For the nearly 47 years it’s been on air, SNL has managed to keep things relatively clean, despite being a live show. Honcho Lorne Michaels banned Elvis Costello for years and years, all because he played a song he hadn’t planned to, thus mucking up the show’s air-tight schedule. Charles Rocket was fired from the show when he dropped an f-bomb. Champion swearer Samuel L. Jackson did that, too, but while he’s not officially banned, he thinks he is. And he blames it all on Kenan Thompson.
On Friday, the same day he was awarded an honorary Oscar, Jackson appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which was guest hosted by SNL vet Leslie Jones. The two got around to talking about the longtime sketch show, which he’s only hosted once, in 1998, though he did a guest appearance in 2012, on an episode hosted by alum Martin Short. It was during another spin of Thompson’s beloved recurring sketch “What’s Up With That?”, in which he’s talk show host who keeps interrupting guests by bursting into song, that he let slip the f-word (as well as “bulls*it”).
“Kenan got me banned from Saturday Night Live,” Jackson told Jones. “He didn’t cut me off soon enough and I said the forbidden word on television. He was supposed to cut me off!”
You can watch the clip below, and though the moment, which arrives around the 6:20 mark, is censored, you can see Thompson never had the chance to cut him off. (His response, though, is hilarious.) What’s more, Entertainment Weekly confirmed with SNL that even though Jackson has never been on the show since, he’s not banned. So bring him back, Lorne Michaels! After all, he managed to not curse during Sesame Street.