False Facts About SNL You Always Thought Were True

Nearly everyone has seen the hit sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live: it's been on the air now for more than 40 years. Dozens of well-known actors and actresses have gotten their starts on the show, making SNL a stepping stone toward a successful career in comedy. Having premiered in 1975, there are many facts about the show that have become skewed over the years. Maybe you believe these things yourself. These are some facts about the infamous show that you always thought were true. Well ... sorry!

Betty White is the oldest guest to appear on the show

Betty White has been making us laugh for decades now, but for most of those years, she hadn't been asked to host Saturday Night Live. Many fans were shocked to realize this, and a hopeful Facebook campaign was created in 2009. Just three months after the campaign was created, several hundred thousand people had joined in the hopes of getting White on the show. When the campaign was brought up by the Los Angeles Times, White said, "I don't know where that came from. That came out of left field. I understand they've had all of these hits." She also mentioned that she'd have to take the time to think about who her dream musical guest would be because apparently she had a long list of potential candidates. And who was the lucky winner? Jay-Z performed on SNL in 2010 during the special Mother's Day episode hosted by Ms. White that spring.

Aside from being one of the few episodes where more women took the stage than men, it also made history when White was named the oldest guest to have ever appeared on the show. However, hosting the show at 88 years old, the golden girl wasn't actually the oldest guest on the show. In 1979, SNL was in its fourth season when popular jazz musician Eubie Blake performed at the age of 92, making him the oldest person to have ever appeared on the show. White is, however, the oldest person to have hosted Saturday Night Live. Maybe Hugh Hefner will one-up her this year.

You can watch any SNL episode in reruns

A lot of today's SNL fans weren't even born when the show first aired. Even so, any young night owl knows it's pretty easy to stumble upon SNL reruns. But if you're relying on these reruns or your DVD collection to binge-watch each SNL season, you might be missing out on a few episodes — episodes like Episode 17 of Season 4.

Milton Berle was an American comedian and actor, best known for hosting The Milton Berle Show on NBC in the '50s. He hosted SNL for the first and only time in 1979, apparently making a spectacle of himself both on and off camera. It seems Berle's experience hosting his own show made him feel like he didn't need to take any direction on set, so he spoke directly into the camera and went off script with his jokes. When the cameras weren't rolling, he even took it upon himself to give direction to the crew, resulting in a show that didn't necessarily follow SNL's recipe for humor. To make matters worse, writers and other crew members were victims of his lewd and inappropriate behavior backstage, as he refused to wear more than his underwear while walking around. The episode has never been aired on television since it was live in 1979 and wasn't included in the DVD collection until 2003, as the creators understandably felt the episode would hurt the show's reputation. Now, however, you can check out the episode on Hulu or YouTube.

Donald Trump was heckled by Larry David

Donald Trump hosted SNL, as most presidential candidates do, in November 2015. Some viewers might have been caught off guard when the current president was called a racist. Many thought at first that this was part of a campaign to heckle Trump on the show run by DeportRacism.com. The anti-Trump organization had announced that they would be giving $5,000 to anyone in the audience who interrupted Trump's performance by calling him a racist. So when someone shouted "You're a racist!" seemingly from the audience on live television, many thought he was truly being heckled.

Trump huffed and puffed, muttering "I knew this was going to happen," and it seemed like it was real for that brief moment. The camera then panned to Larry David shouting, "Trump's a racist!" with smirk on his face, and it was obvious the whole thing was a joke. Rolling Stone spoke to Luke Montgomery, the campaign director at DeportRacism.com, and he announced that he would be sending David the cash along with a T-shirt promoting the brand. He also added, "It may have been a joke but it got the point across in a huge way." Having David and Trump make the joke so early in the show was likely designed to prevent anyone in the audience from attempting to cash in on the opportunity, but it worked well in the opening monologue.

The show is always live

This isn't necessarily true. While the show might seem like it's live while it's aired, episodes are often edited to remove controversial content. This is done either quickly during any live shows with a short delay or even doing full scene cuts before the episode airs on the West Coast. For example, in 1986 comedian Sam Kinison (known for his loud and politically incorrect sense of humor) was censored to an extent not reached by any other guest on SNL. According to the Houston Chronicle, they chose to cut audio and video on two of his segments, creating dead air for viewers on the East Coast. Viewers on the West Coast saw still shots of the previous year's cast tossed in the middle of the set.

Another time the show moved away from the live shot was when Sinead O'Connor made a shocking protest during her performance in 1992. O'Connor had told SNL producers that she'd like to make a statement against child abuse by holding up a photo of a child while she sang. Director Dave Wilson described the rehearsal version of O'Connor's performance as "a very tender moment." But during the live taping, she made a protest against child abuse in the church by changing lyrics in the song. Instead of holding up a photo of a child, O'Connor held up a photo of Pope John Paul II on the last word of the song ("evil"), ripped up the photo, and stated strongly, "fight the real enemy." Producers and directors were blindsided by the singer's actions, and the live version went out nationwide that night. In reruns, producers used the dress rehearsal version. Lots of people got angry, but O'Connor has been slowly vindicated through the years; the sex abuse scandals coming out of the Catholic Church haven't exactly slowed down in recent years.

