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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 11, 1975

Live from...Ontario, it's Tuesday afternoon!

Well, okay, it's just the
Tuesday Timeline.  How I opened up this blog is a clue to what the subject is about for today.  Of course, we're just going to have to wait a bit before we get to that subject.

For now, enjoy this list of other happenings that took place on the 11th of October.

1311 - The Ordinances of 1311 are published

1767 - Surveying for the Mason-Dixon line is completed; separating the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania

1776 - The Battle of Valcour Island is fought

1852 - The University of Sydney is founded

1865 - The Morant Bay rebellion is led by Paul Bogle in Jamaica

1890 - The Daughters of the American Revolution is founded in Washington D.C.

1906 - The San Francisco Public School Board orders Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools which causes a diplomatic crisis between Japan and the United States

1910 - Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first President to fly in an airplane

1926 - Baseball player Joe Ginsberg (d. 2012) is born in New York City

1932 - Country singer Dottie West (d. 1991) is born in Smithville, Tennessee

1942 - The Battle of Cape Esperance takes place during World War II

1961 - Actor Leonard "Chico" Marx dies at the age of 74

1968 - NASA launches Apollo 7

1972 - A race riot takes place on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, Kitty Hawk during Operation Linebacker

1984 - Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk

1987 - The National Mall in Washington D.C. displays the AIDS Memorial Quilt for the first time publicly

1991 - Actor Redd Foxx dies on the set of "The Royal Family" from a heart attack, aged 68

1996 - In Estonia, a wood lorry collides with a school bus, killing eight children

2001 - Polaroid files for federal bankruptcy protection

2004 - PBS Kids Go! is launched

And for celebrity birthdays?  Here's a small list of people turning another year older; Earle Hyman, Ron Leibman, John Nettles, Gene Watson, Daryl Hall, Charles Shyer, Paulette Carson, David Morse, Paul Bown, Dawn French, Neil Buchanan, Steve Young, Joan Cusack, Anne Enright, Michael J. Nelson, Sean Patrick Flanery, Luke Perry, Todd Snider, Artie Lange, David Starr, Jane Krakowski, Stephen Moyer, Emily Deschanel, Matt Bomer, Matthew Felker, and Michelle Trachtenberg.

So, the date we're going to revisit is October 11, 1975.  41 years ago.  And I can tell you that this entry is going to be a little bit different.  Sure, I'll talk about why October 11, 1975 was an important date (it has to do with the debut of a television show), but it's more of a celebration piece.

And today, we're celebrating the 41st birthday of "Saturday Night Live"!

From Weekend Updates to Church Ladies, Wayne's World to Celebrity Jeopardy, with Old French Whores, Schwetty Balls, and Roxbury Guys mixed in for flavour, Saturday Night Live has been entertaining audiences on NBC every Saturday night for over four decades.  Many of the actors who have been a part of the show's cast have gone on to become huge stars - and if I had to list every single one who have, I'd be here until the show's 42nd anniversary!  And while most of the shows have been filled with laughs, fun, and improvisation, there has also been some controversial moments associated with the show as well.

So, to celebrate 41 years of SNL, I thought that I'd list 41 different pieces of trivia to commemorate the occasion!  Most of these bits come from the Internet Movie Database, and in all likelihood, you will know some of these already.  But when I was writing this, there were some things that even I didn't know!

So, let's begin!

1 - When the show began, there were seven contracted cast members.  In alphabetical order, they were Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner.

2 - The first celebrity host of Saturday Night Live was comedian George Carlin.

3 - The first musical guests of Saturday Night Live were Janis Ian and Billy Preston.

4 - The youngest regular cast member to join the show was Anthony Michael Hall, who was just seventeen in 1985 - the year he became a cast member.

5 - Kenan Thompson was the first cast member to be born AFTER the show's 1975 debut.

6 - Several people almost became SNL cast members; these included Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Catherine O'Hara, John Goodman, Lisa Kudrow, and Dane Cook.

7 - Steve Carell was also almost cast for the show.  He was turned down, but his wife Nancy joined the cast for the 1995-1996 season!

8 - The year 1980 was a turning point in the show, as show creator Lorne Michaels and the remaining members of the original cast had decided to call it a day.  The show was taken over by Jean Doumanian and had a brand new cast, but the 1980-1981 season was such a trainwreck, it nearly cancelled the show!  It would take five years, and Michaels coming back for the show to bounce back.

9 - Although Steve Martin has hosted the show fifteen times, he was never a cast member - much to some people's insistence.

