11 things you probably never knew about 'Saturday Night Live'

NBC‘SNL’ has been on television since the ’70s.
  • NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” a popular sketch-comedy series, first aired in 1975.
  • It was originally called “NBC’s Saturday Night.”
  • The series began in part because Johnny Carson wanted more time off from his late-night talk show.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Since its premiere in 1975, comedians have dreamed of a job at NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.

The sketch-comedy series, filmed at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, has accumulated over 800 episodes and has been on the air for over 40 years. And even though it’s been around for a while, there’s a lot you may not know about the show.

Here are 11 interesting things you probably didn’t know about “Saturday Night Live.”


The show began in part because Johnny Carson wanted more time off.

NBCCarson wanted more vacation time.

Back in 1974, 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 weekends, but according to AV Club, Carson requested to NBC that the reruns be reserved for his vacation days instead.

To fill that weekend slot, “SNL” was born.


Jim Carrey had two failed attempts at becoming a cast member.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesDespite him not becoming a cast member, Carrey had a successful career.

Although he might be considered one of today’s most iconic comedians, according to Mental Floss, the “Truman Show” star auditioned twice for “SNL,” and was rejected both those times.

He has, however, had a few guest-hosting gigs since then.


Chevy Chase was the first person to utter one of TV’s most iconic phrases on the air.

NBCIt was the start of an iconic line.

During the first episode, Chase had the honour of saying the iconic intro line, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”


…but Darrell Hammond has said it the most.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesHammond broke records on ‘SNL.’

Comedian Darrell Hammond holds a record for saying the intro line the most times.

He said the famous cold-open closer about 70 times during his 14 years on the show.


Tina Fey was the show’s first head female writer.

Getty ImagesShe’s been on- and off-screen many times.

In 1999, Tina Fey became the first female head writer for “Saturday Night Live.” She left her post a few years later to develop the hit sitcom “30 Rock.”


Alec also Baldwin holds an important record.

NBCHe often portrays Donald Trump on ‘SNL.’

Baldwin has racked up the most hosting gigs. As of February 2017, he’s done it a whopping 17 times, reported NBC.

Stars like Steve Martin, John Goodman, and Tom Hanks have also hosted the show over a dozen times.


The show was originally called “NBC’s Saturday Night.”

NBCIt’s hard to imagine the show by any other name.

At the time that Lorne Michaels wanted to create “Saturday Night Live,” the name was already taken by the ABC show “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.”

The ABC show, however, was pronounced by TV Guide as “dead on arrival” and was cancelled in 1976.

Lorne Michaels then grabbed the catchier show title, per History.com.


Kenan Thompson marked a time-sensitive milestone.

SNLHe’s been on the show for over 15 seasons.

Kenan Thompson was the first “SNL” cast member who was born after the show premiered. Thompson was born May 10, 1978, about two and a half years after the show’s premiere.

The actor is still one of the leading cast members on the show – and he’s officially the longest-running one, too.


There are dozens of sketches that don’t air each week.

SNL/YouTubeUsually, an episode airs about eight of them.

The series’ writers prepare 40 to 50 sketches each week, but only less than 10 are used, per The New York Times.


Aubrey Plaza was an intern for “SNL” in 2005.

Jeff Spicer/Getty ImagesShe wanted to pursue sketch comedy.

In 2005, Aubrey Plaza interned at “SNL.” Three years later, she landed an audition for the show but didn’t make the cut.

The experience she had, however, did lead to her getting cast in the film “Funny People” and moving from New York to Los Angeles.

Speaking about the move to The Guardian, the actress said, “And I never left here. I was cast on ‘Parks And Rec’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs The World,’ and it was all happening back to back. So I was thinking, ‘After this, I’ll go back.’ And then ‘Parks’ just kept going. Which is a good thing, but it was kind of abrupt.”


Although “SNL” had always been Mindy Kaling’s dream, timing wasn’t on her side.

Jonathan Leibson/Getty ImagesKaling has long been a fan of ‘SNL.’

The “Mindy Project” star was a huge fan of “SNL.” She told the AV Club in 2007, “I loved ‘SNL.’ I wasn’t like everyone else, I was a big ‘SNL’ nerd.”

She was later offered a job to write for “SNL” not too long after NBC’s “The Office” premiered. She couldn’t break her contract for the sitcom and therefore had to reluctantly turn the “SNL” job down.

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