40+ Secrets We Never Knew About Saturday Night Live

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Late-night live sketch show Saturday Night Live has been on the air for over 45 years! Created by Lorne Michaels, the series includes sketches, celebrity hosts, and musical guests. Since SNL first started, it’s had a big group of cast members, some of whom go on to become massive stars. Join us as we take a look behind the scenes and find out secrets about the show, its stars, and what really goes on “Live from New York!”

SNL Gave Carson a Break

Award-winning TV host Johnny Carson was something of an American icon in the 1970s. The World War II vet had a conversational approach with guests, and millions tuned in to watch his show.

SNL Gave Carson a Break

Between 1965 and 1975, NBC ran reruns of some of Carson’s greatest interviews on the weekend. The star asked to have the shows pulled and used during the week instead so he could take some time off. And thus, Dick Ebersol started developing something to air on Saturday nights.

Candice Bergen Was the First Female Host

When SNL aired for the first time, it was hosted by comedian George Carlin and named NBC’s Saturday Night. Actress Candice Bergen became the show’s first female host, and also the first host to return.

Candice Bergen Was the First Female Host

Other female hosts include actress Drew Barrymore who was also the youngest person to ever host, at just 6 years old. The star has hosted the comedy show six times, making her the female host with the most shows under her belt.

There Have Been Tragic Losses

Sadly, it’s often the case that comedians have a dark side underneath their comic persona. For this reason, and others, there have been many tragic losses amongst the SNL family. Both John Belushi and Chris Farley died of addiction, while Gilda Radner (pictured), Danitra Vance, and Tom Davis all passed away from cancer.

There Have Been Tragic Losses

Cast member Charles Rocket died by suicide, and Michael O’Donoghue of a brain hemorrhage at 54. He was the show’s first head writer, and the first person to utter a line on the show.

Victoria Jackson Gave Out Bibles

Actress, comedian, and singer Victoria Jackson was part of the SNL cast between 1986-1992. Unusually for comedy, Jackson is a right-wing conservative Christian, and so she felt she had to reach out to her fellow stars. Jackson left Bible audio cassettes in her cast member’s mail slots.

Victoria Jackson Gave Out Bibles

She commented, “Maybe I’m overcompensating, because everybody here is dying and going to hell, and I’m supposed to tell them about Jesus.” The move did not go down well with the other cast members.

Larry David Quit and Un-Quit

Comedian, actor, and writer Larry David is one of the big names that’s come from Saturday Night Live. In fact, his time on the show inspired Seinfeld, considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Larry David Quit and Un-Quit

At one stage, while writing for SNL, Larry David angrily approached the producers saying, “That’s it! I quit!” However, he changed his mind over the weekend and arrived at work on Monday as if nothing had happened. This situation influenced the Seinfeld episode “The Revenge,” which was the first David wrote by himself.

Martin Lawrence Is Banned

Several stars have been banned from ever hosting or appearing on SNL again. One of those is comedian, actor, and writer Martin Lawrence. The star came to fame in the ‘90s and hosted the sketch show in 1994.

Martin Lawrence Is Banned

Unfortunately, Martin Lawrence’s monologue was all about women’s hygiene, or supposed lack of. The comedian’s rant resulted in over 200 complaints and issues with the show’s sponsors. Since then, the show has released clips of Lawrence’s performance, with the offending material removed.

Chris Farley Went to Rehab

It’s pretty well known that’s actor and comedian Chris Farley sadly passed away from addiction issues at 33. Not everyone knows that the star checked himself into rehab 17 times to try and get clean. The last time was for one night during the week that he passed away.

Chris Farley Went to Rehab

Chris Farley hosted SNL for the last time in 1997 but the cast and crew were so troubled by his performance that it was pulled from circulation, syndication, and streaming.

Tina Fey Was First Female Head Writer

It’s no surprise that SNL is a bit of a boy’s club, but actress, comedian, and writer Tina Fey landed the head writer job in 1999. While heading the writer’s room and starring on the show, Fey won the show a Writers Guild of America Award and an Emmy in 2002.

Tina Fey Was First Female Head Writer

In rankings of the most important cast members on Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey is often in the top three. She steered the show through the 90s and made Weekend Update her own.

The Yankees Are SNL’s Mascot

There’s nothing like a little bit of superstition in showbusiness. In the case of SNL, the sketch show has seats at Yankee Stadium that they’ve had since 1975. Back then, the Yankees owner offered the four seats behind home plate to SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels.

