Since it's debut in 1975, Saturday Night Live has probably been the most influential comedy series on television. It has spawned several stars and given us many great, unforgettable characters. Many of the show's illustrious cast members went on to successful movie careers, and many faded into obscurity. Here's a few facts you may not have known about Saturday Night Live.
The only two guest hosts whose episodes will never be re-run are Milton Berle and Louise Lasser, at the insistence of producer Lorne Michaels. Berle upset the entire cast during his hosting week. he called everybody “Boobie" and turned everyone off with his excessive mugging, racist jokes and egomania. (Supposedly, John Belushi, who worshipped Berle, was the only cast member who liked him.)
Lasser refused to do all skits and wouldn't come out of her dressing room on the night of the her show's broadcast. She finally came out at the last minute, just in time to deliver the opening monologue.
Chris Farley loved and idolized John Belushi. Farley would often get Belushi's pants from wardrobe and wear them during the show.
Randy Quaid is the only SNL cast member to have been nominated for an Academy Award before joining the cast.
Tina Fey was SNL’s first woman head writer.
Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell are the only two cast members to be fired and then re-hired the next season.
Abby Elliott, daughter of Chris Elliott, is the first cast member to be the child of a former cast member.
Molly Shannon said she always said a little prayer before going out for each show. She says she also saw Chris Farley kneeling in his dressing room and blessing himself before going on. (Farley was a devout Catholic.)
The first "recurring character" (a character appearing in more than just one sketch) was John Belushi's Samurai Warrior.
Youngest guest host: Drew Barrymore at age 7. Oldest guest host: Betty White, at age 88.
Gerald Ford is the only U.S. president to appear on SNL and deliver the opening line: “Live from New York: It's Saturday Night!"
Steve Martin is the only person to host a season debut episode, a finale episode and a Christmas show. Martin is also the only person to host three shows in one season.
Cast member Darrell Hammond has said the classic opening line “Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" the most times. Hammond said the immortal line a record 69 times. Hammond also is the show's longest running cast member, appearing in almost 280 episodes.
In 1983, Eddie Murphy agreed to do 10 live appearances and 10 taped appearances. In September of '83, Murphy taped the 10 shows for later broadcast. These 10 shows were shown during the 1983-84 season.
When Chevy Chase returned to the show to guest host SNL for the first time, he got into a fist fight backstage with Bill Murray. As Paul Simon sang onstage, Murray and Chase duked it out, as Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi tried to separate them. In the heat of anger, Bill Murray called out “Medium talent!" referring to Chase.
Three controversial guest hosts did not appear "live" as hosts, but with a 7-second tape delay. They were Richard Pryor (1975), Sam Kinison (1986) and Andrew Dice Clay (1990).