On October 11, 1975, a comedy sketch show called NBC's Saturday Night started up to fill an otherwise rerun-filled time slot, led by a highly talented cast of comedians, such as Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Michael O'Donoghue, Laraine Newman and George Coe. The creator, Lorne Michaels, seemed to have struck gold. Over the first few years, the show grew a decent audience, staying somewhat small but achieving a cult status of sorts. Though the name would need changing to Saturday Night Live, the sketch comedy show was well on its way to becoming one of the staples of weekend television across North America.
Over the years, especially early on, the backstage scene and antics of the Saturday Night Live cast and crew took on a life of its own. It was sex, drugs, rock and roll and constant fighting. Despite all that behind-the-scenes, the SNL stage became a springboard for comedians to turn into superstars. The cast would turn over quite a lot in its more than 40 years in existence, but fans have seen small time comedians become some of the world's most famous celebrities.
In total, the show has had 145 cast members and countless writers. In fact, some of the funniest comedians in history have written for the show but never showed their face on stage. With all that history and all that hilarity, the backstage, behind-the-scenes stories have become legends and myths in the industry. Sure, some have become more legend than truth, but there are still plenty of good ones that really did happen. Here are 15 secrets you didn’t know about SNL (aka Saturday Night Live).
15 Worst Host? Bieber
14 Picking Up Pieces Of The Pope
13 Silverman Stabbed Al Franken In The Head
12 Aykroyd Slept With Lorne Michaels' Wife
11 Sandler and Farley Got Fired
10 Bob Odenkirk Created Matt Foley
9 Celeb Jeopardy Was Stolen From SCTV
8 The Debbie Downer Origin
7 Chevy Chase Fought Bill Murray
6 John Belushi The Misogynist
5 The Infamous Pee Jar
4 Eddie Murphy Wouldn't Diss Bill Cosby
3 Chevy Chase Slapped Cheri Oteri
2 The Eddie Murphy Feud
1 Sarah Palin And The Sneaker Uppers
A "Sneaker Upper" is what the SNL cast call the real-life versions of the characters they impersonate. It stems from when a cast member is doing an impression of a person and then that person shows up, sneakering uppering on them and surprising them. Apparently, this happened more often than you would think. When someone does a quality impression and a sneaker upper shows up, they usually get what's called a "two-shot," a photograph with the impersonator and impersonated side by side. Well, one of Tina Fey's best impressions was of the politician Sarah Palin. When Sarah Palin came to SNL to do a two-shot with Fey, it didn’t go as planned. Fey did the impression, but then the camera went backstage to show Palin standing beside Lorne Michaels watching a TV monitor of Fey doing the impression. Why was it done this way? Fey supposedly refused to do a two-shot with the politician because she didn't want it to seem like she was endorsing her.
Sources: RadarOnline; Salon; TheDailyBeast
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