The Yankees Are SNL’s Mascot

Since then, the comedy show has paid the annual fees to keep the seats. Yankees fans can often see Michaels, various celebrities and cast members watching the match from this coveted view.

Phil Hartman was Murdered

We’ve already covered some of the tragic losses experienced by the SNL family. However, the death of Phil Hartman deserves its own section. The Canadian-American actor, comedian, and screenwriter joined the show in 1986, and is known as “Glue” for his ability to hold the team together.

Phil Hartman was Murdered

Later, Hartman became the voice of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure on The Simpsons. Tragically, the star was murdered by his wife, former model Brynn Omdahl, while he was in bed. He was just 49 years old at the time.

NBC is In Charge

Here’s an interesting titbit. At one stage, studio NBC got concerned because some stars from SNL were going on to make millions on other projects. People like Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy left the show and then starred in movies that brought audiences in droves.

NBC is In Charge

As a result, they changed their star’s contracts. Now, if NBC offers you a sitcom, you can reject two offers, but must take the third. This attracted criticism because it means that NBC can “own” a star for years at a time.

The First Season Had Muppets

Incredibly, the first-ever season of SNL had Jim Henson’s Muppets in every episode! Both Lorne Michaels and Jim Henson had the same manager and it was decided that darker versions of the puppets would appear on the comedy show. However, the Muppets performers and SNL crew did not get along.

The First Season Had Muppets

The cast felt the Muppets took up their airtime, while the older Muppet performers didn’t value the SNL sketches. Eventually, they pulled the plug, and the darker Muppets went on to star in The Dark Crystal.

Many Don’t Make It

We all know the performers that ended up on the Saturday Night Live cast, but what about the ones that didn’t? While Kenan Thompson is now the longest-tenured cast member in the show’s history, his Nickelodeon partner Kel Mitchell auditioned for the show and didn’t make it.

Many Don’t Make It

Other celebrities that failed to make the cut were Lisa Kudrow, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Colbert, Kevin Hart, and Jim Carrey. Obviously, we don’t know what it takes to be cast, but surely Jim Carrey would have been a good fit?

There’s a Five-Timers Club

Hosting Saturday Night Live is no easy job—you want to be funny, confident, and not accidentally mess up your monologue on live television. Some stars have proven more suited to this task than others. Anyone that’s hosted the show five times or more is part of the Five-Timers Club.

There’s a Five-Timers Club

Members of the Five-Timers club include Steve Martin, John Goodman, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito, Drew Barrymore, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, and Bill Murray.

Chevy Chase Was Homophobic

Chevy Chase—real name Cornelius Crane Chase—was a first-season cast member of Saturday Night Live. As a writer and performer, the actor took home three Emmys for his work on the show. However, Chevy Chase also had some seriously problematic views that he shared on air.

Chevy Chase Was Homophobic

In an episode during the HIV epidemic, Chevy Chase made a homophobic joke about gay cast member Terry Sweeney. Lorne Michaels made Chase apologize immediately, which the comedian wasn’t pleased about.

The Cast Write Their Own Material

Unlike some other shows, the cast of Saturday Night Live are expected to write their own material. This has been an issue for some cast members who end up frustrated that their sketches don’t make it to air. This was actually the reason that Larry David temporarily quit.

The Cast Write Their Own Material

Cast member Rachel Dratch has said, “I don’t think people realize how much you have to write for yourself. If you can’t figure it out, then you’re handed your walking papers.”

Norm McDonald Fought an Intern

Canadian comedian, actor and write Norm McDonald was a cast member of SNL for five years, between 1993-1999. At one stage, the star was playing soccer in the hall with comedian and writer Wyatt Cenac, who was then an intern for the show. When Cenac accidentally kicked McDonald, he went wild.

Norm McDonald Fought an Intern

Wayne Cenac later told Stephen Colbert, “He grabbed me, tried to throw me across the room, which is not how soccer is played. And I pushed him off me.”

John Mulaney Made Bill Break

Comedian, writer, and actor Bill Hader made his name on SNL before going on to star in huge movies and write his own series. While on the live comedy show, between 2005-2013, Hader performed Stefan, a city correspondent for Weekend Update.

John Mulaney Made Bill Break

Stefan is known for putting his hands over his face, but this isn’t just a character note. John Mulaney, who was with the show for a decade, purposely changed some jokes before broadcast to try and make Bill Hader laugh.

