#15 Banned Hosts and Performers
Although SNL is a comedy show that skewers politics and goes for the most controversial jokes they can, there is a list of banned individuals who can’t be on the show. One of the biggest names was Sinead O’Connor, who shocked America when she appeared live on SNL ripping up a picture of the then-Pope in 1992. O’Connor was doing this in protest of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. NBC never airs the version where she did this stunt, but instead uses dress rehearsal footage where she doesn’t rip up the photo. Other banned performers include Chevy Chase, who isn’t allowed to host the show (but can cameo), and Martin Lawrence.
#14 SNL Goes to the Movies
SNL saw many of its sketches turned into films. Some did very well at the box office and others tanked. The list includes It’s Pat: The Movie, Stuart Saves His Family, Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World 2, Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, The Ladies Man, The Blue Brothers, Coneheads, MacGruber and The Blues Brothers 2000.
#13 The F-Word on SNL
Because it’s live, the “f-word” has been uttered a couple of times on SNL, even by the show’s cast. In 2009, her first and only season,performer Jenny Slate uttered the word during a sketch, and was axed from the show. She had been portraying a “tough biker chick,” and got a little too carried away while complaining in character. Norm Macdonald said it in 1997 , and he too was later fired. After Lorne Michaels departed the show briefly, Charles Rocket deliberately yelled the word during a sketch and was removed from the show shortly thereafter. There was also a sketch when Cameron Diaz hosted in 1998, where children’s show performers, each with a letter of the word on their sweater, appeared to be arranging themselves to spell the word. The sketch sharply “cut” to a programming card for the children’s show, but that was planned.
#12 The Origins of SNL
SNL wasn’t always “Saturday Night Live,” but instead was known as NBC’s Saturday Night when it premiered in 1975. The show was conceived after NBC needed to find something to fill the spots on Saturday night that they reserved for reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, after Carson announced that he wanted them to use that footage during the week instead. Vice president of late night programming Dick Ebersol and Lorne Michaels developed NBC’s Saturday Night Live (naming it that because rival network ABC had Saturday Night Live with Howard Cossell on the same night), found a cast, and went live for the first time on October 11, 1975. The show later got the rights to call the show Saturday Night Live in 1976, and adopted the new title in 1977. NBC has never been the same since on Saturday night since.
#11 How Do You Get Tickets to SNL?
Some visitors to New York City seem to think you can request or purchase tickets to the show easily, but nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike other shows, where you can just write for tickets throughout the year, SNL tickets are only up for grabs during one time a year. You’re able to email NBC in the month of August only, and tickets are chosen randomly. You don’t get to choose what show you get to see, and you may only have a few weeks notice to get travel arrangements together. You can also wait in line for tickets on Friday night till about 7 a.m, however, you aren’t guaranteed admission even if you have a ticket. The lottery ticket holders and celebrities attending the show get first chance at those seats, then the standby tickets are allowed to enter the show.
#10 Dress vs. Live
Did you know that SNL actually runs two shows on Saturday night? The first, a dress rehearsal, is done at 8 p.m, and is longer than the live show. The dress rehearsal allows Lorne Michaels and his staff to see what sketches play well with the audience, what bits might need to be cut, and if they should edit anything for time or better jokes. The show is then aired live. You may see as many as three sketches get cut for time, though often the dress rehearsal sketches that were cut are offered online at Hulu or NBC’s site.
#9 Saturday Night Live..Europe?
SNL has been so popular that other countries have tried to replicate its success. Italy, South Korea, Spain, and Japan have all launched their own version of the show. Some versions ran for a limited time, while others are still running. A few used their own material while other versions opted to do their own versions of sketches from the original NBC show.