On the outside, Saturday Night Live (SNL) is a wildly popular sketch comedy show known for its goofy characters and hilarious live performances. However, like any show, what goes on behind the scenes is a different world than what we see on T.V. As one of the longest-running shows in television history, you can bet SNL has its fair share of stories. From cast pranks to horrible hosts, there’s no shortage of juicy SNL dirt to dig into. Today, we are just looking at just 10 of them. Number 8 is going to devastate Steven Seagal fans.
10. Nobody Liked Chevy Chase
It sounds hard to believe, but Chevy Chase is not a popular guy. He often plays that loveable goof in his movies, but SNL history tells a different story. During his tenure, Chase was disliked among cast and crew alike. He even got into a fight with the great Bill Murray. Thankfully, John Belushi and Dan Akroyd were there to break it up.
9. SNL Writers Pee In Jars
According to former writer and cast member Tiny Fey, behind the scenes at SNL wasn’t always such a glorious sight. She stated the often overworked writers were so lazy, that they developed some unique habits. Among these, were special jars kept in the office for the sole purpose of holding urine. That’s right. The writers were too lazy to even use the bathroom.
8. Steven Seagal Is Banned From SNL
If one person hated Steven Seagal, that’s a different story. However, the martial arts “master” was so despised by cast, crew and audience members that executive producer Lorne Michaels had to step in. Apparently, it wasn’t pleasant for Seagal either, as he voluntarily blacklisted himself from SNL for life. This is just the beginning of SNL controversy. Stick around for number five and see a secret that will destroy your concept of television altogether.
7. SNL Cast Members Love Fooling Around
Put a bunch of comedic actors into a room and odds are you’re going to get a lot of joking around. One famous example of this came at the expense of Bill Hader. When Bill Hader went on to do a sketch, writer John Mulaney would often change up the lines so Hader was reading something fresh on the spot. This caused Hader to break character and openly laugh on screen.
6. SNL Isn’t Always Live
Sure, when you watch the sketches, those are live. However, not all performing artists are gifted with the gift of improvisation. Many musicians on SNL will perform live, however some tape their performances in advance. This proved to be a costly choice for Ashlee Simpson. In 2004, Simpson was caught lip-syncing to a previously recorded track live on the show. Her infamous “jig” off the stage certainly didn’t help with the recovery.
5. Adam Sandler And Chris Farley Were Fired From SNL
It’s hard to believe, but two of the biggest stars in comedy history were fired from SNL. Apparently, the show was suffering from low ratings at the time, which is the reason for their termination. It just goes to show that the “business” part of “show business” is a large factor to success. However, while SNL almost destroyed the careers of Sandler and Farley, it helped to cement one particular individual in eternal fame. Read on to number three and find out.
4. SNL Has Johnny Carson To Thank
While most of SNL‘s praise goes to Lorne Michaels (and for good reason) the show wouldn’t be here today without Johnny Carson. In 1974, Carson told NBC to stop airing reruns of the Tonight Show on weekends. Hence, NBC hired Michaels to create a new show for the Saturday night time slot. Thus, a legend was born.
3. SNL Saved Alec Baldwin’s Career
Alec Baldwin was never a cast member, but he is perhaps the most beloved person to ever grace the SNL stage. He’s hosted 16 times, more than anyone else in history. Lorne Michaels loves Baldwin so much that he essentially gave him the right to host SNL whenever his schedule allows. Furthermore, Baldwin’s iconic role on NBC 30 Rock is certainly related to his success on SNL. You could say Baldwin owes a “thanks” to Lorne and company for his success. The stories don’t stop here though, keep reading for a heartwarming tale on slide number one.
2. Conan O’Brien Thought Mike Myers Was Stupid
When Mike Myers asked then-writer Conan O’Brien about debuting his “Wayne” character, O’Brien wasn’t exactly supportive. Despite his opinion, Myers went on to play Wayne on SNL and create a comedic icon. The audience loved him so much that Myers created two blockbuster films starring the now famous Wayne and Garth of Wayne’s World.
1. Lorne Michaels Almost Left SNL For Good
Since the show’s start in 1974, Lorne Michaels acted as the creative and organizational genius behind it all. While he still remains a driving force today, not many know Michaels took five years off. Michaels describes that time from 1980-1985 as an “emotional withdrawal.” Thankfully, he came back to save the show from low ratings and cancellation making it one of the most successful television programs in history.
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