Some of the sketches on SNL have been so successful, that hit movies have been based on them. The most famous examples include ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘Night at the Roxbury’, and ‘The Coneheads’. Those films entertained audiences and made a lot of money during the 80s and 90s.
The film that broke the box office, however, was the stoner comedy ‘Wayne’s World’, invented by SNL comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. The biggest SNL movie flop was ‘It’s Pat’, which received a rare zero on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Show Only Exists Because Of Johnny Carson
Legendary Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, asked NBC in 1974 to stop airing reruns of his program on the weekend because he wanted to save them for some extra time off during the week. The network then turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to develop something new for the suddenly empty Saturday night slot.
He came up with 'Saturday Night Live, and the rest is history. Michaels pitched the show to cast member Laraine Newman as 'Monty Python' meets '60 Minutes'.
It Wasn’t Always Called Saturday Night Live
When the show premiered in 1975 on NBC, it was simply called 'Saturday Night'. This was because rival network ABC was airing a show at the time called, “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.” When that show went off the air, NBC swiftly paid for the rights, and in 1977, the name of the show was officially changed.
If you’ve ever wondered, Chevy Chase had the honor of being the first to say the famous line, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
SNL Was Almost Cancelled... Twice
Following the end of the show’s tenth season, NBC made the decision to cancel 'Saturday Night Live', and would only consider leaving it on the air if Lorne Michaels agreed to return. Luckily, he did, and the show was safe for another ten years.
When season 20 rolled around, many cast members left the show for various reasons, including Mike Meyers, Janeane Garafalo, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Morwenna Banks, Ellen Cleghorne, Chris Elliott, Laura Kightlinger, Michael McKean, Jay Mohr, and Kevin Nealon. NBC again considered pulling the plug, but the show kept going with new cast members filling the hole.
The Writers Can Be Incredibly Lazy
Following her departure from the show, Tina Fey went on to write the bestselling book 'Bossypants', which in addition to other things, documents her time on SNL. In the book, Fey reveals that some of the writers were so lazy and gross, that they wouldn’t get up and use the bathroom, they kept jars of urine in their offices instead.
When you read some of her descriptions, you can quickly see where her inspiration for the wacky writers in '30 Rock' came from.