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Saturday Night Live (TV Series 1975– ) Poster

(1975– )

Trivia

According to the official memoir, Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, Chevy Chase is banned from ever hosting the show again. In the book, numerous cast members recall stories in which Chase insulted cast and crew. According to Terry Sweeney, Chase made homophobic remarks to Sweeney who is openly gay. According to Will Ferrell, Chase was the worst host during his time on the show.
When 25-year-old Kenan Thompson (born 1978) was hired for the 29th season (2003-2004), he became the first cast member who was born after the show premiered (1975).
Some celebrities who were almost cast members on the show were Jim Carrey (1980), John Goodman (1980) Robert Townsend (1980), Catherine O'Hara (1981) Paul Reubens (1981), Geena Davis (1982), Lisa Kudrow (1990), Jennifer Aniston (1990), and Dane Cook (2002).
When Eddie Murphy was first hired, he was not a regular cast member, he was a guest performer who was given nothing to do. He threatened to quit until he was given a segment of Weekend Update to perform. He was so funny, he eventually appeared in sketches and became a regular cast member.
Anthony Michael Hall was the youngest member of SNL at 17 years old.
Tina Fey is the first female head writer in the show's history.
Abby Elliott, daughter of Chris Elliott, is the first cast member to be the child of a former cast member. Her grandfather, Bob Elliott, made a guest appearance in the fourth-season. At 21 years old, she is the youngest female cast member in the show's history.
According to Jane Curtin, John Belushi did not believe that women were funny and would sabotage sketches by female writers by not performing them to his full capacity.
Steve Martin is the only person to host a season premiere, a season finale, and a Christmas show and is the only person to host the show three times in a single season.
The following people are members of the Five-Timers Club: Steve Martin (15 times), Alec Baldwin (16 times), John Goodman (12 times), Buck Henry (10 times), Chevy Chase (9 times), Tom Hanks (8 times), Christopher Walken (7 times), 'Elliot Gould' (6 times), Danny DeVito (6 times), Candice Bergen (5 times), Bill Murray (5 times), Drew Barrymore (5 times), 'Justin Timberlake' (5 times) Ben Affleck (5 times)
John Goodman hosted the show 11 years in a row.
In 1995, Steve Carell auditioned for the show along with his wife, Nancy Carell. She was cast but he was not. The following season Carell was cast as the voice of Gary in the recurring animated segment "The Ambiguously Gay Duo". When he hosted the show in 2005, Carell stated he was beat out for the spot by Will Ferrell.
Contrary to popular belief, Steve Martin was never a cast member on the show. The misconception stems from the fact that he has hosted the show 15 times, in addition to doing occasional surprise appearances.
The series was originally commissioned to have just six episodes.
Kel Mitchell auditioned for a spot in the cast but was beat out by his former Kenan & Kel (1996) co-star Kenan Thompson.
The word "fuck" has been said several times live on the air: during a sketch in 1980, Paul Shaffer said "fuckin'" instead of "floggin'"; in 1981, Charles Rocket, said "I'd like to know who the fuck did it" during a "Who Shot JR?" parody and on the same night Prince sang the lyric "Fightin' war is such a fuckin' bore"; in 1990, singer Morris Day of The Time said "Where the fuck this chicken come from?" and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sang "feedin' that fuckin' monkey on my back" during their performances; in 1994, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. sang "Don't fuck with me" and Adam Horovitz of Beastie Boys sang "So won't you fuckin' listen" in their performances and in 1997, Norm MacDonald accidentally said, "The fuck was that?" after flubbing a line during "Weekend Update". James Hetfield of Metallica sang "Fuck 'em man, white knuckle tight" during their performance in 1997. In 2009, Jenny Slate accidentally said, "You know what, you stood up for yourself and I fucking love you for that."
Lorne Michaels left the show after the fifth season as did the remaining cast members. For the 1980-1981 season, the show was revamped with a new cast and new producer Jean Doumanian. The sixth was so disastrous that NBC president Fred Silverman called in programming executive Dick Ebersol (one of the creative masterminds of the original show) to save the show. Ebersol fired Doumanian and the rest of the cast except Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. He hired a new cast and the show eventually regained its ratings mainly due to Murphy's popularity. When Michaels returned in the 1985-1986 season, he wanted his own cast so the remaining members were fired. This season was low-rated putting the show on the brink of cancellation. But Michaels convinced executive Brandon Tartikoff that he could revive the show with a better cast. The show regained popularity and Michaels has stayed with the show ever since. He later claimed that leaving SNL, was the biggest mistake of his life.
