Lorne Michaels's Blacklist: A Look Back at Martin Lawrence and 4 Other Celebs Who've Been Banned From 'SNL'
It was 20 years ago Wednesday that Martin Lawrence hosted "Saturday Night Live" for his first — and last — time.
The comic's opening monologue, a critique on feminine hygiene that included recommendations for the "unusual use of Tic Tacs, Certs, and Stick-Ups room deodorizer," as the New York Daily News put it back in the day, prompted hundreds of complaint calls, howls from NBC affiliates, and an on-the-fly editing job by "SNL." (Only East Coast viewers watching the Feb. 19, 1994, show live saw Martin's routine in its entirety; the offending portion was deleted for the tape-delayed broadcasts and subsequent reruns.)
Watch Lawrence's (edited) "SNL" monologue:
In the aftermath, Lawrence was tapped to join a select company: performers banned from "SNL." An "SNL" ban isn't a formal thing. Sometimes, it's not even a permanent thing. Case in point: Original "SNL" star Chevy Chase was said to be banned for bad behavior in the late 1990s, but he was back on the "Weekend Update" desk in 2007, and appeared last year in a bit with Justin Timberlake.
[Related: 70 Fun Facts About Chevy Chase]
But the "SNL" ban is nonetheless a thing. In the past 38-plus years, roughly a dozen acts and actors supposedly have gotten on the bad side of the network and/or longtime "SNL" impresario Lorne Michaels.
Here's a look at how some of the more notorious "SNL" performers, including Lawrence, fared after their alleged shunning. (Hint: A lifetime ban isn't exactly a death sentence.)
1. Adrien Brody
The Oscar winner ("The Pianist"), who reportedly drew the show's ire in 2003 for doing an unscripted rasta character while introducing musical act Sean Paul, went on to star in Peter Jackson's "King Kong," "The Darjeeling Limited," and "Midnight in Paris." So, his career's fine. And Brody's fine with "SNL," too. "I had a great time," the actor told Moviefone in 2012. In the same interview, Brody said, yes, he'd heard he'd been banned, but that, no, he'd never been told he'd been banned.
[Infographic: Anatomy of a Late-Night Host: A Guide for Seth Meyers]
2. Andy Kaufman
The comic appeared on "SNL" more than a dozen times from 1975 to 1982, when he really, truly was banned by a vote of viewers. (The ouster came during Kaufman's wrestling period; it also came during Michaels's time away from the show.) Post-ban, Kaufman continued to provoke and star on TV's "Taxi" until shortly before his death in 1984 at age 36. NBC had nothing but kind words for the "exiled" star. "We deeply regret his passing," a network spokesman said at the time. "He was instrumental in the success of 'Saturday Night Live.'"
See Kaufman on "SNL":
3. Martin Lawrence
Weeks after his ill-received monologue, Martin was bounced from a scheduled appearance on the Jay Leno-hosted "Tonight Show." (NBC, not Leno, nixed the gig.) Martin issued an apology, but didn't back down, and didn't at all slow down. He was, after all, famous at the time not only for his relatively family-friendly comedy series, "Martin," but also for his uncensored stand-up on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" and the concert film, "You So Crazy," released a couple of months after the "SNL" appearance. "I still feel good about my comedy because I'm speaking the truth," he said in 1994.
Lawrence eventually scored the biggest hits of his career as the PG-13-rated star of "Wild Hogs" and the "Big Momma's House" movies.
4. Sinéad O'Connor
The Grammy-winning singer ignited a furor when she said, "Fight the enemy," and tore a picture of Pope John Paul II during her musical performance on the Oct. 3, 1992 "SNL" episode. The incident was ripped on air the following week by host Joe Pesci ("She was lucky it wasn't my show because if it was my show, I would have gave her such a smack."), trailed O'Connor to the concert stage, where she was booed a few weeks later, and incited people to literally steamroll her CDs. Still, the incident's impact on O'Connor's career, which always veered out of the mainstream, is debatable. Her albums sales declined in the United States, but remained strong in Europe. On the 10th anniversary of the "SNL" appearance, O'Connor was asked if she'd change anything. "Hell, no," she said.
Pesci addresses the O'Connor controversy on "SNL":
5. Steven Seagal
To hear David Spade tell it in the the book, "Live from New York: An Uncensored History of 'Saturday Night Live'," Seagal nearly missed out on being branded the so-called worst "SNL" host of all-time because the show considered "replacing [him] ... and just doing a cast show." The action-hero star, accused by the comedy show of being humorless, did end up taking the stage in 1991 only to be later mocked in a 1992 Nicolas Cage "SNL" bit with Michaels. ("They probably think I'm the biggest jerk who's ever been on the show," Cage said. "No, no," Michaels responded. "That would be Steven Seagal.") Seagal subsequently continued to thrive on the big screen as the star of movies with the words "kill" and "die" in the title, as well as the box-office hit "Under Siege." He reportedly was offended he was called the worst "SNL" host, and has maintained that he is not humorless. "I think I am very funny, everyone who knows me thinks I’m very funny," he said in 2010. "I think I could be very good in a comedy if the right one came along."
Watch Cage and Michaels poke fun of Seagal: