Saturday Night Live, the live comedy sketch show known for its vivacious cast members and ability to see the humor in current events and societal values, has been on air since 1975. While the show has been at the center of controversy more than once during its four decade long run, loyal fans return to watch new cast members make them laugh every Saturday night.
But in the show’s history of celebrity guest hosts and slapstick-humored skits, several Hollywood stars have been banned from reappearing on the show. So what exactly warrants a ban from one of televisions most notoriously inappropriate shows? Read to find out!
Here are 12 Celebrities Who Are Banned From Saturday Night Live.
12 Milton Berle
An actor that appeared on popular televisions shows such as Batman, I Dream of Jeannie and The Love Boat, Milton Berle started his acting career in 1914 and continued until 2000 when his last film, the TV movie Kenan & Kel: Two Heads Are Better Than None was released. Unfortunately, he died in 2002 at the age of ninety-three.
While his career was on the rise, he hosted SNL in 1979 for the first, and last, time. Berle reportedly took over the entire production, upstaging other characters, inserting a standing ovation (not sanctioned by the Lorne Michaels – SNL’s long-time producer) and causing a general stressed environment during rehearsals and the show itself. Not surprisingly, he never returned to the SNL stage.
11 Robert Blake
Best known for his roles in Baretta (1975), Lost Highway (1997) and Money Train (1995), Robert Blake was a Golden Globe winning actor who walked away from his career soon after the latter’s release. In 2001, Blake returned to the spotlight, though for all the wrong reasons. Blake’s wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, was murdered. While he was arrested for the murder (and made no secret of his dislike for Bakley), he was eventually acquitted in a high profile trial.
Blake hosted SNL in 1982, and was deemed “uncooperative” by both the cast and the crew. He reportedly disliked the scripts given to him, to the extent that he crumpled one up and threw it in a cast member/writer’s face (Gary Kroeger). He was consequentially banned from the show.
10 Adrien Brody
Best known for his roles in The Pianist (2002), King Kong (2005) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), this Oscar-winning actor, director and writer is still very much in the Hollywood spotlight, pleasing audiences with his work today.
However, back in 2003 when he hosted SNL, things weren’t quite as successful for Brody. He gave an improvised introduction (something Lorne Michaels reportedly detests) in which he wore faux dreadlocks in honor of reggae musical guest, Sean Paul. Since this unscripted performance, Brody hasn’t been invited back to the SNL stage. However, he was impersonated in 2012 by Taran Killam and his detested improvised intro does appear on reruns of the episode.
9 Chevy Chase
Part of the original cast of SNL back in 1975, Chevy Chase was the first to host Weekend Update, and from there, his career skyrocketed. Most famous for his role as Clark Griswold in the Vacation films, Chase has also starred in such hits as Caddyshack (1980) and on the TV show Community (2009-2014).
However, Chase would become the first cast member to banned from hosting SNL. While he has made several appearances on the show since his ban, suggesting he and Lorne Michaels still maintain a friendly relationship, Chase hasn’t hosted the show since 1997, when he reportedly slapped Cheri Oteri in the back of the head, provoking then cast member, Will Ferrell, to report the incident to Michaels, despite Chase’s insisting it was a joke.
Other feuds included one with Bill Murray (who had replaced him a year before their fight) and with Terry Sweeney, whom Chase verbally abused, though again, it was masked as a joke. Still, it was enough to earn Chase a ban from hosting the show. Nevertheless, he did make an appearance on last year's 40th Anniversary Special.
8 Elvis Costello
A musician best known for songs such as Man Out of Time and Alison, though he’s appeared as an actor in films such as Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006).
Costello was a musical guest on SNL in 1977, and despite having a pre-approved set list for the show’s performances, Costello made a last minute change without notifying Michaels, shocking the audience and cast members in switching to "Radio, Radio," which is a song that takes an unmasked jab at corporate-controlled broadcasting. The stunt resulted in a ban from SNL, though in 1989, the ban was lifted and Costello returned to the SNL stage.
7 Charles Grodin
An actor and writer known for his work in Beethoven (1992), Midnight Run (1988) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Charles Grodin has been around Hollywood for quite some time. The now 80-year-old actor has recently starred as Dr. Bigelow on Louie and will play Carl Shapiro in the upcoming TV movie, Madoff.
