In a podcast with Kevin Smith, The ABC’s of SNL, Jon Lovitz once detailed what really happened (according to Lovitz) when Nora Dunn refused to appear on the 1990 episode hosted by Andrew Dice Clay. He basically said that Nora had no real objection to Dice, and she was actually trying to drum up some publicity for herself because she was about to be fired from the show. Lovitz called it a “betrayal” and said that Nora Dunn had made the cast “look like we were sell-outs for doing the show with him.”
Dunn, in a new interview series with Saturday Night Live cast members on Salon, tells her side of the story. She doesn’t say anything about trying to drum up publicity for herself and says she didn’t do the show because Andrew Dice Clay — the character — was an abuser of women and a homophobe.
And then there’s Andrew Dice Clay, the character, who was an abuser of women and he was a homophobe. And his material was terrible. He just wasn’t smart enough to handle that material. And our writing staff was not the writing staff to handle that material either [for him to host the show]. Lorne said, “Andrew Dice Clay was a phenomenon worth examining.” And yeah, he was a phenomenon, but if you’re going to examine him, he shouldn’t be the host, you should write an article. We didn’t examine the hosts of SNL. We supported them, we wrote for them, and we made them look good. Otherwise you’d never get a host. You’re there to make them look good. SNL was not capable of handling that kind of stuff and it was a sad moment, but whatever. I was well aware of that guy’s so-called “work.” He had been a comedian for many years, and he gradually became Andrew Dice Clay and he got more and more into it and he lost his way because he wasn’t smart enough.
Despite statements that Lovitz has made about her, Dunn doesn’t hold any animosity against him (although, she’s not as kind about Victoria Jackson):
[Jon Lovitz and I never made] amends because we were never the kind of friends that had to make amends. I am not interested in what he has to say. I am not interested in what Victoria Jackson has to say. She has said Obama is a Muslim who has imposed Sharia Law on us—crazy stuff like that. Jon’s not like that. Jon is a good guy, he’s a funny guy, and he’s a strange guy. I was never angry about anything he said about me, so I don’t know where it came from. But it was his problem, not mine. I felt for Victoria because I don’t think she fit in on SNL. And I couldn’t work with her because we weren’t on the same page—ever. We weren’t even in the same book. We happened to be on the same show.
The rest of the interview over on Salon is likewise excellent, as she details her time on SNL, expresses disappointment that Jan Hooks didn’t get a proper tribute at SNL 40 and talks about the hosts that she was most excited to meet. It’s a must-read for fans of SNL history.