Jay Mohr Plagiarized a Routine

SNL is a tough gig, with lots of pressure and attention. This proved to be too much for American comedian, actor, and radio host Jay Mohr. The star was on the show between 1993-1995 and suffered chronic panic attacks. In fact, he claims that co-star Sarah Silverman helped save his life by helping him get treatment.

Jay Mohr Plagiarized a Routine

While on the show, Jay Mohr plagiarised a stand-up routine by Rick Shapiro. When the higher ups found out, they fired him.

John Belushi Was a Misogynist

Listen, many people love and adore John Belushi. The comedian, actor and musician was one of SNL’s original seven cast members, and went on to become a Hollywood star. However, it’s undeniable that John Belushi was a misogynist.

John Belushi Was a Misogynist

The star wouldn’t participate in any sketches that were written by women as he didn’t think they were funny. Cast member Jane Curtin said, “He felt as though it was his duty to sabotage pieces written by women.” Disappointing, to say the least.

The Stage is Suspended

Saturday Night Live is filmed in Studio 8H on floors 8 and 9 of the Comcast Building, known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Of course, Tina Fey’s SNL inspired comedy 30 Rock is named after this location.

The Stage is Suspended

Interestingly, the studio was previously used by Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini and the NBC symphony Orchestra as a radio soundstage. To avoid vibrations from the nearby subway, Toscanini requested had requested that the entire stage hangs on suspension wires from the floor above.

Jon Hamm Encouraged Amy Poehler

Back in 2008, actor Jon Hamm was hosting his first ever Saturday Night Live. In the show, the actor would perform a sketch with Amy Poehler based on his hit show, Mad Men. While they were rehearsing, a heavily pregnant Poehler found out that her OB-GYN had passed away.

Jon Hamm Encouraged Amy Poehler

When Amy Poehler burst into hysterical tears, a panicked John Hamm said, “I know this is very sad, but this is a really important show for me, so I’m going to need you to get your sh*t together.”

Chevy Was Banned for Life

Chevy Chase first exited SNL during the start of season 2, he was replaced by Bill Murray. When Chase returned years later as the first cast member to host the show, he was rude and nasty to everyone.

Chevy Was Banned for Life

Chevy Chase refused to work with cast member Jane Curtin, but was still asked to return. When he hosted in 1997, he slapped Cheri Oteri on the back of the head, harassed a female writer, and screamed at everyone else. Now, he’s banned from hosting.

Sarah Silverman Stabbed Al Franken

Comedian Sarah Silverman was an SNL cast member in the 1993-1994 season. The controversial star has since shared a story of how the time she stabbed Al Franken’s hair.

Sarah Silverman Stabbed Al Franken

She said, “I was just kind of like a million miles away looking at his hair. The whole table has really sharpened pencils, like super sharp… and in my mind, I just thought, I’m gonna like stab this through his hair. But what everyone saw, because this is what happened, was that I just stabbed him really hard.”

Norm McDonald Didn’t Like Chris Kattan

Norm McDonald doesn’t seem like a very easy going guy, considering he started fighting intern Wayne Cenac over a hallway soccer match. The comedian also made offensive comments about cast-mate Chris Kattan, saying “I don’t know, but to me he seems gay… He claims he’s not, but I’ve never seen, like, a guy who’s not gay seem so gay. I don’t find him funny. What can I say? Never made me laugh.”

Norm McDonald Didn’t Like Chris Kattan

The pair often clashed during rehearsals, and Kattan wasn’t present when McDonald returned to host.

Andy Sandberg Got Overwhelmed

When he was on Saturday Night Live, Andy Samberg was adored. The Lonely Island member was on the show from 2005-2012 and popularized SNL digital shorts. Samberg wrote and performed several parody songs with his band members and Justin Timberlake, and won an Emmy for his efforts.

Andy Sandberg Got Overwhelmed

However, the star disappeared from the show in 2012 and didn’t tell his cast mates. He later explained, “What it came down to was I just couldn’t physically and emotionally do it anymore.”

Tina Fey Wouldn’t Film with Sarah Palin

When Tina Fey stepped into the shoes of Sarah Palin, the whole world paid attention. However, Tina Fey wasn’t a fan of “sneaker uppers,’ which is when the person you’re impersonating sneaks up and joins a performer on stage. Fey didn’t want Palin anywhere near her, and refused to do a two shot.

