All the F-Bombs Dropped on ‘SNL’ Ever

All the F-Bombs Dropped on ‘SNL’ Ever

What the #$%&? While some cursing is no longer verboten on network television, the F-bomb is still a weapon of mass destruction, the swear that sends shivers up the spine of every censor that ever bleeped a bleep. Saturday Night Live has a long history with the expletive, earning some guests a lifetime ban (or not) and costing others their jobs. Here’s a ranking of the most notorious F-bombs in SNL history…

Sam Rockwell: The Mr. Science Slip

At least he was in character. Rockwell as the frustrated Mr. Science dropped two F-bombs into the Bunsen burner while venting about extremely dumb kids. Because Rockwell did the deed in 2018, the swearing didn’t make nearly the splash that earlier utterances did. 

Kristen Stewart: The Overexcited F-Bomb

Same goes for Stewart, who described her 2017 hosting experience as “the coolest f***ing thing.” America didn’t care, but Kate McKinnon nearly lost her dang mind.

Samuel L. Jackson: The What’s Up With That?

Jackson told Leslie Jones that he got a lifetime ban from SNL after firing off the F-word during a “What’s Up With That?” sketch. Not true, says Kenan Thompson. “He dropped the F-bomb on the show, but he says I was supposed to cut him off before that,” Thompson told Jimmy Fallon. “We kinda expect the F-word out of Sam Jackson, so no harm done. Then he doubled down and said it again, and I was like, ‘Yo, my man, we got to pay for those.'” As for the ban? Thompson says Jackson is welcome back anytime. 

Norm Macdonald: The Not-Quite-Farewell Performance

During a Weekend Update installment, Macdonald tripped over a setup, causing him to loudly clear his throat and wonder, “What the fuck was that?” Once the words slipped past his lips, a laughing Macdonald realized what he’d done. As the audience cheered the inappropriate bungle, Macdonald announced that this was likely “my farewell performance.”  As it turned out, NBC execs were more concerned about his O.J. jokes.

Prince: The Thank God for Charles Rocket

On the very same night that Charles Rocket infamously flung his F-bomb, musical guest Prince did the same thing during his performance of “Party Up” which included the phrase “fuckin’ bore.” Because song lyrics can fly by pretty quickly, no one seems to have caught it. Prince is just one of several musical acts who’ve gotten away with F-bomb flagrant fouls over the years, including Morris Day and the Time, Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Janet Jackson. 

Paul Shaffer: The Original F-Bomber

While Rocket gets the notoriety for dropping the first SNL F-bomb, the honor actually belongs to Paul Shaffer, who did the deed one season earlier. Shaffer had been promoted to a featured player for Season Five and appeared in a sketch about medieval torture that used the word “flogging” as a swearing substitute. “I got carried away,” Shaffer confessed in the oral history Live From New York, “and just without thinking, I said, ‘You had the fucking beat before.’”  

Why didn’t Shaffer get more grief? “Nobody noticed I said ‘fuck’ because we were doing these bad English accents. You couldn’t hear it, it wasn’t really clear. I remember Laraine (Newman) coming over to me right after and saying, ‘Thank you for making broadcast history.’ And then Lorne (Michaels) came over and said, ‘You just broke the last barrier.’”

Jenny Slate: The Inauspicious Beginning

You can almost hear the slow-motion “Oooooohhhhh nooooooooo” in Jenny Slate’s head when she dropped an F-bomb during her first ever SNL sketch. Some believe the goof was the reason Slate got fired from SNL but she told InStyle that’s not true. “By the way, everyone always thinks I got fired for saying fuck: I didn’t, that's not why I got fired,” she says. “I just didn’t belong there. I didn’t do a good job, I didn’t click. I have no idea how Lorne felt about me. All I know is, it didn’t work for me, and I got fired.”

Charles Rocket: The Final Straw

Depending on who you believe, Rocket’s F-bomb during a Dallas parody cost not only his job but producer Jean Doumanian’s as well. After Rocket told her that it was unintentional, she decided to stand by the comic. According to Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, “Rocket, accompanied by Jean, spent most of the following week apologizing to a long procession of NBC executives.” The executives were unimpressed with Rocket’s lack of sincerity, but Doumanian stood firm. “If you’re going to fire him,” she reportedly said in one meeting, “you can fire me.”

In the end, NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff decided to take her up on it.


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