Louis C.K. auditioned for the 1993-1994 season. Although he was not cast, producer James Downey recommended C.K. to Robert Smigel, who was the head writer of a new show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993). C.K. was hired as a staff writer for that show.
In November 2007, the cast, excluding Maya Rudolph, gave a live unaired performance of SNL at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City as a result of the WGA Strike. The show featured old and rejected sketches with the proceeds going to the show's production staff. The host was Michael Cera and the musical guest was Yo La Tengo. Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, and Norah Jones made cameo appearances.
According to Chris Rock, during his time on the show, he wished that he was instead on In Living Color (1990) which had a predominately African-American cast. After three seasons, he left to join "In Living Color" as a recurring cast member. But the series was cancelled at the end of that season.
There have been only 8 SNL regulars who received Oscar nominations. Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Robert Downey Jr., Bill Murray, Michael McKean, and Eddie Murphy were nominated for Oscars after they were SNL regulars. Randy Quaid received an Oscar nomination before becoming an SNL regular. Kristen Wiig was nominated during her tenure as a regular. McKean was nominated for Best Original Song, Wiig for Best Original Screenplay and the rest were nominated in the acting categories.
Studio 8H where SNL is filmed is not connected to the GE Building (NBC Studios) at Rockefeller Center, but is suspended by wires from the next floor. Arturo Toscanini, the director of the NBC orchestra, performed on radio from studio 8H and did not want the vibrations from the New York City subway to disturb his radio broadcasts so his studio was isolated from the rest of the building.
The shows that were hosted by Louise Lasser and Milton Berle have never been seen in reruns since their original air date, at Lorne Michaels' insistence. Lasser refused to do all skits, and locked herself in her dressing room just before airtime, coming out just in time to do the opening monologue. Berle called everyone "Booby" and impressed no one but John Belushi with his mugging, racist jokes, and egomania.
There have been three sets of brothers who have been cast members on Saturday Night Live (1975), John Belushi and James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Peter Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray.
As of 2012, the only female former cast members to return to the show as hosts have been Julia Louis-Dreyfus (May 13, 2006 and March 17, 2007), Molly Shannon (May 12, 2007), Tina Fey (February 23, 2008; April 10, 2010 and May 7, 2011), Amy Poehler (September 25, 2010), and Maya Rudolph (February 18, 2012).
Will Ferrell became the highest paid cast member in SNL history in 2001. He received a salary of USD 350,000 (USD 105,000 in 1975 prices) for the 2001-2002 season.
According to Bill Hader, he was recommended to Lorne Michaels by Megan Mullally, who saw him perform with his improv group, Animals from the Future. Mullally was there to support her brother-in-law, Matt Offerman and was impressed by Hader.
Don Pardo has announced his retirement twice, in 2004 and in 2009. But both times, he was convinced to return. He would fly to New York every week from his home in Arizona. In 2010, Pardo was allowed to record his intros from his home and have them sent to New York. Pardo remained with the show until shortly before his death on August 18, 2014 at the age of 96.
Jim Henson created new adult Muppets who appeared in every episode of the first season. The Muppets sketches were unpopular with the audience and the writing staff so they were dropped.
All of the main cast members of Friends (1994), except Matt LeBlanc hosted the show.
The balcony level studio audience seats in Studio 8H, where Saturday Night Live is broadcast from, are actually seats on-loan from Yankees Stadium in the Bronx, New York. NY Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III loaned them out in 1975 with the assumption that Saturday Night Live wouldn't stay on the air long (they were expected back upon cancellation of the show). Partly out of both tradition and superstition, the seats are still in use to this day. Since then, NBC has had to pay out annual fines to the city of New York (a relatively minor business expense, all things considered). In addition, any time repair work is needed, repair people are sent directly to the studio to do work there, which is more expensive than taking seats to a repair shop.
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Cast members Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers all won Emmys for helping write the show.
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Featured cast member James Downey (1979-1980) is the uncle of cast member 'Robert Downey Jr. (1985-1986). James Downey still worked as a writer on the show when Robert Downey was in the cast.
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According to writer Larry David, he stormed into executive producer Dick Ebersol's office and angrily quit the show. When David realized how much money he would be losing, he decided to return to the show and pretend that nothing happened. Ebersol never confronted him about it and David stayed for the rest of the season. David used this experience as the basis for the Seinfeld (1989) episode "The Revenge".
Darrell Hammond holds the record for the number of seasons as a cast member (1995-2009), the oldest cast member (53 in his final season), and the number of times saying "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" (70). Hammond continued to make guest appearances in the 2009-2010 season and also on Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday (2008).
