It might seem like there are no rules, no subjects off limits, and no such thing as crossing the line in the outrageous and hilarious world of Saturday Night Live. Wrong! SNL creator and writer Lorne Michaels has a reputation for being displeased if guests go off script. So much for improv! Here are 10 people who were banned from Saturday Night Live.
The English singer-songwriter associated with the rise of British punk and new wave was scheduled to perform a scheduled line-up on the Dec. 17, 1977 episode of SNL. Instead, partway through the introduction to the song he was meant to sing, Costello switched to a different one, honoring a rebellious act by Jimi Hendrix on a BBC show. This switch in the script had Costello banned from SNL for 10 years.
Blake — who in recent years was charged with allegedly murdering his wife but found not guilty — hosted the Nov. 13, 1982 episode of SNL. Reportedly, Blake was so disapproving of the scripts he was given for the show that he crumpled them up and threw them in a writer’s face. He was banned from ever appearing on the show again.
Actor and comedian Chase was one of the members of the original SNL cast — the Not Ready For Primetime Players. Chase had a reputation for verbally abusing cast and crew, and for suggesting highly offensive sketch ideas. Chase was finally banned in 1997, making him the first cast member ever banned from the show.
Seagal, an action film star, writer and producer, was asked to host the April 20, 1991 episode of Saturday Night Live. According to SNL creator and writer Lorne Michaels, Seagal had terrible sketch ideas and was uncooperative with the cast and crew, which got him banned forever.
The actor and comedian hosted the Feb. 19, 1994 episode of SNL, on which he made crude comments about women’s genitalia and personal hygiene that were so offensive that NBC edited them out of reruns. The monologue got Lawrence banned from the show forever.
During a season eight episodes of SNL hosted by Drew Barrymore, audience members were asked to vote on whether or not comedian Andy Kaufman, known for doing character impersonations of Richard Nixon, should stay on the show. At the time, Kaufman was a regular on the show but the audience voted him off.
Lasser, an actress who was once married to Woody Allen, hosted the July 24, 1976 episode of SNL. Lasser was reportedly going through personal problems at the time, which were interfering with her performances and making her difficult to work with. The episode that Lasser hosted was reportedly so upsetting to producer Lorne Michaels, it was never shown again on NBC, and he had Lasser banned from ever hosting again.
Berle is considered the first major American TV star and he hosted the April 14, 1979 episode of SNL. Berle had a reputation for being bossy on set and trying to upstage fellow cast members. This behavior created a lot of tension on the SNL set. On his SNL episode, Berle even set up a pre-arranged standing ovation for himself, which the creators of the show had not approved. He was banned from ever appearing on the show again.
The actor who appears in several Wes Anderson films such as “The Darjeeling Limited” appeared on SNL on May 10, 2003. This would be his first TV work, but his last time on the show. The actor was banned for his improvised introduction of musical guest Sean Paul, while wearing fake dreadlocks. SNL producer Lorne Michaels has a reputation for being displeased if guests go off script.
Zappa is a musician, composer, recording engineer and film director ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” But the cast of SNL didn’t feel so warmly about him. Reportedly, Zappa’s anti-drug stance proved a problem for the SNL cast and crew. During Zappa’s performance with his band, he makes a point to let the audience and cameras know he’s reading from cue cards. This behavior got Zappa banned from the show.
Hip-Hop group brought their real life behaviors to their October 2, 1993 appearance a little too much. Dj Muggs smoked a joint during the performance, and at the end destroyed the stage area.
Another band that couldn’t leave their rock and roll ways off stage, The Replacements were so drunk during their 1986 appearance on SNL that they forgot the words to their own songs. Reportedly they yelled at the audience too, but that footage was cut.
Grodin’s creative choices (yeah, we’ll call them that) did not please the producers of SNL when he appeared on a third season episode. Grodin skipped rehearsals, showed up just moments before he was to go on the air, and made an off-color comment about a black comedian.
Musician O’ Connor made the mistake of bringing her political and religious beliefs to the stage during her 1992 appearance on SNL. After singing Bob Marley’s “War,” the singer took out a photo of the pope and ripped it up, yelling, “Fight the real enemy!” You’ll notice no applause in the clip because the director turned off the applause sign to keep the audience silent.
SNL might want to start getting all its music in-house. After cast member John Belushi convinced the producers to let his band Fear perform on a 1981 show, the band provoked a huge riot in the theater that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. The full video can be watched in our source.
This band raged against Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes during their 1996 performance. The band hung American flags upside down on their guitars–an act meant as a protest against Forbes. The band was immediately kicked off stage and off the show.
So former SNL cast member Macdonald was not banned from appearing on the show. However, due to his behind the scenes tension with NBC’s West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer during 1998, Macdonald’s ads for his soon-to-be released film “Dirty Work” were prohibited from the show’s advertisement.