Saturday Night Live Hosts Who Were NOT Invited Back

Jun 03, 2020Hayden

Saturday Night Live is an American institution. First airing in 1975, the show has stood the test of time, multiple cast members, multiple producers, and is still relevant today. One key feature of the format is that every week, there is a different celebrity guest host and musical act. Some guests, like Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin, have been back many times. However, some guests were never invited back. Who are they? Why were they not brought back? Let's get started!

Frank Zappa

The first person on the list is Frank Zappa. He had been a musical guest in 1976, and with the 1978 release of his album Shiek Yerbouti, they invited him to be a guest host. This did not go well for the iconoclastic Zappa.

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He refused to attend rehearsals and didn't enjoy interacting with the cast. Zappa had a famous stance against illegal substances, and there is some speculation that may have played a role. He also mugged for the camera, said on live TV that he was reading from cue cards, and was upset that they wouldn't let him write his own dialogue.

Sinead O'Connor

One of the most famous incidents in the long history of Saturday Night Live occurred on October 3, 1992. Singer Sinead O'Connor sang an a capella version of Bob Marley's War. She then pulled out a picture of Pope John Paul II and tore it up on camera.

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O'Connor told the camera (and audience) "Fight the real enemy." This incident would have far-ranging consequences for her career. She was immediately banned from Saturday Night Live, and many other celebrities spoke out against her. 

Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live from the 1975 season. He left after one season, and has been banned several times. Chase is famously difficult behind the scenes, and in his 1997 guest host stint, he proved problematic once again.

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In the week leading up to his appearance, he was apparently seen as mean and arrogant, with Will Ferrell referring to him as, "The worst guest host". The final straw came when he slapped cast member Sheri O'Teri on the back of the head. Lorne Michaels banned him and he hasn't been invited back, except for one very brief appearance.

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton hosted Saturday Night Live in 2005. She was widely considered to be one of the worst hosts of all-time and had "a vapid presence" behind the scenes, according to Tina Fey. Tina Fey had some strong words when describing Paris Hilton's performance.

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She told Howard Stern, "(They thought)Maybe she’ll be fun, maybe she won’t take herself so seriously.‘ She takes herself so seriously! She’s unbelievably dumb and so proud of how dumb she is." Needless to say, Paris won't be back.

Rage Against The Machine

The producers of Saturday Night Live had to know that this wouldn't go well. In an episode of the show in April 1996, they had the band Rage Against The Machine as the musical guest on the show. The band is famous for their politically charged lyrics, particularly pertaining to corporate America.

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The producers' error was to put the band on when Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes was the guest host. Not surprisingly to anyone who was paying attention, this was a bad idea. The band hung American flags upside-down during their performance in protest of Forbes, and they were escorted out by Lorne Michaels.

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence was banned from Saturday Night Live in 1994. He was at the peak of his sitcom's success, and the showrunners allowed him to write his own monologue. That monologue was considered to be so offensive that they actually pulled it from syndication and banned him from the show.

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Recently, Lawrence has claimed that he is NOT banned from the show and that NBC actually banned him. He told The Source, “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.”

Andy Kaufman

One of the more famous bannings of a celebrity guest was that of Andy Kaufman. Kaufman had a bizarre standup act that involved everything from an Elvis impression to reading the entire book The Great Gatsby on stage. He made 16 appearances on the show, until 1982.

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That year, the show did a live, on-air vote of viewers to decide whether Kaufman should be banned or not. Viewers could call into a special number to decide his fate, and he was banned with a vote total of 195,144 to 169,186. He never appeared on the show again.

Elvis Costello

In 1977, The Sex Pistols were supposed to appear on Saturday Night Live, but there was a visa problem and they were unable to get into the US. Elvis Costello was brought on as a substitute, and it did not go well. Costello was told to play his song "Less Than Zero" by his label.

