For over 40 years, ‘Saturday Night Live’ has been a show saturated with myths, legends, and plenty of backstage drama. Check out these stories from ‘SNL’ cast members to find out what really goes on behind the scenes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza!
“It was the first season of the show, back in 1975. We were incredibly excited, because the great Orson Welles was going to be the host of the show. So, Orson turns up to the studio, and he tells us that the only monologue he’s going to do is a song he wrote called ‘Guns I’ve Seen,’ in which he would list every single gun he had ever seen in his life, along with the date he had seen it. We let him do it, because you don’t say no to Orson Welles. Unfortunately, it turned out that he had seen over 7 million guns in his life, and the song took nine months to complete. Our bass player, Louis ‘Pepper’ O’Donald, died of exhaustion. That episode never aired, so Louis died for nothing, but it was very cool to get to work with Orson Welles.”
“I once walked in on Lorne Michaels frantically whispering the phrase ‘Human wing removal’ into the phone. I quietly left and never asked him about it. I never found out who he was talking to.”
“I was rehearsing for a sketch and trying to memorize my lines, and all of a sudden the doors to the studio open and in walks Paul McCartney. I couldn’t believe it! Paul McCartney points at me, shouts my godson’s height and weight right in my face, and then walks right back out of the studio. I was blown away. He had gotten my godson’s height and weight exactly right. I guess that’s why they call him the Fifth Beatle.”
“One time I saw a beautiful person, and the beautiful person coughed on me, and it told me that it lived in a tent. That was the greatest moment of my SNL career.”
“Whenever people tell me that they think the show is irrelevant, I tell them this story about a time that SNL changed the world: It was about a year into Obama’s presidency, and I wrote a scene called ‘The Boys Confess.’ The scene consisted exclusively of George W. Bush bench-pressing Barack Obama for 12 unbroken minutes while they both chanted ‘I did Pearl Harbor’ in unison. The network loved the sketch, but I hated it. I told them, ‘I have created a living shit heap. Do not make me put my hideous creation on TV.’ But the president of NBC told me that if I didn’t run the sketch, they would blow up my godson’s car, which is where I keep all of my birds. I had no choice but to let the sketch go to air. The next morning, Obama went on TV and admitted that he was behind Pearl Harbor, then resigned from office. There’s magic in this show. It has the power to alter the course of history.”