Saturday Night Live has been around for nearly 40 years, and the iconic sketch show has featured numerous hosts, musical guests and cast members in that time period. The show is known for counting the most popular comedians of the day among its regular cast and it’s a consistently popular formula but as with all irreverent comedy shows, controversy is never far behind.
Things haven’t always gone smoothly at 30 Rockefeller Plaza where the legendary comedy show is filmed. Since the show’s start in 1975, there have been plenty of controversial moments that have left audience members and home viewers – if the gaffes made it to air – in shock. Since the show is taped live, curse words have made it to air numerous times but were cut from later broadcasts. Most of the cases of cursing were slip-ups that were not really the fault of any of the performers, but sometimes they were musical acts refusing to self-censor their songs.
Indeed, some of the controversial incidents in the show’s history were so shocking that producer Lorne Michaels banned the perpetrators from ever returning to the show again – there are said to be 14 celebrities banned from appearing on Saturday Night Live following controversial transgressions. Elvis Costello is the only celebrity to have a Saturday Night Live ban lifted. Some of the shocking moments in the show’s history were politically motivated and some resulted in costly fines for the network. We’ve taken a look at the ten most shocking of these controversial moments in Saturday Night Live history.
10. Jenny Slate Drops the F-bomb
In 2009, Saturday Night Live added Jenny Slate to the cast as a featured player. During her first episode she performed in a sketch with the now legendary Kristen Wiig. She and Wiig played white trash biker women who would constantly use the word “frick.” Unfortunately for Slate she let the actual f-word slip from her tongue instead of the slightly more polite and semi-censored version. The flub was noticeable and bleeped from later broadcasts, but the damage was done. Slate lasted the entirety of the season, but the following year she was no longer a cast member.
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