Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975. That's right, this sketch comedy show has been running for more than FORTY years. With all those hours of television and all of those crazy personalities in one place, making LIVE television, there are bound to be more than a few truly shocking moments. The top 15 most shocking SNL moments on this list are legendary.
SNL has brought so many wonderful comedians to the mainstream and kick started many wonderful film careers (and also some not so wonderful ones). But not everyone was successful as host or musical guest. Some hosts decided to take matters (and material) into their own hands after feeling censored by producers and/or the network. Some musical guests changed their playlists last minute, or just forgot what they were up there doing altogether.
Below we celebrate the most shocking moments from the television institution that is Saturday Night Live. Vote up the moments you were most shocked by below. And remember: it's never a good idea to rip up a picture of the Pope on live television.
Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor Skirt Racism
Sinead O'Connor vs. Pope John Paul II
Sinead O'Connor does what she wants. In rehearsals for her season premiere episode of "SNL" she held up a small African child showing that we need to fight hunger, help those in need, etc.
But for the live show, she decided that while singing about the enemy, she would bring up a picture of Pope John Paul II, tear it up on live TV and encourage viewers to "FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY"She was banned from "SNL" and her career hasn't been too hot since the incident.
Ashlee Simpson's Lip Synch
In one of the most awkward videos to come out of network television (which is saying a lot) Ashlee Simpson could NOT have been caught more red handed than in this "live" performance of "Pieces of Me."
The band starts. Simpson dances about and before she can even start to sing she's somehow... singing. Impressive. The band then tries to cover it by playing louder but her voice echoes awkwardly through the studio while she stands there... hopping around. Finally the embarrassment is too much and she runs off.Her reason for lip synching live on "SNL"? Acid reflux.
Andy Kaufman Voted Off
Andy Kaufman was a regular in the early seasons of "SNL" (think of him as the Justin Timberlake of the late 70's). He'd show up, do his Andy Kaufman thing then leave, Sometimes he even pre-taped and wasn't actually on stage live at all. Perhaps his most memorable moment was when his female wrestler bit did not go over well with a lot of the audience.
So on his sixteenth appearance, Kaufman came on stage and asked the at home audience if he should keep coming back or be banned forever. He gave out a 1-900 number to vote. Viewers voted 195,000 to ban him, versus 169,000 for him to return. He thanked his 169,000 supporters on air, but was never on "SNL" again.None of that footage is publicly available, but if you like Kaufman there's a glorious ten minutes of his HBO special above.