Saturday Night Live: 30 scandals and secrets you didn’t know

Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images)
Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images) /
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Damon Wayans  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Damon Wayans  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

8. Damon Wayans goes into business for himself, is fired

People who were around in the 1990s likely know Damon Wayans. As a part of the famous Wayans family, Damon was the first to become very well known. He was one of the funniest cast members of In Living Color and starred in comedy classics like Major Payne.

But most people don’t remember that before that, Wayans had a stint as a performer on Saturday Night Live. When Eddie Murphy left the series, Wayans was seen as a potential replacement as a new star. But, according to Wayans, he wasn’t allowed to do anything Murphy might have done on the show. Perhaps it was to give Wayans more of his own identity?

This did not sit well with Wayans. One sketch called for him to play a straight cop, down the line. Live on the air, however, Wayans went off-script. He portrayed the policeman as very flamboyant. Apparently, the comedian was so angry about being told to be as unlike Eddie Murphy as possible, he purposely changed the character.

Immediately after the sketch, Lorne Michaels gave Wayans his walking papers. But the comedian fully expected to be fired and wound up making a bigger name for himself anyway. It worked out in the end but proved that Lorne Michaels shouldn’t be crossed.