Paul McCartney’s ‘SNL’ Impression Leaves Cast Members Breathless

Paul McCartney

Anything can happen on live TV, especially when clueless celebrities, sleep-deprived performers, and yes, even drugs are involved. Since its debut in the ‘70s, SNL has become the sketch comedy show we depend upon for unexpected mistakes and a lot of laughs…especially when the celebrity guest goes off script. From egotistical hosts to Chevy Chase being, well, Chevy Chase, there’s a lot happening behind the curtain in Studio 8H.

1. Tina Fey’s Disgusting Discovery

When Tina Fey first started writing for the show, she made a horrifying discovery: cups and jars filled with urine were littered around the male writers’ offices. “If you saw the p*ss jar and dared to ignore it and continue into the room, you were welcomed,” she explained.

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2. When Paris Hilton Bombed

After hosting and not learning her lines, the socialite was never welcomed back to Studio 8H. She showed no interest in getting to know the cast, so Seth Meyers offered $100 to the first person who heard Hilton ask a personal question. No one won the money.

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3. Eddie Murphy To The Rescue

When Nick Nolte was too hungover to host the show, his 48 Hours co-star Eddie Murphy stepped in at the last minute. It was the first time a current cast member acted as host, and apparently, his fellow cast members weren’t happy about it, especially when he said, “Live from New York, it’s the Eddie Murphy show!”

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4. Cast Member Confrontations

The early days of SNL were infamously sordid, and it was no different when Chevy Chase returned to host not long after he unceremoniously left the show. Apparently, things got so heated between him and Bill Murray — his replacement — that John Belushi had to break them apart when they started to punch each other.

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5. Sunday Morning Bruises

Molly Shannon’s popular character Mary Katherine Gallagher was beloved for her clumsy, awkward ways, but it was Molly who felt the burn the next day. “I’d get bruised and cut up, but because of the adrenaline, I never felt it until Sunday,” she explained. The things we do for show business!

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6. Nic Cage Is As Intense As He Seems

According to Andy Samberg and Seth Meyers, Nic Cage really commits to every role…even ones that poke fun at himself. “He leaned in so hard,” Samberg said of Cage, who amped up his rumored intensity for an SNL bit in which he played himself. He simply acted as bizarrely as possible!

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7. The Insane Afterparties

We’re sure every SNL afterparty is a hoot, but the bash following the SNL 40 special was legendary, according to Jimmy Fallon. Not only was it a star-studded affair (even the elusive Jack Nicholson and Eddie Murphy showed up), but Fallon got to sing alongside Paul McCartney and Prince. Legendary, indeed!

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8. Hader vs. Bieber

Not every celebrity host knocks it out of the park, especially when they have a reputation for being difficult to work with. Bill Hader later confirmed this rumor about Justin Bieber, and said that he “really didn’t enjoy having Justin Bieber around…he’s the only one who lived up to his reputation.”

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9. Kanye’s Backstage Rant

We know this may come as a shock, but Kanye West is prone to acting a little strangely in public. In 2016, he lost his cool right before an SNL performance because the stage had been moved without his permission. In his rant, he said he was more popular than Stanley Kubrick, Picasso, and Apostle Paul combined.

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10. Choice Words From Jon Hamm

During rehearsal for a Mad Men-themed sketch, a very pregnant Amy Poehler learned that her OB-GYN had passed away. She was so distraught that Jon Hamm jokingly grabbed her shoulders and said, “I’m going to need you to get your sh*t together.” Apparently, she laughed so hard that she peed!

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11. No One Liked Larry David

Back in the day, not everyone was on board with Larry David’s dry brand of humor. He was an SNL staff writer for just one season and managed to annoy cast members and writers alike. Luckily, one person wasn’t totally put off by David’s humor: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whom David later hired to play Elaine on Seinfeld.  

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12. Goodbye, Darrell Hammond!

Despite Darrell Hammond’s impressive 14-season run in which he made characters like Sean Connery and Bill Clinton fan favorites, his very last show was anything but grand. “It wasn’t even acknowledged,” he later said. “It really was the worst of Darrell Hammond.”