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A few seconds into playing the song, he stopped the band and said, "I'm sorry, there's no reason to play that song here." Instead, they played his song "Radio Radio". Lorne Michaels was upset and banned him until 1989. He later appeared on the 25th Anniversary of the show, and ended up performing "Radio Radio" with the Beastie Boys.

Kanye West

The most recent guest who was deemed worthy of a ban was Kanye West. West came on the season premiere for the 2018-2019 season and delivered a long, rambling political monologue on stage after the show.

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Longtime cast member Keenan Thompson said, “I got to watch the circus unfold. [West] voiced his opinion very loudly, and for a long time. We’re all entitled to our opinion. I don’t know if that’s the moment, necessarily, to hold people hostage like that.”

Steven Seagal

There are many people considered to be bad hosts on Saturday Night Live, but Steven Seagal is universally considered to be THE worst. He was unfunny, difficult for the cast to work with, and just generally mean to everyone around him.

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He was so bad that producer Lorne Michaels actually said ON AIR that Seagal was the "worst j*rk" ever to appear on the show. Michaels later claimed that Al Franken had written the joke and it was just part of a sketch. Seagal has never been asked back though.

Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody hosted Saturday Night Live in May 2003. The show was fine until it came time for Brody to introduce the night's musical act, musician Sean Paul. Instead of just saying "Ladies And Gentlemen, Sean Paul", he put on fake dreadlocks and delivered an offensive introduction complete with a faux-Jamaican accent.

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He said, “Ya, ya, ya, ya, you know, man. We got original rude boy Sean Paul here. Respect all respect. My auntie. Respect all aspect, respect me neck, respect me knees, Big up Jamaica massive! Big up Kingston Massive! We got the whole family now, ya here! Big respect to my man Sean Paul the dance floor killer!”  Brody's career never recovered fully from that moment.

Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill was the musical guest on one episode of Saturday Night Live in 1993. Again, this is one of those times when the producers should have known better than to feature a particular musical act. Cypress Hill is renowned for their devotion to a particular substance.

Image credits: Getty Images/FilmMagic/Jeff Kravitz

Not surprisingly, they had an incident on the air. In this case, DJ Muggs started consuming it on air during their live performance. They had been warned not to do so ahead of time and received a lifetime ban for doing so.

Louise Lasser

The first person ever banned from Saturday Night Live was comedienne Louise Lasser. She was riding high on the success of her show Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman! and appeared on SNL in 1976. The rehearsals went badly, but that's not why she was banned.

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Lasser had severe anxiety about performing on live TV, so she locked herself in her dressing room an hour before the show started. She was coaxed out of her room and did one sketch with Chevy Chase, and that was it.

Milton Berle

Milton Berle was a fixture on American television long before Saturday Night Live debuted. He hosted SNL on April 14, 1979 and it went badly. Berle decided that instead of being the host, he would just take over the entire show instead.

Image credits: Getty Images/Alan Light

He even arranged a fake standing ovation for himself at the end of the night. Lorne Michaels was furious about it. He reflected back on Berle's hosting gig telling Vulture, "Milton Berle, I was just not prepared for. I’m more sympathetic to him now than I was then, in 1979...He had ruled this place for so many years, and we were these kids telling him no."

David Bowie

David Bowie had one of the more bizarre bans in the history of Saturday Night Live. He was acting as the musical guest on an episode of the show in 1997. He was to be in a sketch that featured a parody version of his song "Watch That Man". The word "Man" was changed to "Flan" and he got into an argument with Lorne Michaels about how to pronounce the word "Flan".

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Not only did Bowie refuse to be in the sketch, but he was supposed to sing his song "Telling Lies" later on that night. Instead, he played another song, "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)". Lorne Michaels told Bowie earlier that the song disturbed him. Bowie was banned for three years after that episode.

That's the list of performers who were banned from Saturday Night Live. Some of them might surprise you, but you won't see them back on the show anytime soon. If you enjoyed this story, please share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!

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