On May 8, 2010, Betty White became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live at age 88. Fans of the actress had called for SNL to give her the opportunity to host, creating a Facebook campaign that went viral. To honor this anniversary, here are 5 things you might not have known about the legendary sketch show.
Will Ferrell Was SNL's Highest Paid Cast Member During the first season of Saturday Night Live, cast members earned $750 a week. Fortunately, by season two, their wages increased to $2,000, and they earned $4,000 a week during season four. The highest-paid member was comedian Will Ferrell who made $350,000 per season in 2001.
SNL Rejected Comedian Jim Carrey Not Once But Twice Jim Carrey actually was rejected TWICE, once in 1980 and again in 1985. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels never got to see Carrey's audition for the 1980 to 1981 season, explaining that the comedian was rejected by one of the show's staff members. Michaels has stated that Carrey was one of the more confusing rejections of the show. Jim Carrey would go on to have an immensely successful comedy career, and did eventually make his way onto the SNL set. Carrey hosted the show three times and he also appeared in the star-studded lineup for the series' 40th anniversary special in 2015.
Larry David Quit As a Writer But Then Pretended That He Hadn't Larry David wrote for SNL in the 1980s, but was always struggling to get his sketches on the air. Five minutes before the show went live one Saturday night, he went up to Dick Ebersol, the producer at that time, and said, “I’ve had it. I quit.” After he left, he realized how much money he had just cost himself, so he decided to show up to work on Monday as if the incident never happened. The crazy idea worked, and Larry David continued working at SNL for the rest of the season. The story was later used in an episode of Seinfeld.
The Beatles Almost Reunited On SNL In 1976, six years after they had disbanded, The Beatles were offered $230 million by promoter Sid Bernstein to appear together as a band, which they promptly refused. Soon afterwards, Lorne Michaels made a live plea to the Beatles to reunite as musical guests on SNL, stating that NBC had authorized him to offer them “a certified check for $3,000.” John Lennon said they actually considered it. “Paul and I were together watching that show,” Lennon said. “He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired.”
Eddie Murphy Hosted The Show While He Was A Cast Member Eddie Murphy became the only person to host the show while still a cast member. Murphy took over for Nick Nolte when the actor, after partying at Studio 54, was too ill to host the show. Apparently, Murphy’s hosting of the show wasn’t too popular with other members of the cast. It probably didn’t help much when he announced “Live from New York, it's the Eddie Murphy Show!"