Fired Stars Norm Macdonald and Adam Sandler Clapped Back When They Hosted ‘SNL’

‘How did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show?’
Fired Stars Norm Macdonald and Adam Sandler Clapped Back When They Hosted ‘SNL’

Shane Gillis will go down in Saturday Night Live history for one of the strangest trajectories in the show’s history — from new cast member hire to unceremonious firing before appearing in a single show to hosting a few years later. Will Gillis address his dismissal — and the ugly reasons behind it — in his monologue? I’m guessing yes, but that hasn’t always been the case with returning SNL stars who got the heave-ho. 

A number of fired SNL cast members have returned to host with nary a mention of their pink slips. Robert Downey Jr. said he was invited back as part of the show’s distinguished alumni series. When Sarah Silverman hosted in 2014, she interacted with footage of herself as a featured player but didn’t mention her firing. Damon Wayans simply did stand-up. 

But two other discharged cast members took another route, firing back at Lorne Michaels and the show that sent them packing. Is it a coincidence that they were also among the show’s biggest stars? Maybe that’s what gave them the nerve to give SNL the middle finger right from center stage in Studio 8H.

First up, Norm Macdonald. After Norm was let go in 1998 for refusing to stop joking about NBC exec Don Ohlmeyer’s buddy O.J. Simpson, he was asked back in 1999 to host. Why so soon? Norm was as baffled as we were, describing the decision as “kind of weird.”

“I don’t know if you remember this, but I used to actually be on this show,” Macdonald began his monologue. “I used to do the Weekend Update news routine, you remember that? That’s where I did the make-believe news jokes. That was me, right? So then, a year and a half ago, I had sort of a disagreement with the management at the NBC. I wanted to keep my job. Right? And they felt the exact opposite. They fired me because they said that I wasn’t funny. Now, with most jobs, I could have had a hell of a lawsuit on my hands for that, but see, this is a comedy show. So they got me. But now, this is the weird part, it’s only a year and a half later, and now they ask me to host the show. So I wondered, how did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so g**damn funny?”

Fair question! But Macdonald had an answer figured out, one that stuck it to both SNL and NBC. “Then it occurred to me — I haven’t gotten funnier, the show has gotten really bad! So, yeah, I’m funny compared to, you know, what you’ll see later. Okay, so let’s recap, the bad news is: I’m still not funny. The good news is: The show blows!”

Unlike Macdonald and his one-year hiatus, it took Adam Sandler nearly 25 years to return to Saturday Night Live. He claims he’s told his wife and kids that the SNL years were the best of his life, prompting his daughter to ask, “Then why did you leave?” There’s a musical answer to that: “I was fired.” Sure, the song is funny but Sandler gets in some good digs:

Between seasons, I heard a nasty rumor
That I was getting the sack
I tried to call Lorne Michaels
But he never called me back

Ouch. “I’m joking, I’m joking,” says Sandler. But was he? No matter since it’s time to take some shots at NBC:

I guess NBC had enough of Crazy Spoonhead
And the songs I sang on the news
Maybe they were sick of Canteen Boy
But I think they just hate the Jews.

What a good time to remind America that Lorne not only fired Sandler but his buddy Chris Farley as well:

I was fired, not rehired
Well, it made me sad and blue
I told my boy Chris Farley I got fired
and he said, “Sandman, they fired my ass too”

Hey, why not let Chris Rock pile on? The two buddies hug, and Sandler wonders aloud why a huge comedy star like Rock would leave SNL. Rock has the answer:

I got fired, I was fired
I was fired by NBC
Then I went on In Living Color
Three weeks later, they took it off TV

Sandler finished his song by having the last laugh:

I was fired, I was fired
NBC said that I was done
Then I made over $4 billion at the box office
So I guess you could say I won


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