‘Saturday Night Live’ Accidentally Predicted Kevin Spacey’s Awfulness
While these days he’s primarily known for his appearances at sexual assault trials and posting vaguely threatening videos on social media over the holidays, at one point in time, Kevin Spacey was a famous actor, appearing in major motion pictures that made enough money to purchase a used mattress on Craigslist.
In his capacity as a celebrity America didn’t hate, Spacey hosted Saturday Night Live twice. The first time, back in a simpler era known as 1997, it was a genuinely great episode of SNL. In addition to Spacey — who, again, we have to remind you, people loved at the time — the musical guest was Beck, then hot off the heels of releasing the acclaimed Odelay.
Monty Python’s Michael Palin and John Cleese also randomly popped by to poke fun at the newly instituted TV ratings system in the show’s cold open, and toward the end of the episode, even performed the iconic Dead Parrot sketch, which received a surprisingly muted response from the crowd, because, as Palin later explained, the audience was mouthing the words along with them.
This particular episode also featured the debut of Norm Macdonald’s terrific David Letterman impression (“Uhh, ya got any gum?”) and the Star Wars celebrity screen tests.
But easily the show’s weirdest moment, in retrospect, is the monologue entirely predicated on the idea that Kevin Spacey is secretly a giant creep. While it was hilarious at the time, it’s goddamn chilling now. The monologue, which perhaps not coincidentally is nowhere to be found on YouTube, features Spacey softly crooning an old romantic ballad in an effort to show off his “sentimental side.” As he sings, a series of captions inform the audience that the producers only went along with the musical number because Spacey “threatened” them. Which they took seriously because he has “a history of violent behavior.”
The text also humorously claims that Spacey “stuck a gun in Norm Macdonald’s mouth” and threw announcer Don Pardo “down a flight of stairs” before ending with the declaration that Spacey “really is a psycho.” Obviously, this was playing on Spacey’s villainous on-screen persona at the time, but the premise that the acclaimed performer secretly had an abusive dark side seems weirdly prescient now, seeing as he’s currently standing trial for multiple sexual assaults in the U.K., in addition to a laundry list of other past allegations.
Spacey hosted again, but from what we can tell, it didn’t contain any retroactively horrific jokes. Oh, and he was welcomed back to SNL in 2021 — in name only, for a sketch about a heavily-redacted 1990s episode of Hollywood Squares, also featuring Bill Cosby and Jared Fogle.
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