The 10 most controversial ‘SNL’ hosts in history

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Eyes were widened and mouths dropped open late last month when it was announced that Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk would be hosting “Saturday Night Live” on May 8.

His hosting gig prompted outrage from some “SNL” cast members, though they won’t be forced to act alongside him, according to sources. And the show will go on, as Musk — who can’t seem to understand what the fuss is about — has called on his loyal Twitter followers for skit ideas.

But Musk is not the only controversial guest to appear on the NBC sketch comedy show. Take a look back at some of the most shocking hosts and performers over the years.

Adrien Brody

Things got cringeworthy when the Oscar-winner hosted the show with musical guest Sean Paul in 2003. Brody performed a skit that was deemed racially offensive where he went off script and wore fake dreadlocks and spoke with a Jamaican accent. “The Pianist” actor subsequently was booed from the stage and banned from hosting “SNL” ever again.

Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O'Connor ripped a photo of the Pope during her stint as host.
Sinead O’Connor ripped a photo of the Pope during her stint as host.
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The Irish singer further cemented her status as an eccentric and passionate performer when she turned her 1992 performance into a protest. She proceeded to rip up a photo of Pope John Paul II on air to fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Ashlee Simpson

Simpson was the musical guest alongside actor Jude Law during a 2004 hosting gig when the “La La” songstress was infamously caught lip-syncing on stage. She sang her first song without a hitch but when she was about to perform her single “Autobiography,” things went south very fast. Her band began to play the song, however, the vocals for “Pieces of Me” began to play instead. A look of horror washed over her and the show ran to commercial. In a 2018 episode of “Watch What Happens Live,” the singer took responsibility for the mixup.

Donald Trump

Pre-election Trump was asked to host the show in 2015. While the billionaire made fun of his tweets and his money, about 200 people later protested near 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City where the show is filmed.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong hosted "SNL" shortly after news of his doping scandal was released.
Lance Armstrong hosted “SNL” shortly after news of his doping scandal was released.
NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The cycling pro took a shot at hosting during a 2005 episode around the time doping allegations were uncovered by French newspaper L’Equipe. But Armstrong joked in his opening monologue about the report: “The last time I did something too good, the French started testing my urine every 15 minutes.”

Rudy Giuliani

The former New York City mayor took the stage in 1997 and has since been considered one of the worst hosts ever. However, despite the hate, he returned in 2001 shortly after 9/11 and again in 2008. His skits included one where he got friendly with Saddam Hussein and Ted Koppel.

Martin Lawrence

The comedian’s stint on “SNL” shocked viewers when he improvised his 1994 opening monologue and spoke about feminine hygiene. He was supposedly banned from the show after it was reported that the network had received over 200 complaints about his comments. The “Martin” star appeared on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” last year and was asked about his banishment. “I don’t give a damn,” he said. “I’m not banned from ‘SNL.’ They banned me from NBC at the time for a minute. But then they realized the way it went down wasn’t what they thought and then they sent me an apology letter.”

Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal's notorious hosting gig in 1991.
Steven Seagal’s notorious hosting gig in 1991.
NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Seagal’s 1991 stint in the NBC studio was reportedly so bad, clips of his episode have allegedly been erased and no videos of the episode are available for viewing. “SNL” cast member David Spade opened up about Seagal on the “Literally!” podcast in 2020. “He was too cool and he had his image. He couldn’t be relatable,” Spade said.

Bill Burr

The comedian had fans divided over his monologue in 2020 when he said that white women have “hijacked the woke movement.” “Somehow, white women swung their Gucci-booted feet over the fence of oppression and stuck themselves at the front of the line,” Burr said, adding that he has “never heard so much complaining in my life from white women.”

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