via fax. The higher ups at ‘Saturday Night Live’ have really got to work on their people skills.

Lorne Michaels Got into It with Louis CK

When Louis C.K. was at the top of his game, he was invited to host ‘Saturday Night Live’ for the second time. During his appearance, he wanted to do a 12-minute monologue on the show, although usually monologues are only 5 or 6 minutes long.

 

Lorne Michaels told him to shorten it and Louis C.K. became livid, asking Michaels what would happen if he just did the monologue the way he wanted to. Michaels responded by saying: “Then we’ll know that you’re very undisciplined and unprofessional.” The two eventually managed to come to an agreement and settled on a 7-minute monologue.

Darrell Hammond Was on SNL for 14 Seasons

Former cast member Darrell Hammond was on the show for the longest time period, from 1995 to 2009. When he left the show, Hammond was 53, and the oldest cast member in ‘SNL’ history.

 

During his incredibly long run, he impersonated an impressive 107 different celebrities, but the one he did the most and was most famous for, was Bill Clinton. Since 2014, Hammond has been back on the show, but this time as the announcer.

One Sketch Wonder

Actress Louise Lasser was allegedly the first person to be banned from the show. She was invited to host at the end of the show’s first season in 1976. She started rambling about her fear about appearing on live television in the opening monologue and then locked herself in her dressing room. The only person who managed to get her to come out was Chevy Chase, but even then, the show did not go well.

Getty Images Photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Lasser, for her part, claims she wasn’t banned, there were simply disagreements about the content. She said, “They wrote sketches for me and I didn’t want to do them, because they were salacious — you know how Saturday Night Live is.”

SNL: The Movie

In the late 1980s, someone thought it would be a good idea to make an ‘SNL’ movie. The fact that every episode is already feature-length did not stop the writers, including Conan O’Brien, Robert Smigel, Al Franken, and Greg Daniels, from creating a script titled The Saturday Night Live Movie.

Getty Images Photo by NBC Television/Archive Photos

Splitside claim the movie was intended as a full-length feature featuring sketches about going to the movies. Seems like Lorne Michaels didn’t love the idea, because he pulled the plug on the project soon after returning to the show.

Steve Martin Was the Show’s Most Invited Guest

Although he never became an actual member of the cast, Steve Martin has appeared on ‘Saturday Night Live’ many times. He leads the chart in number of times hosting, second only to Alec Baldwin, and is the only person to have hosted a season premiere, season finale, and a holiday episode.

Getty Images Photo by Yvonne Hemsey

Martin and former cast member, Gilda Radner, were extremely close, and he was scheduled to host on the day that he heard that she had passed away from ovarian cancer. He opted not to perform the opening monologue, and instead, with tears in his eyes, opened with an old sketch in which he and Radner were dancing as Fred Astaire and Cyd Charise.

The Eddie Murphy- David Spade Incident

In the early 80s, Eddie Murphy was one of SNL’s most famous names. He left the show in 1984 to pursue a film career and was a box office sensation. His success tapered off in the mid-90s and David Spade, who was on ‘SNL’ at the time, made a crack about Murphy on the show.

Getty Images Photo by Steve Granitz and Jean-Paul Aussenard

He showed his picture and said, “Look, children, it’s a falling star!” Many people found the joke to be funny, but Eddie Murphy was not one of them. Spade talks about the incident in his memoir ‘Almost Interesting’, saying Murphy called him and started yelling, saying, “David Spade, who the f*ck do you think you are?!!” and more. The two have since made up.

Andy Samberg Quit Without A Word

An immensely popular cast member, Andy Samberg, surprised fans, cast and crew when he abruptly left the show in 2012 after seven years. He wasn’t moving on to a new project and didn’t even tell his fellow cast members about the decision.

Getty Images Photo by Randall Michelson

When asked about it later he explained that the show was killing him, saying, “What it came down to was I just couldn’t physically and emotionally do it anymore.”

One Celebrity Missed Hosting Due to A Hangover

A memorable moment took place on season eight, when Eddie Murphy, who was a cast member, was forced to take on hosting duties because Nick Nolte, who was supposed to host, had partied too hard the night before and was too hungover to go on.

 

Seems like Murphy was happy about the opportunity, because at the end of his opening monologue he proudly said, “Live from New York, it’s the Eddie Murphy Show!” For obvious reasons, this did not go over well with his fellow cast and crew.

Cast Member Kenan Thompson Was Born After the Show Began

Kenan Thompson, born in 1978, was the first ‘SNL’ cast member to have been born after the show began, and he beat out his co-star Kel Mitchell in the auditions to join the cast. The two starred together in the sitcom ‘Kenon and Kel’. At 17, Anthony Michael Hall was the youngest cast member, narrowly beating Eddie Murphy, who was 19 when he joined the show.

 

At 21, Abby Elliot was the youngest female cast member and also the first child of a former cast member. Her father, Chris Elliott, was on the 1994-1995 season.

Nora Dunn Refused to Appear in An Episode Because of the Host

Crew member Nora Dunn boycotted the episode in which “The Diceman”, Andrew Dice Clay, was the host, because she felt that his stand-up was hateful to women. Lorne Michaels has since stated that Dunn told the press about her decision before telling him, which was the beginning of the end for her on ‘SNL’.

Getty Images Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd.

She has since talked about her experiences on the show, saying, “Saturday Night Live is why I have a name, but it also has its own baggage.”

Chevy Chase Was Not Well Liked

Although Chevy Chase was one of SNL’s original cast members, he has been banned from ever hosting the show again. Apparently, when Chase was in the studio, he was rude and insulting to members of both cast and crew, and offered loud and unsolicited opinions about other cast members. One time, he memorably got into a fist fight with Bill Murray before taping of the show began.

 

Good thing Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi were on set to break things up. Terry Sweeney, who is openly gay, had to deal with homophobic comments from Chase and Will Ferrell has stated that Chevy Chase was the worst host during his time on the show.

Cypress Hill is Banned for Life

Cypress Hill appeared on SNL in 1993, and as they were walking on stage, DJ Muggs lit up a joint. He told the crowd “Yo, New York City, they said I couldn’t light my joint, well, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t going out like that!”

Getty Images Photo by Paul Natkin

The rebellious act may have gone over well with the fans, but less so with the producers and NBC. They have been banned from the show for life.

Sinead O’Connor Caused Quite A Stir

Singer Sinead O’Connor was the show’s musical guest in October 1992. She shocked audiences and producers alike, when she took out a picture of Pope John-Paul II in the middle of her song and tore it to shreds. The act was meant as a political statement against the sexual abuse being perpetrated by the Catholic Church.

Getty Images Photo by Yvonne Hemsey

She was banned from the show for life and her career suffered, but these days many people feel that she was misunderstood. She has since said, “It’s not the man, obviously—it’s the office and the symbol of the organization that he represents.”