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Stars Who Got Banned From 'Saturday Night Live'

Stars Who Got Banned From 'Saturday Night Live'

Saturday Night Live has featured tons of fantastic guest stars in its nearly 50 year run, but not everyone is welcome back to Studio 8H.

From controversial performers who pulled off something shocking on stage to actors and comedians who had confrontations on and off-screen, there are some stars who have done or said something controversial enough to be banned from hosting or performing on the show ever again.

From Sinead O’Connor to Adrien Brody to Martin Lawrence, a surprising amount of talent has been told not to come back.

We’ve rounded up some of the celebrities who are no longer welcome at Saturday Night Live.

Find out which stars have hilariously broken character during SNL sketches.

Keep reading to find out who was banned from SNL…

Adrien Brody red carpet in suit

1. Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody hosted the show in 2003, and when he was introducing Sean Paul, he went off-script with an improvised Jamaican accent. He also wore a dreadlock wig. Lorne Michaels reportedly was unhappy with the improvised intro to the reggae singer’s performance.

2. Sinead O’Connor

In what is perhaps the most well-known case of an artist being banned from the show, Sinead O’Connor performed in October of 1992. During the performance, she ripped a photo of Pope John Paul II in half while singing Bob Marley‘s “War” in protest of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse scandals and its role in perpetuating oppression.

Joe Pesci would later address the incident a week later in his monologue, and re-runs of the show included her rehearsal footage.

“I think it was really important and artistic…for an Irish female Catholic survivor of child abuse, to have made such an artistic and spiritual gesture really was very important,” she later told WSJ.

Find out more about the bold protest that sparked controversy.

Frank Zappa performing

3. Frank Zappa

While hosting the show in 1978, Frank adapted a cooler-than-this attitude, telling the audience that he was reading from cue cards, lazily reciting his lines and acting disinterested throughout the show. Writer Don Novello called the show “one of the worst ever.”

Elvis Costello performing

4. Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello and the Attractions were playing “Less Than Zero” during the show in December of 1977 in their second performance o the night.

“Stop! I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, there’s no reason to do this song here,” he suddenly announced before they performed “Radio Radio” instead. The switch-up had to do with a battle he was having with his record label, not anyone at SNL. While it got him banned, he wasn’t disinvited forever: he returned in 1989 and parodied the stunt by interrupting the Beastie Boys‘ performance.

Cypress Hill poses together

5. Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill caused a lot of controversy when band member DJ Muggs smoked a joint onstage during the group’s 1993 performance.

“Yo, New York City! They said I couldn’t light my joint! But we ain’t goin’ out like that,” he said before lighting it up, getting the group banned immediately.

“I remember Saturday Night Live gave us a green room and said, ‘Do whatever you want in here, just don’t light up out of here’. Muggs felt like he needed to make a statement with his performance. It wasn’t just the Saturday Night Live people saying he couldn’t smoke up on air. It was everyone: our record label, our management, our friends. I felt like, to me, Muggs wanted to make that statement,” said the group’s Sen Dog to The Village Voice.

6. Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal just didn’t have a good relationship behind-the-scenes.

“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,” said Tim Meadows. Lorne Michaels even dissed him in a later show hosted by Nicolas Cage, who said in his monologue he was worried about being seen as the biggest jerk. “No, no. That would be Steven Seagal,” Lorne responded.

Zack de la Rocha performing

7. Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine was paired with Steve Forbes during their show in 1996. The band decided to take a stand against the billionaire and conservative presidential candidate by hanging an American flag upside-down on stage over their amp. A stagehand saw it and removed it right before their performance of “Bulls on Parade.” Producers told them to leave right after their set, and they didn’t even get to perform a second song.

8. Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence hosted the show in 1994, and his monologue caused some severe controversy.

During the segment, he spoke about the then-recent John and Lorena Bobbitt incident, and then improvised a rant about feminine hygiene. The comments were removed and replaced by a voiceover in future broadcasts: “At this point in his monologue, Martin begins a commentary on what he considers the decline in standards of feminine hygiene in this country. Although we at Saturday Night Live take no stand on this issue one way or the other, network policy prevents us from re-broadcasting this portion of his remarks. In summary, Martin feels, or felt at the time, that the failure of many young women to bathe thoroughly is a serious problem that demands our attention. He explores this problem, citing numerous examples from his personal experience, and ends by proposing several imaginative solutions.”

Robert Blake smiling

9. Robert Blake

The Baretta star hosted the show in 1982, and was extremely rude to the writing team, according to staffers at the time.

“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,’” recalled writer David Sheffield in Live From New York. He then threw the script at the writer, and it bounced off his face. David called him the worst host ever.

10. Andy Kaufman

The late comedian routinely made appearances on SNL, including his famous “Mighty Mouse” routine. Eventually, his penchant for wrestling women reportedly made then-producer Dick Ebersol mad. And in 1983 the show launched a poll to either “Keep Andy” or “Dump Andy” to determine whether or not he should continue to be invited back. By a count of 195,544 to 169,186, fans decided he should be banned from the show. He never appeared again prior to his death.

11. Milton Berle

The comedian hosted the show in 1979 after rising to television fame in the ’50s as the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theatre, and according to reports, he came in with a pompous attitude.

“He came in with the attitude, ‘I am TV.’ Not ‘I used to be TV,’ but ‘I AM TV,’” one writer recalled. He also pitched a sketch by saying “this might be over your heads.”

He also attempted to get cheap laughs during the show with funny faces, and promoted his new book during the show.

12. Louise Lasser

The Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman star hosted the second to last episode of the first season in 1976. She reportedly locked herself in her dressing room just before the show began, forcing cast members to take up the roles until she finally agreed to come out and perform. She did only one complete sketch with a cast member, Chevy Chase.

Replacements Tommy Stimson on stage

13. The Replacements

The band came in as a last-minute replacement for The Pointer Sisters, true to their band name.

They performed “Kiss Me on the Bus” while visibly drunk and out of it while missing cues, then played “Bastards of Young,” as frontman Paul Westerberg yelled “Come on f–ker.” Their bass player Tommy Stinson later said that disastrous performance embodied the band.

Charles Grodin on red carpet

14. Charles Grodin

The Rosemary’s Baby star hosted the show in 1977, but he skipped rehearsals ahead of time, and attempted to adlib lines after arriving late.

He also apparently did not try to fit in with the cast, including John Belushi who said: He doesn’t smoke dope…he’s not one of us.”

Find out which stars broke character during SNL.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Adrien Brody, EG, Longform