26 Behind the Scenes Stories from SNL

Even if you’re not exactly up on the latest season of Saturday Night Live, chances are you’ve heard at least a couple of SNL stories. You never know what you’re going to get when you mix comedians, drugs, egomania, alcohol, huge stars, and live TV. Sometimes Prince shows up at your after party, sometimes somebody gets stabbed, and sometimes Chevy Chase happens.  

There are two types of backstage SNL stories: the ones everyone knows and the ones we’re just hearing about because everyone is either dead, over it, or the statutes of limitations have run out. Unless your Internet was down in early 2016, you couldn’t miss Kanye’s epic backstage rant where he compared himself to Stanley Kubrick, Picasso, and the Apostle Paul. But there are some hidden Saturday Night Live stories you must learn about because they are juicy, strange, and in some cases disturbing. 

Let’s delve into the secrets, scandals, feuds, and tea spilling of the SNL cast old and new and see what’s rattling around in the closet over at Studio 8H.
  • Nicolas Cage Went All Out For The 'Get In The Cage' Weekend Update Segment

    Nicolas Cage Went All Out For The 'Get In The Cage' Weekend Update Segment
    Video: YouTube

    SNL alums Andy Samberg and Seth Meyers talked about their experience on "Weekend Update" with Nicolas Cage at the WGA event "An Evening with Seth Meyers" in June 2018. The two ran a bit called "In The Cage" while they were on the late night show and in 2012, Nicolas Cage joined them for a surreal bit Samberg called, "one of the high points of my life."

    “It was not even remotely like Nic Cage. It was just a lunatic person that we called Nic Cage. To his enormous credit, he recognized that and thought that was funny and came on SNL and we did it as twin Nic Cages,” Samberg said.

    Meyers and Samberg sent Cage the script ahead of time, but they agreed he had "definitely not looked at it," before the big night. 

    “He leaned in so hard,” Samberg recalled. “And the last line from him was ‘We’re gonna have a three-way with the Declaration of Independence!’ Flames shot out of his head. It was so f*cking good!”

  • Kanye West’s Epic Backstage Meltdown

    Kanye West’s Epic Backstage Meltdown
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Kanye doesn't disappoint when it comes to full on crazy churlish rants. Just before air on SNL in February of 2016, West lost it because the stage was moved. As the musical guest, he had a right to be concerned, but claiming that he’s more popular, by 50% and dead or alive, than Picasso, Stanley Kubrick, Escobar, and the Apostle Paul while slamming Taylor Swift is just, well, so Kanye.
  • Tina Fey’s Horrible Discovery: Male Writers Peed in Cups and Jars

    Tina Fey’s Horrible Discovery: Male Writers Peed in Cups and Jars
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    In a New Yorker piece, Fey revealed this horror in her usual style. “The bathroom, I should point out, was about as far away as you are from this magazine. I started to feel as if I were from space.” Once she knew this was a thing at SNL, she began to see a pattern: there were cups everywhere.
    Next, she made an even more horrifying discovery. “In the Weekend Update offices—which were like the smarter but meaner older brother of the regular writers’ offices—there weren’t any cups. There was a jar. It was a jar of p*ss with a lid on it, and, judging by its consistency, I suspect that the writers sometimes spat into it. Or that one of them was terribly ill. You could see it when you came in the door, backlit by the afternoon sun, and at first I thought it was a test. If you saw the p*ss jar and dared to ignore it and continue into the room, you were welcomed. ‘Welcomed’ is too strong a word. You were… one of the guys? Nope, you know what? I’m just projecting. It couldn’t have been a test, because they really didn’t give a f*ck whether you came into the room or not.”
  • Jon Hamm Told Amy Poehler to Get Her Sh*t Together

    Jon Hamm Told Amy Poehler to Get Her Sh*t Together
    Video: YouTube

    Literally the day before she was due to give birth and during rehearsal of a Mad Men sketch with host Jon Hamm, Amy Poehler learned that her very old Italian OB-GYN had died. Everyone got quiet. Poehler burst into tears “like a Cathy cartoon” in her preggers Mad Men dress.

    Hamm grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “I know this is very sad, but this is a really important show for me, so I’m going to need you to get your sh*t together.” This made her laugh so hard she peed.