TV 25 Behind the Scenes Stories from SNL  

Lisa Waugh
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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.

Kanye West’s Epic Backstage Meltdown


Kanye West’s Epic Backstage Me... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25 Behind the Scenes Stories from SNL
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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:... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25 Behind the Scenes Stories from SNL
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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


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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.

Seth Meyers Frowned Upon Norm MacDonald’s Eddie Murphy Story


Seth Meyers Frowned Upon Norm ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25 Behind the Scenes Stories from SNL
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SNL alum MacDonald took to Twitter to reveal why Eddie Murphy (who was going to play Bill Cosby) wasn’t in the Jeopardy sketch as part of 2015's SNL 40 special. Murphy apparently backed out at the last minute, not wanting to take on the whole Cosby thing. Meyers didn’t think MacDonald should have talked about it.
 
“I wouldn’t have told it. I feel the same way. I think when you’re at SNL, you’re seeing so many different things behind the scenes. I get that the world wants to hear everything going on back there… People have for years been making choices when they get interviewed about SNL about how much to give away. There are often things to give away that are yours to give away. Norm played it in a way that is very Norm MacDonald, and I couldn’t be a bigger Norm MacDonald fan. I think those who loved Norm were probably very happy.”