Musical guests get paid a fortune to appear

After SNL was declared a hit show, it became clear to producers that musical guests would benefit more from appearing on the show than the show would for having them on. It was then that they decided to no longer pay for musical appearances, according to Parade. Labels would even pay the show's production costs if it meant their client would get some air time because they knew it would result in a ton of album sales.

Hosts, however, do get paid. Justin Timberlake revealed in an interview on Entertainment Tonight that he got paid $5,000 for hosting the show, saying, "It's the best five grand you can make on television!" Not exactly the A-list paycheck you might expect, but appearing on the show has become something of a privilege. Most celebrities are honored to be asked on the show in the first place.

Adam Sandler and Chris Farley quit the show

In the early '90s, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley were still several years away from their respective ascents to fame. But to those who were fans of SNL, the two were already famous. Many have come to believe that the two left the show to pursue their film careers since they both went on to appear in amazing movies soon after, however Sandler recently admitted that the two were fired.

In an interview with The Daily Beast he explained, "Yes, we were [fired]. We kind of quit at the same time as being fired. ... It hurt a lot at the time because we were young and didn't know where we were going, but it all worked out." Yeah, you can say that again!

Chevy Chase was one of the show's most beloved comedians

He might have been one of the original members of the cast, but Chevy Chase was far from loved by anyone on set. Aside from having some serious territorial issues, it seems that Chase was also pretty sexist and quite homophobic as well. According to the Huffington Post, there were many behind-the-scenes stories revealed in a book titled Live From New York that didn't shed the comedian in the best light.

One cast member, Jon Lovitz, recalled a time when he witnessed Chase's homophobic behavior, saying Chase asked Terry Sweeney, a gay cast member, to lick his balls. The book also claims that one of Chase's sketch ideas involved Sweeney having AIDS and being weighed on the show each week. Even funnyman Will Ferrell felt Chase took it too far once when he was making jokes about everyone in the room. "When he got to one of our female writers, he made some reference like, 'Maybe you can give me a hand job later.' In hindsight, I wish we'd all gotten up and walked out of the room." Or Ferrell could have taken a page out of Bill Murray's book by simply beating the crap out of the sexist pig. Many cast members remember going out of their way to hide from the man when they heard he'd be on set.

No joke is off limits

It seems that most jokes are fair game on SNL, but high on the list of no-no jokes are jokes about a president's child. In 1992, several cast members and the producers learned this the hard way. During the show's infamous "Wayne's World" skit, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey made the mistake of talking about 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton. Just days after Bill Clinton was elected president, the show took the opportunity to create a humorous list of things the public would have to look forward to during the Clinton administration. Sounds harmless, but according to the Weekly Standard the second item on the list was Chelsea Clinton: "While it's true that adolescence has been thus far unkind, we think she's gonna be a future fox. Chelsea Clinton — not a babe." The comments started some major controversy and apologies were quickly sent out. Reruns have since cut the scene out.

More recently, SNL made news when one of its writers made harsh comments about 10-year-old Barron Trump in similar fashion. Kate Rich has been a writer on the show since 2013 and was recently suspended from her position according to The New York Times. She was under fire after tweeting to her followers, "Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter." Rich has since apologized for her comments, but that didn't stop the president from tweeting a defense: "NBC News is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!"

Ashlee Simpson is the only performer known to lip-sync

The wannabe pop star wasn't the first to lip-sync on the live show, and she probably wasn't the last. Ashlee Simpson destroyed any possibility of having a career in entertainment when she chose not to sing during her musical appearance on SNL over a decade ago. Then she also lied after the wrong track was played on live television. ABC News reported that the pop star said, "My band started playing the wrong song. I didn't know what to do so I thought I'd do a hoedown." She isn't the only performer caught lip-syncing on the live show however.

Eminem was accused of lip-syncing in 2013 after many speculated that his lips didn't match up to the lyrics he was singing. TMZ accused the rapper of not even trying, saying he kept pulling the mic away from his mouth but that the track could still be heard playing. Earlier in 2008, Kanye West was accused of the same thing, but both artists denied lip-syncing. It's said that the first musical guest to have been caught lip-syncing was ABBA in 1975. According to A.V. Club, the group sang along to a prerecorded track during the first performance, going through the motions of playing their instruments. But then they completely lip-synced their second performance, ultimately pissing off SNL producer Lorne Michaels. The show has also admitted to allowing some artists to prerecord their performances, the first being Carly Simon. In 1976, Simon who is known for her hit "You're So Vein" suffered from severe stage fright and was allowed to record two of her songs without a live audience.