SNL has had some stinkers over the years, but the worst episode is generally considered to be the one hosted by Steven Seagal on April 20, 1991. “He didn’t want to go along with what the plan was that week. As a result, I think that was the first week that I heard talk about replacing the host and just doing a cast show,” former-cast member David Spade said in the SNL tell-all book, Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, while creator Lorne Michaels joked about Seagal’s inability to take a joke and work with the cast on the show itself.
In an interview with Howard Stern this week, Bob Odenkirk, an SNL writer at the time, discussed just how much of a “nightmare” it was working with the notorious creep. The Better Call Saul star pitched him on a Hans and Franz sketch, and “Seagal read it and he said, ‘If I do this sketch… I have to beat them up.’ It’s like a John Wayne thing, right? It’s the most ludicrous scenario, don’t worry, no one’s thinking anyone beat anyone up.”
That was Seagal’s attitude the entire week leading up to the episode. He kept saying, “I haven’t seen your show, I don’t know what you do here,” which is like someone walking into a McDonald’s and asking what kind of food do they serve. Odenkirk’s interview with Stern is worth watching if only to see how giddy he gets when describing the scene that Seagal wrote. I’m not sure he’s ever be happier, and he survived a heart attack.
Anyway, the real victim here: Michael Bolton, that episode’s musical guest.