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13. Sarah Silverman Got Violent

We’ve heard of absurdist humor, but this is just plain out there. Sarah Silverman appeared on the show for just one season, and she attributes her short stint to the time she stabbed Al Franken in the head with a sharp pencil. Yeah, that’ll do it! 

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14. But Who Was It?

Sometimes, the celebrity host just can’t keep up with the SNL grind. “I had a host accidentally leave our sketch before it was over,” Nasim Pedrad once revealed. “The host left early by a minute and a half and did not even realize it!” Unfortunately for us, Pedrad never disclosed who the host was.

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15. “B*tches Get Stuff Done”

When Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president in 2008, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler responded to the news, which was controversial to some Americans, by exclaiming that “b*tches get stuff done” on Weekend Update. Clinton responded by calling Fey personally to thank her.

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16. Tina Fey and Sarah Palin

Though Fey famously portrayed Palin on SNL, she wasn’t exactly a fan of the politician. When Fey was asked to do a bit with Palin, she refused, so the show was forced to get creative by having Palin watch Fey’s performance from backstage. They turned it into a bit with Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin instead!

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17. Frank Zappa Wasn’t A Fan

Most hosts are stoked to be on SNL, but Zappa made it clear he wasn’t a fan. He mocked the cue cards, making it obvious he was reading from them and was a bad sport with cast and crew during the prep week. Why be on the show if you hate it so much?

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18. It’s A ‘No’ From Obama

When you’re the leader of the free world, you get to give some input about the SNL episode you’re appearing in. Lorne Michaels himself wanted President Obama’s opinion about a sketch featuring racial profiling. According to Michaels, Obama watched the sketch and said, “It’s funny, but no, I don’t think so.” Just like that, the sketch was axed!

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19. A Legendary Banishment

Louise Lasser was the first person ever banned from SNL after she showed up to host the show “lit,” or under the influence of substances. A production assistant later said she crawled through the show’s offices looking for drugs.

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20. Terry Sweeney Faced Hate Speech

As the first openly gay cast member, Terry Sweeney encountered hate speech, especially from Chevy Chase. Chase enraged Lorne Michaels when he “joked” about how Sweeney “should be weighed every week to see if he has AIDS.” Michaels forced Chase to apologize, but Sweeney still called Chase a “monster.”

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21. They Broke The Rules

After the drug-fueled early days of SNL, a strict rule was established: No drugs or alcohol were allowed in the studio. The Replacements apparently ignored this and performed drunk in 1986. After they cursed live on air, they were blacklisted from ever performing on the show again.

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22. Controversial Gifts

Former SNL cast member Victoria Jackson was also a fundamentalist Christian, and she was so devout that she once “gifted” her fellow cast members audio cassettes of the Bible. “Everybody here is dying and going to hell, and I’m supposed to tell them about Jesus,” she later explained. Hardly anyone accepted the gift.

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23. No Goodbyes For Jason

Jason Sudeikis was a fan favorite on SNL, so when he left in 2013, it came as a huge shock to everyone…and we mean everyone. Though he’d made his desire to leave the show known, he’d never made it official, so not even the cast and crew knew about it until he was long gone.

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24. Not A Team Player

Not only did actor Adrien Brody complain all week about the writers’ ideas for his sketches, but Brody really messed up when he unexpectedly introduced the show’s Jamaican musical guest while wearing fake dreadlocks. His stereotypical Jamaican accent only made the whole gaff worse.

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25. Paul McCartney’s SNL Impression

Not everyone is destined to act on the Studio 8H stage, but that didn’t stop Paul McCartney from breaking out into his favorite SNL character during a party. He apparently went up to Bill Hader, who famously played the flamboyant character Stefan, and mimicked the character in front of Hader himself! Hader said the interaction was “bonkers.”

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26. Backstage Misogyny

Apparently, John Belushi went so far with his opinion that women weren’t funny that he refused to participate in any sketches written by women or by his female cast members. He even ignored Gilda Radner’s sketches, and she’s the one who got him cast on the show in the first place!

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27. Insulting Audience Vote

Andy Kaufman wasn’t booted by SNL producers, but by the audience. After a number of complaints rolled into NBC about Kaufman’s comic ability, the network ran a toll-free number onscreen, allowing fans to call and vote whether Kaufman should stay. The votes were an overwhelming no.

