These Stars All Were Allegedly Banned from Saturday Night Live
These stars never appeared on the show again following controversial hosting or performance gigs.
Being invited to appear on “Saturday Night Live” is a huge honor for any celebrity. Whether they’re hosting or performing on the late night show, it often marks a milestone moment in their career. But even though a spot on “SNL” is pretty prestigious, some stars don’t always end up being a great fit for the show.
Since “SNL” debuted in 1975, a number of actors and musicians have actually been banned from ever returning to the show thanks to some questionable behavior, both on and off screen. While some broke the rules as the show aired, others proved to be too difficult to deal with before the weekend even rolled around. But regardless of their alleged actions, these celebs are no longer welcome at “Saturday Night Live.”
Find out who won’t be invited back to “SNL”….
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1. Sinead O’Connor
Sinead O’Connor was banned from NBC for life after an incident during her performance on “Saturday Night Live” in 1992. After singing an a cappella cover of Bob Marley’s “War,” Sinead held up a photo of Pope John Paul II and tore it in half. To her, the photo “represented lies and liars and abuse” but the stunt had not been approved by the show. The network reportedly received thousands of calls from unhappy viewers but Sinead says she doesn’t regret her decision.
“A lot of people say or think that tearing up the pope’s photo derailed my career. That’s not how I feel about it. I feel that having a number-one record derailed my career and my tearing the photo put me back on the right track. I had to make my living performing live again. And that’s what I was born for. I wasn’t born to be a pop star. You have to be a good girl for that. Not be too troubled … After SNL I could just be me. Do what I love. Be imperfect. Be mad, even. Anything…So, far from the pope episode destroying my career, it set me on a path that fit me better,” Sinead wrote in her memoir “Rememberings.”
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2. Rage Against The Machine
In 1996, political rockers Rage Against The Machine were booked to be the musical guest on “SNL” the same night that billionaire publisher and former presidential hopeful Steve Forbes hosted the show. The group wanted to make a statement during their performance but knew it had to be more subtle than usual and decided on hanging American flags upside down on stage. The stunt was discovered just seconds before the band went live and the flags were quickly removed by stagehands. Afterwards, the band was not permitted to perform a second song and was asked to leave the premises.
“We knew that he was going to be making a statement — it was going to be all about how charming to have a billionaire telling these jokes and promoting his flat tax. And we wanted to stand in sharp juxtaposition to that by making our own statement…’Saturday Night Live’ censored Rage, period and they could not have sucked up to the billionaire more,” guitarist Tom Morello told the LA Times.
At the time, Lorne Michaels simply said, “We really enjoyed having Rage Against the Machine on our show.”
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3. Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence received a temporary ban from “SNL” network NBC following a controversial opening monologue when he hosted the show in 1994. While kicking off the episode, he poked fun at what the censors had warned him not to say before going on a bizarre and graphic rant about feminine hygiene.
“I don’t give a damn … I’m not banned from ‘SNL.’ They banned me from NBC at the time for a minute. But then they realized the way it went down wasn’t what they thought and then they sent me an apology letter,” Martin said on the “Breakfast Club.”
4. Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill was permanently banned from “Saturday Night Live” after breaking a rule during their performance. Before they got on stage the group says they were told they could do whatever they wanted in the green room but weren’t allowed to “light up” anywhere else — especially on stage. Muggs decided that despite the warning from the network, as well as their record label, he wanted to stand his ground during the performance.
“I felt like, to me, Muggs wanted to make that statement. He asked me to light the joint up on stage, and I said, ‘I’m not doing that, man.’ Before we did that second song, we agreed that we weren’t going to light up nothing. If you look, I was surprised that he did that…When the hammer swung and we were banned from ‘Saturday Night Live’ forever, we understood how serious it was. And understandably so — the world wasn’t ready for anything near that at that time…In the early ’90s, it earned us a kick in the ass from ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and I haven’t seen that episode in reruns. It would have been cool to do ‘Saturday Night Live’ again, but me personally, I didn’t think it was a great thing to do for our first time on ‘SNL,’ but we paid the price and we moved on,” Sen Dog told Village Voice.
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5. Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal was never invited back to “Saturday Night Live” after hosting the show in 1991. The actor simply didn’t mesh with the show’s brand of comedy and reportedly refused to make fun of himself. On top of that, some behind-the-scenes staff say that Steven treated everyone pretty poorly. Lorne Michaels even went as far as to call Steven the “worst host ever” during Nicolas Cage’s monologue in a later episode.
“He just wasn’t funny and he was very critical of the cast and the writing staff. He didn’t realize that you can’t tell somebody they’re stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday,” Tim Meadows wrote in “Live From New York.”
6. The Replacements
The Replacements were a last minute addition to an episode of “Saturday Night Live” back in 1986 and things definitely didn’t go as the network expected. The visibly drunk band’s performance included missed cues, bum notes, stumbling across the stage, and a few on stage obscenities. While it got them banned from the show, bassist Tommy Stinson says it’s a performance that truly “encapsulates” the band.
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7. Robert Blake
Robert Blake was the host of “Saturday Night Live” in 1982 but was reportedly banned from the show afterwards for how poorly he treated the writing staff. During the week leading up to the live show, Robert turned down sketches, including one called “Breezy Philosopher” about a tough-guy teacher who taught while combing his hair and looking cool. He is said to have crumpled up the script and thrown it at the writer.
“He was sitting in a room, and a sketch was handed to him by Gary Kroeger, who was a writer-actor. [He] read that [sketch], with his glasses down his nose, then wadded it up, turned to Kroeger and said, ‘I hope you got a tough a-hole, pal, ’cause you’re going to have to wipe your ass with that one,'” writer David Sheffield said in “Live From New York.”
8. Frank Zappa
Back in 1978, Frank Zappa hosted and was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” but he definitely didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. During the final dress rehearsal before the live broadcast, things reportedly went horribly and when it came time to film, it didn’t get any better. Frank told viewers he was reading from cue cards and appeared to lazily recite his lines. “SNL” writer and performer Don Novello went as far as to say the show was “one of the worst ever.”
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