We all know the Sinead O’Connor story, but did you know that these other people and groups were banned from SNL?
During the 1981 Halloween episode, punk band Fear staged a full-fledged riot on the set after being invited to play by John Belushi. Apparently they did $200,000 worth of damage.
2. Steven Seagal
Lorne Michaels called Steven Seagal the biggest jerk to ever be on the show. Seagal allegedly didn’t play nice with the cast and crew, angering Michaels. Seagal nearly was axed in favor of a host-less show and was never invited back.
3. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody went off-script when he hosted Saturday Night Live on May 10, 2003, which is apparently Lorne Michaels’ least favorite thing. The Oscar winner donned dreadlocks and a bad accent when introducing Jamaican performer Sean Paul, drawing the dirty looks and permanent ban from Michaels.
4. David Bowie
The legend goes that David Bowie and Lorne Michaels were having dinner a few days before Davod Bowie was to appear on the show. Lorne confided in Bowie that, during his brief ousting in the early 80s from the show, he did large amounts of cocaine and listened to Bowie’s 1980 album Scary Monsters over and over. Lorne referred to this as the darkest period of his life. So, David Bowie being the funny guy and trickster that he is, instead of performing Telling Lies on the show as he was scheduled to, performed Scary Monsters and Super Creeps. When the song was over, Bowie was immediately escorted from the studio.
“They didn’t waste any time. The real shame of it was there was a lovely fruit basket in my dressing room that I wanted to take back to my hotel. I obviously didn’t get to. I was very sore about that. Still am, to tell you the truth.”
The ban lasted only three years.
5. Frank Zappa
Appearing as guest host and musical guest for the October 21, 1978, episode, Frank Zappa made few friends in his last SNL appearance before his ban. Zappa allegedly didn’t mesh with the cast and crew in the preparation week, then mugged for the camera and made it obvious that he was reading cue cards during the broadcast. Not only was Zappa banned from the SNL stage after the stunt, but most of the cast refused to interact with the performer in the “goodnight” segment to end the show.
6. Martin Lawrence
Not only did he point out the racial makeup of the in-studio audience, stand-up comedian Martin Lawrence tested the patience of the censors, producers and women when he went on a tirade during his February 19, 1994, monologue. Lawrence shared his views on 90s women, including his feelings on their feminine hygiene habits. The bit was later removed from reruns of the episode, and Lawrence from the series.
7. Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill went the quick and easy route to getting banned from SNL. They lit a joint on-stage and then smashed their instruments and aforementioned stage. Easy-breezy!
8. The Replacements
Again, the Replacements too the quick and dirty route to being banned. Not only did they perform completely inebriated, the tipping point cam when singer Paul Westerberg curesed on live television. The band was banned from the show. However, in 1993, tensions cooled and Westerberg returned as a solo musical guest.
9. Chevy Chase
Though an original cast member, Chevy Chase received a soft ban on the show back on February 15, 1997. Chase had trouble getting along with the cast members during his numerous hosting gigs and was banned from returning to host. Despite the ban, Chase returned to his old anchor desk on Weekend Update even after the ban in 2007.
10. Rage Against the Machine
Appearing on the April 13, 1996, episode hosted by Steve Forbes, Rage Against the Machine made their own political statement alongside the then-Republican presidential hopeful. Before performing their hit Bulls on Parade, the rockers hung upside down American flags from their gear. Crew members stepped in to remove both the flags and the band from the stage, prohibiting them from performing a second song during the show and banning then for life.
11. Sinead O’Connor
Certainly the most memorable banning, and also the most scandalous, Sinead O’Connor sang her version of Bob Marley’s War in protest of the Catholic Church covering up the abuse of children in the church. As she comes to the lyrics “over evil”, she pulls out a picture of Pope John Paul II and tears it to pieces, imploring the viewer to “fight the real enemy.”