On October 11, 1975, Chevy Chase belted out the very first "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" and kicked off one of the most iconic TV shows in American history. Here are five things you didn't know about Saturday Night Live...
The Show Was Developed Because Johnny Carson Wanted More Vacation Time Back in 1974, Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show," and it was a huge moneymaker for NBC. At the time, the network aired reruns of the late-night talk show on the weekends, but Carson requested that NBC save his reruns for his vacation days instead. To fill that weekend slot, NBC asked Lorne Michaels, a producer, actor, and writer to come up with an idea for a new show. Debuting on October 11, 1975, his creation quickly developed a cult following, eventually becoming a mainstream hit.
Chevy Chase Was the First to Say an Iconic Phrase From the Show Chevy Chase was the first person to say “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” at the opening of the show. The comedian said he tried to deliver the line the way Don Pardo, the radio and television announcer, would have done it. Chase’s last appearance on the show was in 2015 for its 40th-anniversary special.
Darrell Hammond Has Said The Show's Opening Line The Most
Darrell Hammond holds the record at SNL by saying the “Live from New York” catchphrase 70 times. He also held the record for the longest consecutive tenure of any SNL cast member in the show's history (14 seasons), until he was surpassed by Kenan Thompson in 2017. Hammond was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009, and was popular for his many impressions. His impression of President Bill Clinton is currently the most frequent SNL impression of all time, appearing in 87 sketches over 14 years in the cast and numerous cameos.
Alec Baldwin Has Hosted the Show the Most Times
Alec Baldwin has hosted the show 17 times, with his first appearance as host on April 21, 1990. Although he does a large number of impressions, he has appeared as Donald Trump in cameos on the show since October 1, 2016. Other stars who have hosted the show at least 12 times include Tom Hanks, John Goodman, and Steve Martin.
The Show Originally Had a Different Name Lorne Michaels originally wanted to call the show “Saturday Night Live,” but the name was already taken by the ABC show "Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell." So the show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title "NBC's Saturday Night". After the cancellation of the Cosell show, NBC purchased the rights to the name in 1976 and officially adopted the new title on March 26, 1977.