So, yes. Jenny Slate said a dirty word on live TV. But when you think about it, when you truly think about it, someone swearing is not the most outrageous thing (nor even the rarest thing, as several other cast members have flubbed a profanity over the years) to ever happen on Saturday Night Live. It probably would not even make the top 10. You know how we know this? We checked the previous 34 seasons of SNL, and we remind you of these moments that had people talking, and talking and talking some more. Before we had Twitter and Facebook and YouTube to share it with all of our friends and strangers, we watched these unexpectedly outrageous and infamous moments unfold live on SNL. Let's work our way backward, shall we?
10) Episode #30.3, Oct. 23, 2004: Ashlee Simpson caught lip-synching.
The song so nice she sung it twice? Not exactly. When Ashlee Simpson's second song turned out to be the same as her first, "Pieces of Me," the singer was not singing, and not knowing what else to do, started a jig and hopped off-stage. Cut to commercial? Simpson tried passing the blame during the farewell goodnights, and then made further excuses. That should have covered it, right? Oh, wait. 60 Minutes was filming that week behind the scenes! Talk about a gotcha.
9) Episode #19.14, Feb. 19, 1994: Martin Lawrence's douchey monologue.
Martin Lawrence hosted and rambled on in a monologue that began with a riff on ladies following Lorena Bobbitt's lead and continuing into a rant about ladies not washing their asses properly, ruffling enough feathers to get him banned from the show. Future re-airings cut away from the monologue and attempted to paraphrase him instead, concluding: "It was a frank and lively presentation, and nearly cost us all our jobs."
8) Episode #18.2, Oct. 3, 1992: Sinead O'Connor rips into the Pope.
As musical guest, Sinead O'Connor ends her performance of "War" by holding up a picture of Pope John Paul II, yelling "fight the real enemy!" and ripping the photo apart. The audience did not applaud. In fact, no one really applauded this move. She would get mocked by the cast and hosts in multiple episodes later that season, including Madonna ripping a photo of Joey Buttafuoco, Jan Hooks appearing as O'Connor in sketches and Joe Pesci holding up a taped-together photo of the pope. Watch the video on YouTube (embedding disabled).
7) #15.19 May 12, 1990: The Andrew Dice Clay boycott.
Upset over the prospect of having stand-up comedian Andrew "Dice" Clay host and probably say something to put down women, cast member Nora Dunn boycotted the episode, and Sinead O'Connor (who was the planned musical guest) also backed out. This seemed like a better way to protest for O'Connor than her decision two years later, don't you think?
6) Season 8, 1982-1983: Viewers vote Andy Kaufman off the show!
For reasons that only make sense to anyone who love Andy Kaufman (we are many strong), Kaufman and SNL agreed to have viewers call 1-900 numbers to vote on whether he should stay or go. Kaufman had appeared on the very first SNL, and several other times. But after getting voted off, he had to resort to buying commercial ad time in various markets to be seen? Here's a clip:
5) Episode #7.4, Oct. 31, 1981: The Halloween of Fear.
John Belushi vouched for Los Angeles punk band Fear to play as the musical guest, and in 1981, punk meant punk, and during the second song, certain audience members meant to dance did their slam-dance thing and trashed the place. Here's footage of John Joseph talking about the experience years later (needless to say, contains NSFW profanities):
4) Episode #3.8, Dec. 17, 1977: Elvis Costello defies Lorne Michaels.
Plenty of musical guests have said the f-word or done naughty rock-star things, such as causing trouble or smoking. But Elvis Costello made SNL's uber-producer Lorne Michaels madder than mad when he defied Michaels by stopping a performance of "Less Than Zero" to switch over to "Radio, Radio." Michaels banned the band, but for the 25th anniversary of SNL in 1999, everyone made nice and Costello came back to "Sabotage" the Beastie Boys. Roll the clip!
3) Episode #2.13 1/2, Feb. 20, 1977: The Mardi Gras special.
SNL tried to broadcast live from Mardi Gras. Yeah, that didn't quite work out as planned, unless you realize that trying to do a live show in 1977 from multiple locations amid the nation's biggest party of drunks would go awry. Gilda Radner was getting groped. Meanwhile, Jane Curtin and Buck Henry were supposed to be broadcasting from the parade route. Only the parade never made it to them. As Curtin recalled years later to the New Orleans Times-Picayune: "We had to do the color commentary for the parade that never happened, and there were 20,000 people — very drunk — who were chanting our names, throwing whatever they could find at us, and then trying to get up on the scaffolding."
2) Episode #2.6, Oct. 30, 1976: John Belushi cuts Buck Henry with a samurai sword!
In the first sketch following his monologue, host Buck Henry appears with John Belushi for the "Samurai Stockbroker" sketch. They'd appeared together before in the first season in a deli. Hilarious enough. (Watch "Samurai Deli" on Hulu). But this time, during the mayhem of the sketch, Belushi's sword catches Henry's forehead, dazing him and drawing blood. Later, other cast members sport bandages as moral support. In the farewell goodnights, Belushi has a bloody bandage next to Henry.
1) Episode #2.1, Sept. 18, 1976: Chevy Chase falls on his balls!
As far as season-opening gaffes go, could it have been more of an adding insult to injury moment than what happened to Chevy Chase. During a mock presidential debate between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, Chase (as Ford) does his expected pratfall from the podium. Unexpected, though, was Chase injuring his groin and being unable to participate on-camera for the next two shows! Yikes!