Saturday Night Live is an amazing sketch show that has started off many legendary comedians’ careers. Its also given great social commentary including hilarious parodies of politicians. Since it has been on air since the ’70s it has had a long and interesting history. So what are some thing you probably never knew about the show? Here are ten just to name a few.
1. John Mulaney tricked Bill Hader into laughing multiple times
Bill Hader’s character, Stefon was written for a sketch with Ben Affleck and Hader but it didn’t work out, according to Cinema Blend. He then used it in multiple Weekend Updates as a “City Correspondent” with John Mulaney. One of the character’s signature moves was covering his face with his hands. Sometimes this was on purpose but other times it was to hide the actor’s laughter.
John Mulaney would sometimes set up Hader to break by changing some jokes right before the live broadcast. So when Hader read the jokes for the first time he couldn’t help but laugh.
2. The Yankees is the show’s secret good luck charm
The show has been on for more than 40 seasons. That is probably due to the show always staying fresh with current events, and amazing talent. But they also believe in good luck. The balcony level audience seats are on-loan from Yankees Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees owner loaned them in 1975, but due to superstition and tradition the show has been paying annual fines to keep them, according to IMDb.
3. Only a few celebrities are in the Five-Timers Club
Hosting the show certainly isn’t easy and not for everyone. But there are a select few that did so well that they were invited multiple times back. The select few that hosted five times or more are Steve Martin with 15, Alec Baldwin with 16, John Goodman with 13, Buck Henry with 10, Chevy Chase with 9, Tom Hanks with 8, Christopher Walken with 7, Elliot Gould with 6, Danny DeVito with 6, Candice Bergen with 5, Bill Murray with 5, Drew Barrymore with 5, Justin Timberlake with 5, and Ben Affleck with 5.
4. The show’s stage is suspended in air
Studio 8H is not connected to the GE Building like one normally would be. To avoid vibrations from the subway, the stage is hanging on suspension wires from the floor above it. Arturo Toscanini, the director of NBC orchestra had it made this way to perform on radio.
5. Multiple people have quit and returned to the show
The show has proven to not always be the easiest job to walk away from. Larry David told Inside Comedy that he was so angry his sketches kept getting cut from show that he walked up to the producers and said, “That’s it! I quit!” However he changed his mind over the weekend and went back to work on Monday pretending nothing ever happened.
Don Pardo announced his retirement in 2004 and again in 2009. Each time he was convinced to return and ended up flying to New York from Arizona every week to record intros to the show until shortly before he died. Also the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels walked away from the show after the fifth season, which led to low ratings. The creator came back in 1985 and got a better cast to save the show.
6. Lorne Michaels banned these two episodes from being rerun
The show has plenty of episodes to choose from when it comes to reruns, but there are two that won’t be aired ever again. Louise Lasser hosted in the show’s first season but it didn’t pan out so well. She refused to do all of the skits, and locked herself in her dressing room until right before the monologue. Milton Berle’s episode didn’t do so hot either. He called everyone “Booby,” told racist jokes, and was an egomaniac according to IMDb.
7. The show was created to give Johnny Carson a break
The Tonight Show host wanted to be able to take more vacations so he didn’t want reruns of his show to run as frequently over the weekends. The solution to this problem was to create a show that would air on those days instead. Lorne Michaels was brought on to develop it and Carson got more vacation days.
8. Many successful celebrities auditioned but were turned down by the show
The show kicked off many celebrities’ careers, but it was also just a road bump in others. Kel Mitchell from Kenan & Kel auditioned, but his former co-star made it over him. Per Daily Mail, Lisa Kudrow, Louis C.K., Jim Carrey, Paul Reubens, Stephen Colbert, Aubrey Plaza, Kevin Hart, and more also auditioned but failed to make it as a cast member.
9. Many celebrities are banned from hosting again
Many artists and celebrities are not invited back to the show. The most infamous is probably Sinead O’Connor who tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II in 1992 while singing Bob Marley’s “War.” It was a complete surprise to everyone and she claimed she did it as a statement on the church’s child abuse.
Martin Lawrence was reportedly never invited back after going into a weird rant about women not washing themselves properly in his monologue. Adrien Brody was never invited back to host after randomly going out on stage in a dreadlocks wig and speaking in a stereotypical Jamaican accent. And those are still just some to name a few that you won’t be seeing on the show again.
10. Tina Fey is the first female head writer in the show’s history
The funny lady made it big long before she left the show. She made history by being the first female head writer. The experience gave her a lot of interesting material that she went on to create 30 Rock where she played herself and Alec Baldwin portrayed a version of Lorne Michaels. Crazy things like male writers peeing in jars in their office in the episode “Sun Tea” was actually true to real life.
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