Larry David has nothing on Chris Parnell, who was actually fired from the show on two separate occasions. He was fired in 2001, due to his lack of confidence, and describes the experience as “devastating.” He was invited back, however, on the next season, and was only fired for the second time in 2006.
In that instance, the show was making a $10 million budget cut, so they decided that Parnell and fellow cast members, Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz, had to go.
Salaries and Sitcoms
As you’ve probably noticed, crew members don’t typically last very long on 'SNL', which is not surprising, since NBC only pays them $60,000 a year. Their salaries increase over time, and Will Ferrell holds the record for being the highest-paid crew member of all time, getting $350,000 in 2001.
Another way to increase their salary is by getting sketches on the air, but they have to write them themselves. The NBC contract is also quite restrictive, if the network offers them a sitcom, they can refuse up to two times but must agree to the third offer.
John Mulaney Plays Tricks on Bill Hader on Weekend Update
One of the reasons Bill Hader’s character, Stefon, is so popular is that he often breaks character during the Weekend Update. This happens because his co-writer, and co-creator of the character, John Mulaney, likes to mess with him by changing the jokes at the last minute.
Stefon often puts his hands to his mouth, this was not originally part of the sketch but happened because Hader was trying to hide his laughter from the jokes he was reading for the very first time. Andy Samberg, who is their friend, would stand by the camera with arms folded, shaking his head, and also try to throw Hader off his game.
Sarah Silverman Was Fired by Fax
In 1993, Sarah Silverman became an SNL cast member. She spent her first season perfecting her impersonations of Joan Rivers and Cher. Sadly, only one of the sketches she wrote made it to rehearsal, but none made it to air. Unsurprisingly, at least for her, she was let go at the end of the season.
The funniest part was that she claims she received the announcement via fax. The higher-ups at Saturday Night Live have really got to work on their people skills.
Lorne Michaels Got into It with Louis CK
When Louis C.K. was at the top of his game, he was invited to host Saturday Night Live for the second time. During his appearance, he wanted to do a 12-minute monologue on the show, although usually, monologues are only 5 or 6 minutes long.
Lorne Michaels told him to shorten it and Louis C.K. became livid, asking Michaels what would happen if he just did the monologue the way he wanted to. Michaels responded by saying: "Then we’ll know that you’re very undisciplined and unprofessional." The two eventually managed to come to an agreement and settled on a 7-minute monologue.