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28. The Return of Chevy

Chevy Chase has truly been in the middle of more SNL drama than anyone else, especially when he returned to host in the ‘90s. He treated people so badly that Tim Meadows compared him to “watching a car accident over and over again.” Chase was eventually banned from hosting after he slapped Cheri Oteri.

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29. Destruction & Chaos

The band Fear’s ban may not entirely have been their fault. Cast member John Belushi led several other musicians and punk-rock audience members in a mosh pit during one of Fear’s songs. After general destruction and chaos ensued, the band was deemed too high-risk to return.

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30. When Jay Pharoah Spoke Out

When Jay Pharoah opened up about the lack of diversity on SNL, he brought up the name of a Black female performer he felt should be on the show. “I believe they need to follow up with [diverse casting] like they said they were going to do last year,” he said frankly. Lorne Michaels supported Pharoah’s comments.

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31. Not Good At Improv

During a hosting gig in 1977, actor Charles Grodin couldn’t stay in character and just didn’t want to stick to the script. Ad-libbing is extremely verboten on Lorne Michaels’ show, especially if it’s bad ad-libbing, which Grodin’s was. Needless to say, he wasn’t a fan favorite.

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32. Norm MacDonald’s Comments

Former cast member Norm MacDonald isn’t afraid to say what he really thinks, as inappropriate as the comments may be. While commenting on Chris Kattan, MacDonald said, “I’ve never seen, like, a guy who’s not gay seem so gay. I don’t find him funny.” In response, Kattan said, “If Norm says I’m gay…[then] I say he’s an assh*ole.”

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33. Sinéad O’Connor’s Controversial Performance

While doing a cover of Bob Marley’s song “War” live on the show, Sinéad changed some of its lyrics to mention the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandal, and then tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II. She wasn’t asked back.

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34. Steven Seagal’s Disturbing Sketch

Steven Seagal’s insistence on doing a sketch about a sexual assault counselor trying to sleep with his patients only made him more universally disliked. The sketch bombed with pretty much everyone, and unsurprisingly, Seagal was accused of sexual assault by multiple women later on. 

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35. Raging Against Rage Against The Machine

It was a political statement that got these guys the boot. During a 1996 episode hosted by presidential candidate Steve Forbes, the band rebelled against his platform by hanging American flags upside down on the stage. They were escorted out of the studio.

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36. Bowie Banned

The Starman endured a short three-year ban when, against Lorne Michaels’ wishes, he performed “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” live instead of the tamer “Telling Lies.” Michaels associated the former song with a dark period of his life, which Bowie knew.

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37. Now’s Not The Time, Guys!

Cypress Hill must have missed the memo about smoking on stage. When member DJ Muggs lit a joint while live on camera, it was clear the group was going to hear from the network about a permanent ban.

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38. Martin Lawrence’s Awkward Monologue

In 1994, this Bad Boy launched into a monologue more uncomfortable than funny, making mean-spirited remarks about the racial makeup of the studio audience and then spinning into a tirade about women’s hygiene. Whatcha gonna do? Michaels kicked him out.

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39. Beat Of His Own Drum

While making a musical guest appearance in 1977, Elvis Costello was supposed to play “Less Than Zero,” but instead launched into “Radio Radio,” a song criticizing media censorship. He was banned until 1999, when he came on the show and played the song again.

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40. When Milton Berle Went Too Far

Berle was a comedy legend, but even legends go too far. In 1979, Berle commandeered the show, going off-script and upstaging all the other cast members in a performance said to be like “a comedy train accident in slow motion, on a loop.”

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41. Ashlee Simpson’s Lip-Sync Debacle

During a technical malfunction on her stint as musical guest in 2004, it was revealed on live television that Simpson had been lip-syncing. Show executives had no idea that Simpson wouldn’t really be singing, and she didn’t return after that.

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42. The Hot-Headed Robert Blake

Another not-so-nice guy behind the scenes, Blake was rude to show staff all week, and according to legend, even threw a script at writer Gary Kroeger’s head. After the live show, he left the studio and never returned. Considering what happened a few years later, that’s probably for the best!

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