Michael McKean and Dan Aykroyd are the only people to host, be musical guests (as Spinal Tap and "The Blues Brothers", respectively) and be cast members.
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One of Kenan Thompson's regular character he portrays on the show is an imitation of Bill Cosby, a character he often performed as originally on the show All That (1994).
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Jason Sudeikis auditioned to anchor Weekend Update while he was still a writer on the show in 2004. In 2006, it was reported that Sudeikis take over Weekend Update but Seth Meyers was hired instead.
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Longtime featured player Al Franken wanted to replace Kevin Nealon as Weekend Update anchor when Nealon left in 1995. But when Norm MacDonald was picked instead, Franken left the show.
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Leslie Jones, at 47 years old, holds the record for the oldest cast member to join the show. Michael McKean and George Coe were both 46 years old when they joined.
The show has only had four directors in its history: Dave Wilson, Paul Miller, Beth McCarthy-Miller and Don Roy King
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While most of the musical performances on the show are indeed live, a few have been lip-synced, and several have been taped in advance. The first lip-sync was ABBA on 15 November 1975. The first prerecorded performance was Carly Simon on 08 May 1976, because she was nervous to sing in front of a live audience. On the October 23, 2004 episode, Ashlee Simpson revealed that she was lip-syncing during her second performance when the same vocal track for her first performance was accidentally replayed. An embarrassed Simpson walked off the stage and the show quickly cut to commercial.
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Street performer Charlie Barnett was cast for the 1980-1981 season. But it was discovered that Barnett was illiterate. He was replaced by Eddie Murphy.
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Norm MacDonald was removed from Weekend Update in the middle of the 1997-1998 season at the insistence of NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer who said MacDonald was "not funny". MacDonald left the show at the end of the season. Rumors spread that Ohlmeyer did not like MacDonald's jokes about 'O.J. Simpson' who was a friend of Ohlmeyer's. But MacDonald has stated that he does not believe that was the reason he was fired.
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Mike Myers based the character 'Dieter' on a student he met in art college. The real Dieter would often say things like "I once had a course where we had to touch tapioca, styrofoam and monkeys. Michael, perhaps we can go to the zoo and touch monkeys." (Thus giving rise to Myers's character constantly saying, "Would you like to touch my monkey?")
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Candice Bergen was the first female host, the first person to host the show for a second time, and the first woman to host five times. Drew Barrymore has also hosted five times, her first being in 1982.
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After the end of the 1979-1980 season, in October 1980, Lorne Michaels and most of the original cast members who had all since left the show (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, etc.), reunited to put together a special that would parody the upcoming presidential election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. The special was to air live on November 1 1980. But just a few days before the special was to air, Carter and Reagan decided to do another televised debate on November 1. Live coverage of the debate forced NBC to reschedule. NBC offered Michaels the chance to do the special the following week, but he refused because it would have been after the election and the material would no longer be topical.
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James Downey is the longest serving writer in the show's history other than Lorne Michaels. Downey wrote for 30 seasons: (1976-1980), (1984-1998), (2000-2005), (2006-2013). In 1980, he left the show with Lorne Michaels and the rest of the cast. In 1998, he was fired by NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer. In 2005, he took time off to write a book. He retired in 2013.
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Amy Poehler's 2008 Emmy-nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series made her the first cast-member to be nominated in a category that is usually reserved for traditional comedy series.
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During the 2007-2008 season, Wyatt Cenac, Jordan Carlos, Donald Glover, and Jordan Peele auditioned to join the cast and play Barack Obama. But Fred Armisen, who is not African-American, was cast as Obama.
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Jeffrey Ross offered the chance to audition to replace Colin Quinn as Weekend Update anchor. But right before he was to meet with Lorne Michaels, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey were hired instead.
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As of 2013, five cast members have been born outside of North America: Tony Rosato (Italy), Pamela Stephenson (New Zealand), Morwenna Banks (England), Horatio Sanz (Chile), and Nasim Pedrad (Iran).
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As of 2013, nine cast members have been born in Canada: Dan Aykroyd, Peter Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, Robin Duke, Martin Short, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Norm MacDonald, and Mark McKinney.
According to Cecily Strong, the voice for her character in the "Former Porn Stars" sketches is based on Sasha Grey. Strong saw Grey appear on The Tyra Banks Show (2005).
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When Harry Shearer left the show during the 1984-1985 season he cited "creative differences." Shearer would later remark, "I was creative... and they were different."
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Dwayne Johnson was scheduled to host on November 10, 2007 with Amy Winehouse as musical guest. But the 2007 writers' strike caused this episode to be canceled.
