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Saturday Night Live: A history of f-bombs

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Will Heath/NBC

Saturday Night Live has been on the air since 1975, giving us 42 seasons to witness the magic of live television, Pope photo-tearing incidents, lip-sync jigs, and all. Of course, with the excitement of real-time comedy comes the risk of on-air gaffes, a lesson Kristen Stewart learned the hard way this weekend.

The actress accidentally dropped an f-bomb during her opening monologue, saying, “We’ve got a great show, and I totally care that I’m here because it’s the coolest f—ing thing ever.” Stewart quickly realized her mistake and covered her mouth, quipping that she’d never be asked back to SNL, but the damage was done.

Of course, Stewart is in pretty good company when it comes to putting NBC’s censors to work. In fact, she joins a long list of both guests and cast members who have uttered the infamous four-letter word live on air. Below, we’ve rounded up SNL‘s f-word slip-ups in all their @#$*ing glory.

Paul Shaffer, 1980

Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Usually being first in something is a good thing, but Shaffer’s honor of ‘First to Curse on SNL‘ isn’t exactly something to celebrate. Although, what did the cast members expect when they wrote this medieval sketch that swapped “flogging” in every other word? Shaffer recalled the curse heard ’round the world in his memoir, saying “It went really well in the dress rehearsal. So well that I added extra ‘flogging’s until there was finally just a total slip. I went white. When it was over, Lorne Michaels came up and said, ‘You broke down the last barrier.'”

Charles Rocket, 1981

Though Shaffer managed to keep his job, things didn’t go as smoothly for Rocket following his mix-up. Rocket accidentally said the four-letter word during a Dallas-themed sketch in which he was playing the famous J.R. Ewing, and casually remarked, “It’s the first time I’ve ever been shot in my life. I’d like to know who the f— did it.” Oops. Rocket was fired mid-season.

Prince, 1981

Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Purple One managed to avoid censoring his lyrics to “Partyup,” and made quite the statement with the line, “Fightin’ war is such a f—— bore,” which you can watch here.

Jon Lovitz, 1989

Raymond Bonar/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

You can read the sketch’s script here, but ‘Da War of Da Woilds’ definitely won’t have the same effect on paper as it did live, when Lovitz managed to ditch the ‘funking’ stand-in for the real thing.

Steven Tyler, 1990

The Aerosmith frontman kept it cool when he and the rest of the band dropped by the Wayne’s World basement for a sketch with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, but the rocker couldn’t help himself during a performance of “Monkey on My Back,” and didn’t bother censoring the lyrics, “get the f—— monkey off my back.”

Morris Day, 1990

Day dropped by accompanied by his band The Time, and a quick break in their song “Chocolate” proved the perfect time for Day to ask, “Where the f— this chicken come from? I thought I ordered ribs!”

Michael Stipe, 1994

Does it count if you don’t actually see the word being said? Stipe performed the expletive-laced last line to “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” but turned his back to the cameras as he uttered the infamous word.

Beastie Boys, 1994

Beastie Boys SNL: Sure Shot and Heart Attack Man from BeastieBoysMedia on Vimeo.

The Beastie Boys have always been known for energetic performances, so it wasn’t all that surprising when their SNL showing of “Sure Shot” accidentally slipped in the f-word.

Norm Macdonald, 1997

Macdonald dropped the f-bomb after tripping on his words while manning the Weekend Update desk. “What the f— was that?” he asked to the delight of the audience. Macdonald knew his bosses would be none too pleased, as he nervously joked afterward, “My farewell performance… Maybe I’ll see you next week, folks.”

System of a Down, 2005

The politically-charged “B.Y.O.B” lyrics include the f-word a lot. However, the show was pretty good at censoring the tune — except for an ad-libbed ‘F— yeah!’ from guitarist Daron Malakian. Thanks to his bugged-out eyes, you can tell from the video that he realized his mistake right away, but alas, System of a Down has not appeared on SNL since.

Jenny Slate, 2009

So much for beginner’s luck. Slate let the word slip during a sketch with Kristen Wiig on her very first episode as a cast member. The puffed-up cheeks and deer-in-the-headlights look she gives directly after made it even more cringe-worthy, as did the fact that Slate was let go after her first and only season.

Samuel L. Jackson, 2012

If you’ve seen that movie about the snakes on a plane (you know which one), then you know Samuel L. Jackson loves a good expletive. The details behind this specific expletive, however, are murky, as Jackson claimed after the show that he really only said “fuh.” Riiight. Jackson also blamed the situation on cast member Kenan Thompson, for not cutting him off fast enough. Listen for yourself and see if you can catch the elusive ‘k.’

Kristen Stewart, 2017

We just want to make sure you watch this again and appreciate Kate McKinnon’s response.