10 - Tina Fey made history on the show by being the very first female head writer.

11 - With the show being live, it's only natural that some swear words would accidentally filter through.  The F-bomb has dropped a total of at least ten times since the show debuted.

12 - The person who has hosted Saturday Night Live the most is Alec Baldwin, with sixteen different appearances.

13 - Jane Curtin once stated in an interview that John Belushi had a bias against female writers and would sabotage any skit written by a woman by performing the skit lazily.

14 - Every single cast member of "Friends" has hosted the show at least once - except for Matt LeBlanc.

15 - Carly Simon's performance on the May 8, 1976 episode was pre-taped, as she had reservations performing in front of a live audience.

16 - After ripping up a picture of the Pope during her performance on the October 3, 1992 episode, Sinead O'Connor was banned from the show for life.

17 - Other people who have been banned from the show include Adrien Brody, Charles Grodin, Robert Blake, Martin Lawrence, and even original cast member Andy Kaufman!

18 - Chevy Chase - meanwhile - is banned from ever hosting the show again as a result of negative conduct between him and other cast members (though he has appeared as a guest on several episodes)

19 - Longtime show announcer Don Pardo stayed on the show until 2010 (though he had tried to retire twice in between).  From 2010, he recorded his intros from home until his death in 2014.

20 - Louis C.K. did audition for SNL in 1993.  Though he didn't get that role, he would later join the writing staff of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

21 - Charlie Barnett was cast for the 1980-1981 season, but never filmed one episode as it was discovered that he was illiterate.  He was replaced by Eddie Murphy.

22 - Darrell Hammond holds the record for being the oldest SNL cast member (when he left the show in 2008, he was 53).  Hammond also holds the record for most consecutive seasons, staying on the show for thirteen of the show's 42 seasons.

23 - Louise Lasser and Milton Berle share a rather unfortunate history with producer Lorne Michaels.  Theirs are the only episodes to be banned from re-airing by Michaels as he deemed them terrible hosts.

24 - The oldest cast member to join Saturday Night Live is Leslie Jones, who was 47 when she debuted.

25 - There was almost a prime time SNL Election Show that would have featured many of the show's original cast members that would have aired on November 1, 1980 - ironically, it was pre-empted because of the Presidential Debate!

26 - Jim Henson specifically created a set of adult Muppets that were used during the show's first season - but they were retired in 1976 after they failed to make an impact on the audience.

27 - Candice Bergen was the show's first female host.

28 - Although Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell were fired from the show, both of them were rehired the following season.

29 - John Candy was offered to join the cast of SNL in 1981, but he decided to turn the offer down to stay with SCTV.

30 - Back in 1998, Alec Baldwin did a "Christmas Carol" spoof which featured Jimmy Fallon - who joined the cast that year.  In the monologue, Fallon predicted that he would first host the show in December 2011.  His first time hosting?  December 17, 2011.

31 - When Mike Myers created the character of Simon, he based it off of the lead character in the cartoon series "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings".

32 - Gilda Radner was the very first cast member to be hired.

33 - During one episode, Chris Farley accidentally cut his arm with a piece of glass - and you could see the injury in all subsequent sketches.

34 - Terry Gilliam was the only Monty Python cast member to NOT appear on the show.

35 - Kate McKinnon won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2016 - the 50th Emmy win for Saturday Night Live!

36 - The show has filmed on Studio 8H since it began.

37 - One of the most awkward moments on the show took place on October 23, 2004, when Ashlee Simpson was the musical guest.  The wrong song was cued up and it caused her to do a jig on stage before running off.

38 - Nine cast members have died younger than the age of 60; John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Danitra Vance, Michael O'Donoghue, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, Charles Rocket, Tom Davis, and Jan Hooks.

39 - Both Emily Prager and Laurie Metcalf hold the distinctive record of only having been a cast member for ONE episode.  They were both hired by Dick Ebersol at the end of season six when Ebersol took over for Jean Doumanian, but both left by the beginning of season seven.

40 - Christopher Reeve appeared as an audience member in a skit just weeks before hosting the show himself.

And finally...

41 - The current cast of SNL performers include Vanessa Bayer, Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Leslie Jones, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Bobby Moynihan, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, and Sasheer Zamata.

Happy 41st birthday, SNL!


  1. Great job, Matt! FYI, on this season's premiere episode, Kenan Thompson mentioned that he is starting his 14th season, which would tie Darrell Hammond's record.

  2. That's awesome! Assuming he lasts the whole season, he could be on his way of breaking it!