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Don Pardo's announcing booth is located in the exact same spot on which legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini's podium once stood, when he conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra in his famous and long-running series of radio concerts.
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Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell are the only cast members to be fired and then rehired the following season (Meadows was fired between seasons and didn't miss any episodes). James Belushi was fired during his tenure but was rehired the following month. Announcer Don Pardo was also fired before the seventh season in an effort to revitalize the show. He was replaced by Mel Brandt, but Pardo was rehired the following season.
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The first "Weekend Update" anchor, Chevy Chase, has said that he modeled his catchphrase "Good evening, I'm Chevy Chase and you're not" after Eyewitness News (1968) anchor Roger Grimsby's opening line "Good evening, I'm Roger Grimsby, here now the news." However, Chase's successor as "Update" anchor, Jane Curtin, would go on to use Grimsby's original intro to open the newscast, and once, on the 22 April 1978 edition, ended that night's "Update" with Grimsby's closing line, "Hoping your news is good news."
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John Candy was offered a chance to join the cast for the 1981-1982 season. But he turned it down to stay with SCTV Network (1981).
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Roseanne Barr is the only host to appear under different names (Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Arnold and Roseanne). John Mellencamp is the only musical guest to appear under different names (John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and John Mellencamp).
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Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell auditioned to co-anchor Weekend Update in 2000. But Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon were hired instead.
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According to Kevin Nealon, his character of Mr. Subliminal was based on his friend actor Ed Peck. Peck would sneak obscene words into everyday conversations exactly like Mr. Subliminal did. Peck called this "tagging".
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Despite the show's core theme of live comedy, on a few rare occasions stand-up segments weren't truly "live", but broadcast on a 7-second tape-delay: 13 December 1975 (Richard Pryor), 15 November 1986 (Sam Kinison), and 12 May 1990 (Andrew Dice Clay), each time to allow censoring any "accidental" expletives.
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In November 2013, Kenan Thompson stated in a TV Guide interview that the lack of black females in the cast was because "in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready." Jay Pharoah publicly stated that the show was not trying hard enough to find a black female and recommended Darmirra Brunson. Lorne Michaels acknowledged the controversy and special auditions were held in December 2013 to find a black female cast member. The candidates were Brunson, Nicole Byer, Gabrielle Dennis, Azie Mira Dungey, Tiffany Haddish, Leslie Jones, Misty Monroe, Beth Payne, Amber Ruffin, Simone Shepherd, LaKendra Tookes, Bresha Webb, and Sasheer Zamata. Zamata was hired to join the cast while Jones and Tookes were hired as writers.
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Beginning in 1995, the Saturday Night Live logo used the abbreviation SNL, which became how the show was known.
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When Eric Idle hosted on 20 October 1979, a clip was shown from Idle's project Rutland Weekend Television (1975) of his Beatles parody The Rutles. The success of the clip led to Lorne Michaels co-producing the movie version, All You Need Is Cash (1978), which includes appearances by numerous SNL alums and regulars.
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Jennifer Tilly auditioned to join the 1985-1986 cast.
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Playwright Garrett Morris was originally hired as a writer. But he submitted sketches that were deemed too long and dramatic. Chevy Chase suggested that he join the cast as a performer instead.
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During the initial 1975-76 season, the series was first titled "Saturday Night" as "Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell" aired earlier in the evening on ABC but was canceled after the first season.
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The following performers are all alumni of the famed Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, California: Laraine Newman, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, Cheri Oteri, Chris Parnell, Julia Sweeney, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and Siobhan Fallon. The following performers are all alumni of the famed Second City Theater in Chicago, Illinois: John Belushi and his younger brother James Belushi, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, Danitra Vance, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tim Kazurinsky, Mary Gross, Tim Meadows, Chris Farley, David Koechner, Ana Gasteyer, Nancy Carell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz. The following performers are all alumni of the famed Second City Theater in Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Dan Aykroyd, Peter Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Tony Rosato, Robin Duke, and Martin Short. Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney from the comedy troupe "The Kids In the Hall" both wrote and performed for the show after The Kids in the Hall (1988) TV show ended production.
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Darrell Hammond revealed in 2011 that he at first opposed the idea of impersonating John McCain on the show. Hammond's father, a veteran of World War II, had been severely traumatized by his war experiences, and Hammond felt that poking fun at a former prisoner-of-war would be in poor taste.
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Lorne Michaels wanted Laura Kightlinger to co-anchor with Norm MacDonald on Weekend Update but MacDonald adamantly refused work with another anchor. Steve Martin convinced Michaels that MacDonald should work alone.