Grodin hosted SNL back in 1977, but was banned immediately after and hasn’t yet reappeared on the show. The reason behind his ban: his improvised, ad-libbed performance that the cast described as clumsy, much to Michael’s dismay. So, Grodin joined the list of banned celebrities from the SNL stage.
6 Andy Kaufman
The celeb best known for his role in Taxi (1978) actually grew in popularity due to his performances on the SNL stage. He was frequently invited back, though many of his skits were controversial, including one in specific in which he would pull female audience members (volunteers) on stage and wrestle them.
In 1983, Kaufman underwent one of the oddest bans in SNL history. The frequent guest star’s fate was left up to audiences, as then executive-producer, Dick Ebersol, put Kaufman’s appearances up to a vote – the audience would either ban him from the show, or vote to keep him around. In a surprising turn of events, audiences voted to ban him, much to the cast members’ dismay.
Unfortunately, in 1984, Kaufman passed away from lung cancer, which had spread to his brain; he never returned to the SNL stage.
5 Louise Lasser
Louise Lasser was Woody Allen’s second wife, thus appearing in films such as Take the Money and Run (1969) and Bananas (1971). She is still in the spotlight today, most recently on the show Girls (2014-2015) as Beadie.
Lasser became the first host to ever be banned from SNL due to her inability to work with the cast and reported difficult behavior. She hosted the show at the end of the very first season in 1976, and the broadcast ended up being one of Michaels’ greatest disappointments. Lasser was apparently going through personal troubles at the time, and throughout the show, it was difficult to understand her. Not only that, but Lasser also refused to appear in sketches with other cast members - the only exception being Chevy Chase.
4 Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence, best known for his role in Bad Boys (1995) and Bad Boys II (2003) alongside Will Smith, is an American actor/comedian who got his start in the early 90s on his show, Martin (1992-1997). It was also recently announced that Lawrence will be reprising his role in the upcoming Bad Boys 3 and 4 films set to release in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
About a year before he made it big with Smith in Bad Boys, Lawrence hosted SNL (1994) and gave an opening monologue that was considered offensive due to his comments about female genitalia. This monologue has been edited out in reruns of the show, and many SNL cast members almost lost their jobs in the aftermath.
3 Sinead O’Connor
An Irish singer/songwriter, perhaps most popular for her album The Lion and the Cobra, Sinead O’Connor appeared on the SNL stage twice as a musical guest, once in 1990 and once in 1992. Her first appearance went without a hitch, but her second performance didn’t go nearly as well.
O’Connor performed an a capella version Bob Marley’s "War" and, unbeknownst to the cast and crew, had her own agenda in which she planned to protest sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. She changed the lyrics to fit her cause and went so far as to hold up a photo of Pope John Paul II and tear it in half in front of the camera, stating: “fight the real enemy.”
The stunt would go down in history as one of the most shocking, leaving cast and crew confused as to how to proceed, and audience members in complete silence.
2 Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal, best known for his films Under Siege (1992) and Above the Law (1998), is an American actor, producer, writer and director that has an abundance of films slotted for release this year. Still, he will go down in history as one of the worst SNL hosts ever.
He hosted the show in the spring of 1991, though due to his “bad” sketch ideas and complete inability to work together with the cast and crew, the episode is widely regarded as one of the wors in SNL history. Though Michaels has since gone on to take some of the blame, claiming the entire week was an off one, and the terrible episode wasn’t entirely Seagal’s fault. Nevertheless, he was still banned from the show, though he’s been impersonated many times.
1 Frank Zappa
The American musician and film director was invited to the show as a musical guest in 1976 and as a host in 1978. While his musical performance during the first show went relatively well, his hosting stint the second time around left bad feelings with the cast and crew, and he would never be invited back to the SNL stage.
The main reason for the discord between the groups was Zappa’s rigid, anti-drug stance, which was quite the opposite of the SNL cast’s lax feelings towards the topic. To top it off, Zappa would frequently stare at the camera, often mentioning that he was reading his lines from cue cards. Zappa died in 1993, and his SNL ban held true his whole life.
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