Wednesday, March 07, 2012

10 Things You Didn't Know About Saturday Night Live

UPDATE: Added background info for #8 at the bottom...
===========================

Okay, so it's impossible for me to guarantee that you didn't know these 1o things, but I will say that you PROBABLY didn't know about them. =^)

1. When Richard Pryor hosted, they aired the episode on a 7-second delay. They didn't trust his potty mouth.

2. John Belushi injured a host (Buck Henry) during a Samurai sketch (he hit him with the sword).

2. During Bill Murray's first season (the second season of SNL), Bill Murray gave a personal appeal to the audience, saying that he wasn't funny on the show, and asked people to feel sorry for him and laugh (a bit that he wrote with Lorne Michaels when they realized that his humor wasn't coming across on the show). 

3. Lorne left at the end of the 79-80 season and was then re-hired in the 85-86 season. They hired him back because Dick Ebersol was leaving (Ebersol rode Eddie Murphy's success and then when Murphy and Piscopo left, he followed it up with one successful season of Martin Short and Billy Crystal; Ebersol left because he demanded that the show wasn't live anymore, because of how difficult it was... the producers refused and so he left). When Lorne got hired back, he decided to start from scratch and let the entire cast go (including Crystal and Short). Bonus bit: Billy Crystal got nixed from the first SNL episode back in 75 (he was a guest). His bit was too long, and his agent insisted that they couldn't cut the length. So Lorne cut the act. (So Lorne cut Crystal twice, but the first time made a lot more sense... he just couldn't fit the long bit in.)

4. SNL asked to vote whether or not to stop bringing Andy Kaufman onto the show. The audience voted against Andy (his wrestling act turned him into a villain).

5. At the end of the 1985 season (which didn't go so well), Lorne pleads for another season (another chance), and he ends the season with an episode where Billy Martin gets fired and sets fire to the stage, apparently killing some of the cast. Lorne rushes Jon Lovitz out of there, who is his star cast member. Behind the scenes, Jon was the only one that the producers and executives agreed had to come back. Dennis Miller and Nora Dunn also returned, but everyone else was cast fresh. This was actually not too far from Lorne's original plan. He hoped to bring in movie talent to get people to watch in 1985, and then he planned to phase them out and carry forward the fresh comedian talent. This was the beginning of a new system Lorne developed where he would carry forward the fresh talent, cut the talent that wasn't working out and work to redefine the show every few years with new talent. (Sure that sounds like common sense, but this was the first time anyone on SNL had pulled it off. There have been no reboots since then; just a natural ebb and flow of new talent added to the existing cast, which is why Lorne collects a lot of players when he foresees a potential mass exit, which is why he has a lot of fresh talent this year.)

6. After being fired from Lorne (during his first season, in 85-86), Damon Wayans came back onto the show (last show of the same season) to do a standup monologue.

7. Ben Stiller appeared on the show and left. He later developed his Emmy-winning Ben Stiller Show.

8. Jeannine Garofolao was talked into joining the show, but she immediately had creative differences and frustrations with Adam Sandler and his friends.

===

And some more background info about #8...

It's not a rumor. Sandler and Garofalo have been quoted in several books and magazines to support this.

In the DVD, "Funny People", Judd and Adam are hanging out more-so with Ben Stiller (I'm pretty sure Garofalo isn't in it, but she might be seen a little since they're producing the Ben Stiller Show, and she's in it). That is from 92-93 after Stiller got frustrated with SNL and left (after only a few episodes). (The frustration with SNL is that you have to do your time for a few years and build your audience when you can before you're on the top and can experiment more and do what you want more.)

So Stiller didn't have the patience for that, he left, and he started his Emmy winning show (Ben Stiller Show), which was also worked on by Judd and Garofalo. So the clip from Funny People was while Stiller and Judd were making that show. (It actually took Sandler longer than Farley and Rob Schneider to become a regular player because he didn't strike as quickly with memorable characters.)

Garofalo didn't really start being frustrated with Sandler until 94-95 when she joined SNL. By then Sandler and crew were on the top of the show, doing whatever they wanted, and she was entering into that world. What that meant is that she was being written into these sexual immature skits constantly and she saw it as too low-brow humor (it was very low-brow when Sandler, Farley, and Spade were on top). And they pretty much had a team of writers supporting them with their style of humor (the team now writes and produces for Sandler's films).

So Garofalo's frustration was with all the writers and the main immature actors on SNL (Sandler was at the top; she had the most arguments with him, but all of them frustrated her). She didn't want to be part of it, and so she left during her first season (only 14 episodes). It wasn't long (the end of the same 94-95 season) before the studio producers (one level above Lorne and his crew) got frustrated with it too and let both Sandler and Farley go at the end of the same season (even though Sandler and Farley were the most popular players and still had time on their contracts). (Rob had already left to try to get into films; they kept Spade on for one more season.)

Enjoy!

- TAE

7 comments:

X-tina Smith said...

nice! thank you for that piece of information!

Anonymous said...

Is the last one not a rumor? In the extras of one of Judd Apatow & Adam Sandler's movie ( I think w/ Seth Rogen), it shows Adam, Judd and Janeane Garofalo hanging out, with Adam prank calling people. From what they said about it, it was common for them to hang out. Thanks for all of the great information! : )

Anonymous said...

