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    17 "SNL" Behind-The-Scenes Stories You've Definitely Never Heard Before

    Will Ferrell and Bill Hader just might be the funniest humans in existence.

    1. Will Ferrell once wore the same outfit — Wrangler jeans, a Western shirt, a vest, and a trucker hat — for an entire season of SNL.

    Ferrell in said outfit during the “Smokey and the Bandit” sketch

    Ferrell initially rocked the ~lewk~ for just two days as part of a “Smokey and the Bandit” parody. It was November at the time and one of the show's writers, Tom Gianas, dared him to wear it until the season ended. Ferrell agreed and wore the outfit to work every day until the end of the season in May.

    2. Fred Armisen and Bill Hader used to constantly prank call Seth Meyers at 4 a.m., pretending to be on a radio show.

    Hader on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" telling the story of him and Armisen prank calling Meyers, Meyers being confused, then them hanging up and saying, "Fuck you, Seth!"

    Seth worked some wild hours when he was one of the show's head writers, but that didn't stop his castmates from waking him up in the middle of the night for a good laugh. Fred's recurring bit was that he was being phone interviewed on a radio show and had accidentally given out Seth's number.

    3. The only reason Eddie Murphy didn’t get fired from the show with the rest of the cast after his first season was because head writer Michael O'Donoghue thought Murphy ate dog food live on air.

    Murphy's eating during the segment on "Weekend Update"

    That year, Murphy went on "Weekend Update" to do a bit about old people eating dog food that he read in the newspaper. The "dog food" he was eating had actually been hash all along, but O'Donoghue didn't know that. So, at the end of that season, when O'Donoghue fired everyone but Murphy and Joe Piscopo, he said, "And the only reason Murphy didn't get fired was 'cause he ate that dog food!" Murphy revealed that it'd actually been hash, but he still kept his spot on the show.

    4. The first time John Mulaney was on camera, he missed his cue because he and Bobby Moynihan were so excited, they couldn’t stop high-fiving.

    Mulaney's appearance in the "Activia" sketch

    You can watch the Activia commercial sketch here and listen to Mulaney talk about his time as a writer on SNL here.

    5. Bill Hader got kicked out of Kate McKinnon’s audition because he couldn’t stop laughing.


    One of Lorne Michaels' rules for SNL auditions is that nobody is supposed to laugh. On Ellen, Hader explained that McKinnon was so funny, he "was laughing so hard, they were like, 'get Bill out of here!'"

    6. Larry David once stormed out of the studio and quit his job at SNL because his sketches never made it to air. He came back the following Monday like nothing had ever happened.


    The last straw for David was when one of his sketches made it to dress rehearsal and was cut five minutes before the live show started. He yelled at producer Dick Ebersol, told him that he quit...and came back the next Monday like it'd never even happened in the first place. The incident went on to inspire an episode of Seinfeld.

    7. Before the last show of season 27, the writers threw a wild party that ended with a spilled-punch slip 'n' slide, Horatio Sanz fracturing his ribs, and a towel full of vomit in front of Carson Daly's office.

    Jimmy Fallon sliding across the table of spilled drinks

    Jimmy Fallon got the party started by sliding across the punch table as pictured above, and it wasn't long before everyone else lined up to join in on the fun. They even used pizza boxes as sleds, which caused them to gain so much speed that eventually someone had to stand at the end of the table and catch people so nobody dove right out the 17th floor window. By the end of the night, not only was the table broken, but Sanz ended up in the ER after fracturing his ribs when his dive didn't go quite as planned. You can watch Fallon talk about "Tablegate" with Sanz and Seth Meyers.

    8. When Paris Hilton hosted the show, Seth Meyers made a bet that he'd pay $1,000 to the first person she asked a personal question to.

    Paris Hilton hosting "SNL"

    Maya Rudolf got the closest when Hilton asked her if she was Italian, but nobody got the money in the end.

    9. When Bill Hader hosted in 2018, John Mulaney made an appearance on “Weekend Update” where he tried to make Bill break by whispering “My girlfriend works at Yoshinoya Beef Bowl” in his ear.