Tina Fey Wouldn’t Film with Sarah Palin

To get around this, Sarah Palin stood backstage with Lorne Michaels watching Fey’s impression on a monitor. Alec Baldwin ended up interacting with the polarizing figure instead.

Sinéad O’Connor Is Banned

Irish artist Sinéad O’Connor’s appearance on SNL is probably one of the show’s most famous incidents. While she did her live musical performance—a rendition of Bob Marley’s “War”—O’Connor ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II in a protest against child abuse in the church.

Sinéad O’Connor Is Banned

The host that evening was devout Catholic Tim Robbins, who refused to acknowledge O’Connor. Likewise, later Catholic guests Madonna and Joe Pesci opposed the star’s actions. It would be nine years until the church formally apologized for abuse.

Darrell Hammond Struggled Backstage

Actor, comedian and impressionist Darrell Hammond was with SNL from 1995-2009. That’s an impressive tenure! Then, in 2014 he took over the announcer role from Don Pardo. Despite being a hit on the show, Darrell Hammond has always suffered from self-harm.

Darrell Hammond Struggled Backstage

In his memoir, Hammond revealed that he often self-harmed backstage on SNL, and was once taken straight to a psychiatric ward. This behavior came from Hammond’s abusive childhood, where his mom hit, stabbed, and tortured him. He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD.

Lorne Michaels Banned Two Episodes

There are two episodes of Saturday Night Live that Lorne Michaels wants to keep locked up in the vault. The first is a season 1 episode hosted by actress and writer Louise Lasser. The actress claims her rambling was a reference to her Mary Hartman character, and that her manager had the episode pulled.

Lorne Michaels Banned Two Episodes

The second banned episode is one featuring comedian Milton Berle. The former Vaudevillian told racist jokes, called everyone offensive names, and orchestrated his own standing ovation.

Male Writers Peed in Jars

In the sixth episode of the fourth season of Tina Fey’s hit show 30 Rock, Liz Lemon is disgusted to find that one of her staff writers is peeing in bottles. Unfortunately, this rather unpleasant behavior was something she experienced while working at SNL.

Male Writers Peed in Jars

That’s right—even though the bathrooms were next door to the writer’s room, the male writers relieved themselves in jars. Fey elaborated, “judging by its consistency, I suspect that the writers sometimes spat into it. Or that one of them was terribly ill.”

Adrien Brody is Banned

Another celebrity that managed to get himself banned from hosting SNL is an American actor and producer Adrien Brody. The Oscar award winner hosted the show in 2003, one year after his prize-winning turn in The Pianist.

Adrien Brody is Banned

When Adrien Brody stepped onto the SNL stage, he was inexplicably wearing a dreadlock wig. The star spoke in a stereotypical Jamaican accent to introduce that night’s musical guest, Jamaican rapper Sean Paul. Lorne Michaels wasn’t pleased, and banned the actor from returning.

Larry David Heckled Michael McKean

When Larry David worked on SNL’s first season, he didn’t really get along with anyone. As we know, the writer quit and then un-quit, and was annoyed that his sketches weren’t making it to air. On one occasion, David heckled cast member Michael McKean (pictured) from backstage during live shooting.

Larry David Heckled Michael McKean

Thankfully, while Larry David didn’t have a great time on SNL, he did meet Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Later, he cast the actress on Seinfeld, for which she won an Emmy. Now, she has eight!

Eddie Murphy Raged at David Spade

For a while in the early 80s, Eddie Murphy was the biggest star on SNL. And, on top of that, he was the youngest. In 1984, Murphy left the sketch show to pursue a movie career. As we know, he starred in multiple commercial hits and became a global name.

Eddie Murphy Raged at David Spade

By the 90s, when Murphy’s career was stalling, SNL cast member David Spade made a joke at the star’s expense. Apparently, this enraged Murphy who didn’t return to the show for some years because of it.

Fred Armisen Married Elisabeth Moss

We don’t know about you, but we don’t get good vibes from Fred Armisen. Perhaps that’s because we know about his dating history. Firstly, one of the SNL cast member’s ex-girlfriends has described him as “sociopathic.”

Fred Armisen Married Elisabeth Moss

The comedian met actress Elisabeth Moss on SNL in 2008. The pair got married but only stayed together for eight months. Moss described their marriage as “extremely traumatic and awful and horrible.” She said, “He’s so great at doing impersonations. But the greatest impersonation he does is that of a normal person.”

Andrew Dice Clay Was Unwanted

Comedian Andrew Dice Clay, or The Diceman is a racist and misogynistic comedian. When he was booked to host SNL in 1990, it caused quite an uproar. Cast member Nora Dunne immediately announced that she wouldn’t perform. Sadly, she wasn’t supported by her colleagues.

Andrew Dice Clay Was Unwanted

The musical guest that week was a not yet banned Sinéad O’Connor, who also refused to perform. Indeed, audience members also heckled the comedian when he appeared on stage. NBC insisted on a delay to catch any offensive comments.

Molly Shannon Bruised Herself

Actress and comedian Molly Shannon was a cast member on SNL from 1995-2001. One of the star’s characters on the show was Mary Katherine Gallagher, an unpopular Catholic school girl. Shannon wrote the character to be moody and awkward, as she dislikes “perfect girls” on TV.

Molly Shannon Bruised Herself

In real life, Molly Shannon actually threw herself around while performing Mary Katherine Gallagher. She said, “I’d get bruised and cut up, but because of the adrenaline, I never felt it until Sunday.”

Nobody Liked Steven Seagal

When actor and martial artist Steven Seagal hosted SNL in 1991, Lorne Michaels called him “the worst host ever.” The star pitched a sketch about assaulting women, which is particularly grim considering the various allegations against him. He was also nasty to the cast and crew.

Nobody Liked Steven Seagal

When Nicolas Cage hosted the season 18 premiere in 1992, he joked that the audience would think he was, “the biggest jerk who’s ever been on the show.” Lorne Michaels called out, “No, No, That would be Steven Seagal.”

Eddie Murphy Annoyed the Cast

When Eddie Murphy was part of the SNL cast in the 1980s, he became the first cast member to host while also performing on the show. The reason for this? His co-star Nick Nolte partied too hard the night before and had to pull out.

Eddie Murphy Annoyed the Cast

When he finished his opening monologue, Murphy cheekily declared “Live from New York, it’s the Eddie Murphy Show.” Not everyone was charmed by this. In fact, the rest of the cast was apparently annoyed by the young star’s arrogance.

Chris Kattan is Permanently Injured

We’ve already heard a little about Chris Kattan’s time on SNL, including his run-ins with co-star Norm McDonald. Since he’s parted ways with the show, the actor and comedian has revealed that he left because of a “stunt thing.”

Chris Kattan is Permanently Injured

To be more precise, Chris Kattan broke his neck during a stunt while throwing himself backwards in a chair. Apparently, the star has had multiple surgeries to deal with the pain, and doesn’t discuss the accident. NBC paid for some of his surgeries.

Kristen Stewart’s On-Screen Slip

There’s no doubt that hosting Saturday Night Live is nerve-wracking. And so, we can’t totally blame Kristen Stewart for letting the F-bomb slip. We mean, she is human, after all. From the sounds of it, the star got a little too carried away when she realized that her opening monologue was going off without a hitch!

Kristen Stewart’s On-Screen Slip

According to Stewart, “I felt so bad about it. I just came offstage apologizing profusely […] They were really nice about it.” Plus, she hosted SNL a second time in 2019, so Lorne Michaels must have forgiven her.

Conan O’Brien Didn’t Believe in Wayne’s World

For those that don’t know, Conan O’Brien was a writer on SNL for a period of time, specifically from 1988 to 1991.

Conan O’Brien Didn’t Believe in Wayne’s World

Now, it’s pretty crazy to think about now considering its success but, according to digital media firm LittleThings, Conan wasn’t initially on board when Mike Myers pitched his “Wayne’s World” sketch idea as he didn’t think it would be funny. As we know, though, the sketch ended up becoming super popular to the point that it was turned into a movie!

Will Ferrel’s Agenda

In “The Love-ahs” sketch, Will Ferrell made it his mission to distract Fallon and crack him up. In fact, Ferrell claimed that he created the skit with the goal to make Fallon laugh — which isn’t a very difficult thing to do, even today. Unsurprisingly, the plan went off without a hitch attempted everything he could to distract Fallon and make him crack up, and it worked perfectly.

Will Ferrel’s Agenda

He also mentioned it on The Tonight Show, confessing that he’d switch up the whole thing and do anything to get Fallon to break character during the live telecast. Fallon said he was in hot water because Lorne Michaels and the writers weren’t a fan of him breaking character.

How Sketches Are Chosen

Have you ever wondered about what the process is like to put together just one episode of SNL? On Mondays, writers and cast members meet to pitch jokes and toss around ideas. Tuesdays are writing days. Then, on Wednesdays, everyone gathers together to read through the sketches.