*movies

The Animation Empire said...

#8... not a rumor. Sandler and Garofalo have been quoted in several books and magazines to support this. In the DVD, "Funny People", Judd and Adam are hanging out more-so with Ben Stiller. That is from 92-93 after Stiller got frustrated with SNL and left (after only a few episodes). (The frustration with SNL is that you have to do your time for a few years and build your audience when you can before you're on the top and can experiment more and do what you want more.) So Stiller didn't have the patience for that, he left, and he started his Emmy winning show (Ben Stiller Show), which was also worked on by Judd and Garofalo. So the clip you saw was while Stiller and Judd were making that show. (It actually took Sandler longer than Farley and Rob Schneider to become a regular player because he didn't strike as quickly with memorable characters.) Garofalo didn't really start being frustrated with Sandler until 94-95 when she joined SNL. By then Sandler and crew were on the top of the show, doing whatever they wanted, and she was entering into that world. What that meant is that she was being written into these sexual immature skits constantly and she saw it as too low-brow humor (it was very low-brow when Sandler, Farley, and Spade were on top). And they pretty much had a team of writers supporting them with their style of humor (the team now writes and produces for Sandler's films). So Garofalo's frustration was with all the writers and the main immature actors on SNL (Sandler was at the top; she had the most arguments with him, but all of them frustrated her). She didn't want to be part of it, and so she left during her first season (only 14 episodes). It wasn't long (the end of the same 94-95 season) before the studio producers (one level above Lorne and his crew) got frustrated with it too and let both Sandler and Farley go at the end of the same season (even though they were the most popular players and still had time on their contracts). (Rob had already left; they kept Spade on for one more season.)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thanks for the detailed information on #8! You rock! Thanks also for not being a stinker when answering my question, some people may have been mean about it; I appreciate your informative kindness! = )

* I wonder if that's partially why Paul Brittain left. It said because of film opportunities, etc, but I don't completely buy it. It's sad, b/c I think he's amazing! I think this group has been incredibly funny and am/was very happy with the full cast. All four of the newbies are/were hilarious additions. Paul left too soon. : (

The Animation Empire said...

Anony,

I was just thinking this! Paul Brittain is said to have left "to explore other projects." It sounds like he fell victim to what so many before him did. The first people to complain were in the 75-76 season (the very first). Garett Morris felt like the writers never wrote for him (he was right). Laraine Newman felt the same thing (also right). The only woman the writers wrote for was Gilda Radner, and it was because she had the flair that Kristen Wiig and others had. Gilda would write her own skits and slowly prove herself to the writers, who would then write for her too (the formula that Wiig, Oteri, and Poehler used). Plus Gilda was part of the National Lampoon radio show, along with Aykroyd, Chase, Belushi, and the head writer, Michael O'Donaghue. So she was already familiar with the cool kids, and they were all friends and clicked well together. (Lorne was actually accused of basically hiring out all of Lampoon, and ironically the other players from the Lampoon radio show that he didn't get were Christopher Guest, Bill Murray, and Brian-Doyle Murray, who competed on the rival show, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, and of course all three later joined SNL.) The next season (75-76), Bill Murray felt it (Bill's rival Cosell show flopped after 14 episodes, and he was hired to replace Chase, who left to make movies). Bill entered the show with the writers already knowing the other players. And so he couldn't get the writers to write for him (Aykroyd wrote him in as a supporting actor, but that's all he could get), and Bill wasn't used to writing his own stuff. Finally he told Lorne that he's really funny (in a funny way) and deserves a skit of his own, and Lorne responded by telling him to do what he just did as a short monologue. He did (#2 above, explaining how he's actually funny to the audience), which warmed the fans to him and got the writers on his side more. In the 80-81 season, Gilbert Gottfried complained that no one wrote for him. Fast forward to 85-86, when Damon Wayans was frustrated that he didn't get his own skits (no one was writing for him, and he only got a small handful of his own skits through), so he made a skit about him (playing a gay cop), which got him fired. Later in 90-91, Chris Rock started his SNL career, which he later called very frustrating. No one wrote for him, and when he wrote for himself, he had to write himself as a stereotype in order to get any skits through. He left at the end of the 92-93 season and went to work at In Living Color as an occasional guest player instead. He said he felt a lot more freedom on In Living Color, but one thing he liked about SNL is that the original writers were given credit and ownership/authority with their skits. On In Living Color, they might decide to do your skit without you if you're not around. Jay Mohr started in 93-94. After being a featured player for two seasons, he wanted a bump up to a regular player. When told that he would be a featured player again (right before his third season would start), he walked out and quit. In 03-04, Finesse Mitchell started. He's an incredibly funny comedian, and he managed to become a regular player two years later, but it was also his last season... he felt like he wasn't being written for, and he couldn't compete with all the new players pushing their skit ideas. In 09-10, Jenny Slate had her only season. Jenny's online videos are hilarious. But she got almost nothing of hers on the show... no one wrote for her and the reason that her online skits are hilarious is half because of her writing partner, who was not writing for SNL.
Thanks!

- TAE

Anonymous said...

Thanks TAE! = ) I appreciate your posts!

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