    Mulaney and Hader on "Weekend Update"

    Mulaney was one of Stefon's creators and had a history of adding jokes into his "Weekend Update" appearances at the last minute to make Hader break character. Even though Mulaney was on screen this time, he was still determined to make Hader laugh. You can watch the sketch here.

    10. Will Ferrell accidentally punched Ellen DeGeneres in the face while rehearsing a sketch and gave her boxing headgear as an apology gift.

    Ferrell and Poehler being interviewed on "Ellen"

    You can watch the interview where they talk about it here.

    11. The night before her SNL audition, Cheri Oteri got awful food poisoning. She still showed up to the studio the next morning, but she looked and felt so awful that the makeup artist greeted her by saying, "Oh my God, what happened to you?"


    Oteri went out to a famous Italian restaurant with Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell the night before her audition, and ended up wide awake the rest of the night with horrible food poisoning. She explained in the New York Times, "All the blood vessels in my eyes were broken, and the blood vessels in my face. I did not sleep...I looked like I was in a car accident."

    12. Rachel Dratch once threw her back out in the middle of a read-through, so Johnny Knoxville reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of loose pills to offer her.


    Dratch, being the icon that she is, spent the rest of the read-through lying on the floor under the table and shouting her lines to the room of 100+ people. According to Amy Poehler, she killed it, too. Knoxville, who was hosting that week, tried to help by offering her some of the loose pills from his pocket. As Poehler explains, "There were no tags, no names... And he looked at me and went 'these are all uppers, these aren't going to work.'" Poehler thought it was all so funny, she used it as inspiration for a scene in her movie Wine Country.

    13. Back in the day, it wasn't unusual for male writers on the show to pee in cups and leave them around their offices.


    From a big jar of the stuff in the "Weekend Update" office to a bunch of small paper cups around Steve Higgins' office, Tina Fey explained in her the New Yorker piece that the difference between male and female comedy writers seems to be...leaving cups of pee around??

    14. Aidy Bryant once returned from the bathroom to find that Kate McKinnon had been dancing around with a hammer and knocked a hole into the wall of their office.

    Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon posing together
    Angela Weiss / Getty Images

    The SNL offices were being renovated, and McKinnon had heard that the walls and everything were going to be torn down. So, naturally, she and a friend danced around with a hammer and knocked a big hole into her office wall to celebrate. Bryant came back from the bathroom with some unfortunate news —the walls were just being painted, not torn down.

    15. A very pregnant Amy Poehler broke into tears at rehearsal the night before Jon Hamm was hosting, and he had the perfect words of advice for her: "Get your shit together."

    John Hamm hosting "SNL"

    Poehler was due the next day, but she got a call during rehearsal that her OBGYN had passed away from a heart attack. The studio went silent while she broke into tears, but Hamm had the perfect words of encouragement to break the tension. He said, "This is a really important show for me, I need you to get your shit together." Poehler, of course, couldn't help but laugh.

    16. Lorne Michaels once cut a sketch from airing because then–presidential hopeful Barack Obama thought it was funny but too controversial.


    The "TV Funhouse" sketch — which was about racial profiling of an Arab man on an airplane — caused quite a stir between the writers and the show's standards team. Obama was already on set for a cameo in the cold open, and Michaels decided that if Obama gave it the all-clear, they'd have to let the sketch run. While he did think it was funny, Obama ultimately decided it was a little too controversial in the end. You can read more about the infamous sketch here.

    17. Will Ferrell had a face-to-face meeting with Michaels before his callback, so naturally Ferrell showed up with a briefcase full of counterfeit money to prank him.

    Universal Pictures

    Ferrell told the New York Times that his plan was to pile $25,000 worth of fake money on Michaels' desk in the middle of the meeting and say something along the lines of, "Listen, Lorne, you and I can say whatever we want to say. But we really know what talks, and that’s money. I’m going to walk out of this room, and you can either take this money or not. And I can be on the show." In the end, the vibe of the meeting was much less laid-back than Ferrell had been expecting, so he didn't go through with his genius plan after all.

    Did we miss any of your favorite behind-the-scenes SNL stories? If so, tell us all about them in the comments below!

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