How Sketches Are Chosen

Thursdays revolve around building the sets. Fridays are for rehearsals and rewrites. Now, the most grueling part of this process is the fact that only about eight — out of 40 to 50 — sketches are chosen for each episode.

Kanye West Threw a Fit

It’s no secret that Kanye West is a controversial and outspoken celebrity. From infamously bombarding T-Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to tweeting a series of allegations against the Kardashian family, we think it goes without saying that no one really expects the rapper to be super well-behaved at this point.

Kanye West Threw a Fit

Still, it may come as a shock to learn that West allegedly screamed at a stagehand and everyone else in the vicinity for moving a piece of his set when he appeared on the show in 2016.

“Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

For avid SNL viewers and fans, there’s nothing better than hearing the infamous, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” at the end of the opening monologue or sketch. Still, have you ever wondered why no one says, “It’s Saturday Night Live!”?

“Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

It is the title of the show, after all. It turns out that when the sketch show first started airing, there was already a series called Saturday Night Live that ran on ABC. So, to avoid any legal issues, they opted to leave out the word “live.”

Leslie Jones Was Traumatized

We have to hand it to the SNL cast members for being able to keep it together during a performance. Take, for instance, Leslie Jones. She performed alongside James Franco in the “Gift Wrap” sketch when he hosted the show back in 2017.

Leslie Jones Was Traumatized

During the routine, a load of fake blood ended up squirting into Jones’ mouth! According to the comedian herself, “Some blood went in my mouth and then I threw up in my mouth, and I had to swallow it so I wouldn’t throw up on national […] TV!”

Emma Stone Met Her Hubby

There’s nothing sweeter than watching two people fall in love. That’s why we were psyched to learn that actress Emma Stone actually met her now-husband, Dave McCary, on the set of Saturday Night Live when she hosted back in 2016.

Emma Stone Met Her Hubby

McCary served as a segment director on the show from 2013 to 2019. When he and Stone met, sparks flew, although they kept their relationship under wraps for quite a while. McCary proposed to the starlet in 2019 at the offices where they first met — NBC’s Manhattan HQ. Today, they’re married with one daughter!

Aidy Bryant’s Wardrobe Mishap

As fans of SNL, it’s undeniably amusing to see cast members break character. Aidy Bryant can usually keep it together but that was hardly the case during the “Inside the Beltway” sketch. You see, the sketch required a few insanely quick wardrobe changes.

Aidy Bryant’s Dresser Got the Cue Wrong

Everything was running smoothly until the very last outfit change, when Aidy’s stylist ran onto set just a bit too soon. After that, Aidy could barely keep a straight face. According to Bryant herself, it was the worst character break she had ever experienced on air — but it was certainly enjoyable for viewers!

Jason Sudeikis’ Abrupt Exit

Considering that SNL has been on the air since 1975, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the show goes through its fair share of casting changes. When Jason Sudeikis decided to leave the show, though, it was certainly got people talking.

Jason Sudeikis’ Abrupt Exit

Not only did he announce his exit from SNL on a taping of Late Show With David Letterman, but he apparently didn’t even make a farewell appearance, which surprised the crew. Upon this announcement, Sudeikis joined Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers — who signaled their departures not long before.

Set Changes

Considering that SNL is a live sketch show, there are a lot of working parts and they need to come together in order to produce a successful episode — prop, costume, and set changes are just a few aspects.

Set Changes

Have you ever wondered how the crew is able to perform a set change so quickly, all whilst the cameras are rolling? Well, according to sources, the crew only has a minute and 42 seconds to change the main stage during the opening credits! Talk about pressure!

Out of Pocket

Often viewed as a stepping stone for comedians and actors, SNL has introduced the world to some of the most iconic Hollywood stars. While getting cast on the show could mean that you’ve finally “made it,” you aren’t automatically going to become a millionaire (although that would be nice).

Out of Pocket

Still, cast members are said to make good money for their work. Perhaps that’s why the show doesn’t cover drinks and food at the SNL after-parties and so, employees have to pay totally out of pocket.

Debbie Downer

Well-known for her seven seasons on SNL, comedian Rachel Dratch was part of the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler/Maya Rudolph/Jimmy Fallon generation of the show. During Rachel’s time on the show, she was perhaps best known for her Debbie Downer character, who first appeared during the 29th season.

Debbie Downer

Now, according to Dratch, she came up with the character while vacationing in Costa Rica. Apparently, she was at a table with a woman who made a super depressing comment, which inspired Dratch. And that’s how the character was born!

On a Dare

Will Ferrell once wore the same costume for a whole season of Saturday Night Live. This outfit included Wrangler jeans, a plaid, button-down shirt, a puffy vest, and a trucker hat. Ferrell initially wore the ridiculous ensemble for two days straight as part of a “Smokey and the Bandit” parody.

On a Dare

It was November at the time, and show writer Tom Gianas challenged him to wear it until the end of the season. Ferrell agreed, and from that point until the end of the season (in May), he donned the costume to work each day. That adds up to six months!

Prank Calls to Seth Meyers

When Seth was one of the show’s head writers, he worked some crazy hours, but that did not stop his co-stars from waking him up in the middle of the night for a good laugh. It turns out that Meyers used to get prank calls from Fred Armisen around 4am, claiming to be calling from a radio show.

Prank Calls to Seth Meyers

Fred’s repeated joke was to call Seth up, pretend that he was being interviewed by a radio show, and act as if he gave Seth’s number out during the interview.

John Mulaney’s SNL Camera Debut

Writer and comedian John Mulaney was brought aboard the show as a writer in 2008. The following year, he was called on to make his SNL camera debut. In the sketch, Mulaney plays a clapboard operator.

John Mulaney’s SNL Camera Debut

Now, he got through his first line with no issues. When Mulaney walked off camera and saw Bobby Moynihan waiting for him, they began to high-five… a lot — so much so, in fact, that Mulaney missed his second cue!

A Night to Remember

Before the finale of Season 27, the SNL writers threw a pretty wild party. Jimmy Fallon kicked it off by sliding across the punch table. Soon enough, other people joined in on the fun.

A Night to Remember

According to sources, they even made sleds out of pizza boxes, which allowed them to reach such a high speed that someone had to stand at the end of the table to make sure no one went flying out of the 17th-story window! Horatio Sanz even fractured his ribs and Carson Daly found a towel of vomit in front of his office. Sheesh.

The Paris Hilton Bet

A bet took place when Paris Hilton was hosting the show. She was rumored to be so self-absorbed that cast members were convinced that she wouldn’t ask them any questions.

The Paris Hilton Bet

Seth Meyers was so sure she wouldn’t show interest in anyone else that he made a bet with the rest of the ensemble — he’d give a thousand bucks to the first person she showed interest in. Maya Rudolph came the closest when Hilton asked if she’s Italian but alas, no one ended up with the money.

Will Ferrell Punched Ellen Degeneres

SNL veterans Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler dropped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote a film.

Will Ferrell Punched Ellen Degeneres

Whilst there, the trio discussed a 2001 sketch in which Ferrell and DeGeneres portrayed disapproving parents to Seth Meyers’ new girlfriend (Poehler), which is when the accidental punch occurred. As a sincere apology, Ferrell offered Ellen boxing gear.

Cheri Oteri’s Stomach Troubles

Cheri Oteri experienced a terrible stomach illness the night before her SNL audition. The next morning, she showed up to the studio, but she looked and felt so bad that the makeup artist had to ask her what happened. Apparently, the night before her audition, Oteri went out to a famous Italian restaurant with Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell.

Cheri Oteri’s Stomach Troubles

Unfortunately, she ended up spending the rest of the night wide awake with food poisoning. In an interview, she stated that she looked as though she had just been in a car accident. Yet, she still got the job! appeared to have been in a car accident.

Rachel Dratch’s Back Injury

When Rachel Dratch hurt her back during a read-through, she spent the rest of the rehearsal lying on the floor under the table, shouting her lines to an audience of 100+ people.

Rachel Dratch’s Back Injury

Amy Poehler claims that Dratch was just absolutely victorious. Knoxville, who was hosting that week, offered her some loose pills from his pocket in an attempt to assist her.

Kate McKinnon Punched a Hole

Aidy Bryant once returned from the bathroom to discover Kate McKinnon dancing around with a hammer, smashing holes in their office walls. It turns out that the SNL headquarters was undergoing renovations, and McKinnon had heard that all of the walls and furniture would be demolished.

Kate McKinnon Punched a Hole

So, McKinnon decided to celebrate. Unfortunately, Bryant had some bad news for her pal — the walls weren’t being torn down but rather, repainted. Oh, boy.

A Candidate Didn’t Give the All-Clear

Lorne Michaels reportedly canceled a sketch because a presidential candidate thought it was amusing but too contentious.

A Candidate Didn’t Give the All-Clear

The “TV Funhouse” sketch sparked a lot of controversy among the writers and staff members. Michaels opted to let the sketch go because the candidate was already set to appear for a cameo in the cold open.

Will Ferrell Brought Counterfeit Money

Will Ferrell had a face-to-face encounter with Lorne Michaels before his callback, so he arrived with a briefcase full of fake money to play a practical joke on the show’s creator.

Will Ferrell Brought Counterfeit Money

According to the New York Times, Ferrell’s idea was to throw $25,000 in fake money on Michael’s desk at the meeting and say something along the lines of, “Take the money and put me on the show.” In the end, the meeting’s atmosphere was far less laid-back than Ferrell had anticipated, so he abandoned his brilliant plan.

Jeff Goldblum Was Very Confused

Let’s be real — things don’t always go as planned on a show like Saturday Night Live, in which improv is completely encouraged. What’s ironic is how often the “bad” skits turn out to be the most hilarious and well-received ones of the night.

Jeff Goldblum Was Very Confused

In “Space, the Infinite Frontier: Dr. Kent Wahler,” Will Ferrell began improvising as Harry Caray, leaving Jeff Goldblum amused. To this day, this skit has remained one of the most popular of all time.

Jim Carrey Got Shot Down

Jim Carrey’s opening monologue finished in an unexpected way — definitely not the way he initially rehearsed it. During the speech, he made an attempt to propose to a lady, but she declined. It wasn’t intended to happen like this. All of the dress rehearsals and practice runs ended with the girl accompanying him.

Jim Carrey Got Shot Down

The woman in question, though, wasn’t an actress or paid performer, so we’re not sure why everyone assumed that she would say yes. Fortunately, Jim Carrey improvised and instead invited someone else up on stage. Everyone in the crew let out a sigh of relief.

Bill Hader Didn’t like Justin Bieber

When SNL alums Bill Hader and Jay Pharoah were speaking with Andy Cohen in 2018, the host asked who the show’s worst host was. Right away, Pharoah said, “We both know, dog,” and Bill Hader agreed, saying “Yeah, it was Bieber.”

Bill Hader Didn’t like Justin Bieber

Four years before that, Hader expressed the same sentiment. He said, “I really didn’t enjoy having Justin Bieber around. He’s the only one who lived up to the reputation. I think that’s the only time I felt that way in eight years.”

Don Pardo Tried to Retire

Radio and TV announcer Don Pardo worked for NBC for 70 years. His most famous gig was as the announcer for Saturday Night Live, starting with its first season in 1975. Pardo tried to leave twice while doing this job, announcing his retirement in both 2004 and 2009.

Don Pardo Tried to Retire

On both occasions, he was convinced to come back. At first, the announcer flew from Arizona to New York for recordings. Then, from 2010 he recorded from home. He passed away at 96, still working as SNL’s announcer.

Will Ferrell Was the Highest Paid

SNL cast members get paid depending on how long they’ve been on the show. Basically, new performers earn less. For its first season back in 1975, cast members were paid $750 per episode, which rose to $2000 by season 2. New cast members in the 90s started on $5000, and could earn another $1500 by writing a sketch that got to air.

Will Ferrell Was the Highest Paid

Back in 2001, Will Ferrell was the highest-paid cast member in the show’s history, earning $350,000 for one season.

Adam Sandler Was Bitter

After being with SNL for five years, a 28-year-old Adam Sandler was fired, along with Chris Farley. The star didn’t see it coming, and refused to return for many years.

Adam Sandler Was Bitter

When he did return to host in 2019, he sang a song named “I Was Fired.” The lyrics were, “I was fired, I was fired. NBC said that I was done. Then, I made over four billion dollars at the box office, so I guess you could say I won.”

Bill Murray Confronted Chevy Chase

We close out our list of behind-the-scenes SNL facts by returning to the notorious Chevy Chase. As we know, the actor was abusive to staff when he returned to host the show in the ’90s.

Bill Murray Confronted Chevy Chase

Well, on top of that, Chevy Chase started a fight with his season two replacement, Bill Murray. Murray confronted Chase an hour before the live show, and Chase later tracked him down in John Belushi’s dressing room for a fistfight. Belushi ended up pulling the comedians apart.