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The map of the world on Weekend Update during the show's first years (1975-1980) shows Vietnam split into the pre-1975 North and South.
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John Goodman, a frequent guest host had auditioned for the show in 1980 when he was starting out as an actor.
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Mike Myers' English character Simon was a spoof of the UK TV children's series Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings (1976). His character of Linda Richman was based on his mother-in-law.
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Conan O'Brien appeared uncredited in many sketches from 1988 to 1991 while he was a writer for SNL. Writer and former cast member Tom Davis appeared uncredited in many sketches from 1988 to 1994.
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The Folksmen (a folk music group seen in A Mighty Wind (2003)) was formed in the mid-1980s when Michael McKean hosted the show, and Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer were cast members.
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Prior to joining the SNL band, G.E. Smith was the guitarist for Daryl Hall and John Oates.
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Tim Kazurinsky was offered the chance to replace Brad Hall as Weekend Update anchor in the 1983-1984 season. But Kazurinsky did not want to take the job from Hall and turned it down. Hall was fired as anchor anyway and the show's host would usually anchor for the rest of the season.
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Jon Lovitz quit the show after 1989-1990 in order to work on Mom and Dad Save the World (1992). Filming took place during the 1990-1991 season and Lorne Michaels would not allow Lovitz to miss any episodes.
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The Jackass crew was given an opportunity from Saturday Night Live to perform their stunts on a weekly basis prior to their show airing on MTV. They declined but Johnny Knoxville would host the show in 2005.
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Voted #10 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
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When the show first debuted, it did not air every weekend. The news magazine show Weekend (1974) aired "the first Weekend every month" (except when it was delayed one week for Eric Idle's first SNL appearance).
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Catherine O'Hara was going to join the cast for the 1981-1982 season but she backed out after Michael O'Donoghue screamed at the cast and crew during a meeting. She recommended her SCTV (1976) co-star Robin Duke to replace her.
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Liz Cackowski and Maribeth Monroe are among the women who auditioned for the 2005-2006 season but both lost out to a newcomer, Kristen Wiig.
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Janeane Garofalo was a cast member during the 1994-1995 season. She left before the end of the season due to creative differences.
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Several episodes were not performed in Studio 8H in Manhattan. On October 16, 23 and 30, 1976, the show moved to a Brooklyn studio because the NBC News election unit used Studio 8H for 1976 election coverage. Several episodes in 1984 were produced in RCA Bldg Studios 8G and 3A due to election coverage. The February 20, 1977 episode was performed live in New Orleans on a Sunday.
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Writer Kevin Brennan was considered to take over for Colin Quinn as Weekend Update anchor. After he was passed over, he left the show.
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T.J. Miller auditioned to be a cast member but Bobby Moynihan was cast instead.
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Guest performances were recurrent in the show's first years, mostly by Andy Kaufman, Al Franken and Tom Davis (who joined the cast in late 1979 as featured players), Michael O'Donoghue (one of the first cast members), Michael Davis, Harry Anderson (who hosted in early 1985), Steven Wright, Penn Jillette and Teller and Sam Kinison. However, by the late 1980s, guest performances became very rare.
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According to Marc Maron, he met with Lorne Michaels in 1996 about replacing Norm MacDonald as Weekend Update anchor.
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Jack McBrayer and Paul Scheer auditioned to join the cast.
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Christopher Reeve appeared as himself as an audience member in a skit, a few weeks before he hosted the show.
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Ray Romano was originally scheduled to host the show for the second time in April 2002 but had to drop out due to a busy schedule. He was replaced by "The Rock" aka Dwayne Johnson.
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In 2001, NBC aired two live 30-minute special episodes in primetime slots to fill airtime. Jennifer Lopez, who was hosting the regular show that week, made a cameo in the second special. In 2003, a live "Weekend Update" special was aired during the Superbowl halftime.
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According to Jim Breuer in his memoir, Lorne Michaels did not want to hire him but NBC executives insisted on him. Because of this, Michaels resented Breuer until he broke through with "The Joe Pesci Show".
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The characters "The Coneheads" were ranked #15 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (1 August 2004 issue).
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Prior to joining the cast, Dennis Miller won a Gabriel Award for his work as the host of "Punchline", a children's TV show.
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Kali Hawk turned down the opportunity to join the cast.
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Prior to the 83/84 season, Eddie Murphy agreed to appear in ten live broadcasts, and via a taped sketch in ten others. Those ten sketches were taped in September of 1983 and were alternated with Eddie Murphy's live appearances throughout the season.
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Rob Huebel auditioned twice to join the cast.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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