On live television, anything can happen. Actors, comedians, public figures, and musicians each did something so edgy and profane that they were banned from Saturday Night Live forever.
It might be a surprise that in over 40 years of the show being on air, hundreds of performers and guests got the ax. There was a famous incident when one musician ripped a photo of the Pope, and a lot of folks just took things a bit too far. Their outrageous behavior was too much for Lorne Michaels to welcome them back again.
Louise Lasser Was The First One To Be Banned
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The actress was the first of many to get the heave-ho. Lasser was described as being incoherent during her hosting appearance in the first season.
As if showing up to host under some kind of influence wasn’t bad enough, someone found Lasser crawling through the offices looking for drugs.
Steven Segal Isn’t So Nice Afterall
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The actor went from top action star to be the biggest jerk to ever be on the show. When Segal was slated to host in April 1991, he wasn’t very nice to the cast and the crew.
That was enough to annoy Michaels as Segal was nearly shown the door in favor of a host-less show.
Cypress Hill Disobeyed The Shows Zero Tolerance Policy
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Lorne Michaels has a zero-tolerance policy for the use of alcohol and drugs on the set. Leave it to a rap group called Cypress Hill to disobey that policy.
DJ Muggs didn’t care and lit up a joint during their song “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That.” The trio did go out like that, and never returned to the stage. Another band just ahead suffered the same fate as these guys, but their lead singer got a shot of redemption.
Adrian Brody Went-Off Script When Introducing The Musical Guest
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The Pianist star went-off script during the first and only time he hosted the show. The Oscar winner appeared on stage with dreadlocks and a bad accent when he introduced Sean Paul.
It didn’t take long for the actor to get dirty looks and a permanent goodbye afterward.
Martin Lawrence Pushed Boundaries During His Opening Monologue
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The stand-up comedian was quick to point out the racial makeup of the in-studio audience.
Lawrence then tested the patience of the censors, producers, and women around the world during his rant in the opening monologue. It didn’t take long for Lawrence to share his opinion on 90s women and their apparent declining hygiene habits.
The Replacements Couldn’t Keep It Together
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Similar to Cypress Hill, the punk rock band failed to follow Michael’s policy. The band members were quite tipsy when they sang, but the tipping point was when singer Paul Westerberg cursed on lived television.
Years later, tensions cooled and Westerberg returned as a solo musical guest. Still on the way, the Irish musician who protested against the Catholic Church by changing the lyrics of Bob Marley’s ‘War.’
Chevy Chase Wasn’t Well-Liked
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One of the most popular original cast members, Chase got a ‘soft ban’ on February 15, 1997. The first cast member to host Weekend Update didn’t get along with other members of the show during his numerous hosting gigs.
Despite the ban, Chase returned to his old anchor desk during the shows 40th-anniversary special.
Andy Kaufman Was Banned By The Fans
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Comedian Andy Kaufman rose to fame with his Mighty Mouse routine on SNL. But, he wasn’t banned by producers, but by the fans.
NBC received complaints about the funny-man, forcing the network to allow fans to vote by a 1-900 number. Fans spoke and Kaufman never returned to Studio 8H.
Sinead O’Connor’s Infamous Incident Was Edited Out Of Repeats Of The Show
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The bald musician started her protest against the Catholic Church by changing the lyrics of Bob Marley’s ‘War.’
O’Connor talked about child abuse and teared up a photo of Pope John Paul II at the end of the song. Lorne Michaels ordered not to have the applause light on, and the Irish musician was never invited back again. Just ahead, a rock band who made their political statement when then-Republican presidential hopeful Steve Forbes hosted.
Robert Blake Threw A Script On The Set
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Years before he was wrongly accused of murdering his wife, Robert Blake was a bit of a grouch on the show.
Blake didn’t see eye-to-eye with the cast, producers, or writers. To make matters worse, the actor threw a script in the face of cast member Gary Kroeger. He fulfilled his obligation to host but never returned since the incident.
Charles Grodin Used Ad-Libs And Broke Character
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Before he became a political television commentator, Grodin was a well-known comedian who had a knack to piss off a lot of people.
The comedian-turned-commentator did this during his SNL hosting gig where he ad-libbed a majority of his performance. Things didn’t get any better when Grodin broke character and caused a stir.
Rage Against The Machine
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The rock band made their political statement when then-Republican presidential hopeful Steve Forbes hosted.
Before performing “Bulls On Parade,” the boys from Los Angeles hung the American flag upside down from their gear and amps. Crew members stepped in to remove the flags and the band from the stage. Sometimes, being a musician is better than acting. One rock star found that out the hard way, and that’s around the corner.
Norm MacDonald Pushed Too Many Buttons
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The writer and cast member always liked to push buttons. The Canadian’s jokes on Weekend Update were a bit controversial, especially his comments about John Lotter and Michael Jackson.
Eventually, he was removed from doing Weekend Update due to poor ratings. Many believe it was more of his style of satire.
David Bowie Was Briefly Band For Three Years
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The problem with Bowie being banned had to do with Michaels once again. This was a concern for the executive since he confronted the musician about his drug binges in the eighties.
But, his Scary Monsters album reminded Michaels of his brief departure from the show, and he welcomed Bowie back.
Frank Zappa Was A Better Musician Than A Host
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The host and musical guest didn’t make many friends. Zappa didn’t mesh with anyone, then mugged for the camera as he made it obvious that he was reading cue cards.
Not only was Zappa banned, but most of the cast members refused to interact with the performer at the end of the show. Coming up, taking aim at mainstream broadcasting got one British rocker banned for nearly two decades.
Milton Berle’s Ego Was A Bit Too Much
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The comedian and actor is a legend — there’s no doubt about it. But, his ego certainly got in the way of the night he hosted.
Berle spent his time upstaging everyone on the set, even taking control of the whole show. It didn’t help that he went off-script during the telecast, leading to his eventual ax from hosting.
Andrew Dice Clay Was Boycotted
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Dice Clay was known for his sexist, greaser guy persona. When he was asked to host, several female cast members boycotted.
Nora Dunn refused to be on the show with him, and even Sinead O’Connor boycotted too. It didn’t take long for an audience member to call the comedian a “monster” during the show’s opening.
Elvis Costello Took Shots At Mainstream Broadcasting
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Costello stopped his band moments into their song “Less Than Zero.” The English rock musician played “Radio Radio,” which was critical of mainstream broadcasting.
Despite being banned for over two decades, Costello made his triumphant returned in 1999. The Beastie Boys paired up with him to perform the song that gave him the boot.
Fear Was John Belushi’s Fault
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John Belushi was a big fan of the band Fear. The actor went as far as getting the punk-rock band to be the musical guest.
Little did Belushi know that the band would cause hell. The situation was so bad that their audio was cut for swearing in their songs. The cost of the damage with everyone they brought on stage came to $200,000.
Ashlee Simpson Had A Performance To Forget
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The younger sister of Jessica, Ashlee had a performance she would want to do over. Unfortunately, the music and singing started before she did.
Simpson did a quick dance before running off the stage. She went back to the stage at the end of the show, but wasn’t welcomed back afterward.