Saturday Night Live has been going strong for over 40 years now, and they’ve produced such blockbuster comedians as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, and many others who went on to successful film and TV careers.
You may think you know everything about the show, but here are 5 things I bet you DIDN’T know about the long-running comedy sketch show.
5. The show’s existence is partly due to Johnny Caron’s desire for more vacation days.
In 1974, Carson requested that NBC stop running reruns of The Tonight Show on the weekends so he could have more vacation days. NBC needed to fill in weekend time slots, so they hired Lorne Michaels to develop a new show.
4. The show was originally called NBC’s Saturday Night.
Howard Cosell already starred in a show called Saturday Night Live at the time, so NBC went with the alternate title. When Cosell’s show ended in 1976, they switched over to the name we all know and love.
3. Cast members were originally paid $700 each week.
That salary rose to $2,000 a week by Season 2 and $4,000 by Season 4.
2. Jim Carrey auditioned twice…and was rejected twice.
I’d say he’s had a pretty good career, but funnyman Carrey was rejected twice by the show, the first time in 1980.
1. Conan O’Brien was not a fan of Wayne Campbell
When Mike Myers was workshopping his Wayne character, he asked a bunch of the SNL writers about it, including Conan O’Brien. Conan remembers thinking, “This poor kid is going to have to learn the hard way.” Don’t know if he learned the lesson Conan thought he would, though…
Now you feel a little smarter, don’t you?
h/t: Mental Floss