Frank Zappa’s Awkward SNL Episode
6th June 1969: Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993), lead singer with the Mothers of Invention, rehearsing for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall during his European tour. (Photo by Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images)
He’s Often Cited As One Of The Worst Hosts Of The Show
Frank Zappa was rebellious, uncompromising, non-conforming, and unpredictable. He was a musical guest in Saturday Night Live back in 1976 but when he was invited back to the show in 1978 as a host, things definitely didn’t go as planned. He left quite an impression not just on the audience but also on the cast and crew – and not in a positive way.
It wasn’t just bad. It was more than enough to have him banned from SNL. So, what happened? Well, A LOT went down. He mugged the camera and constantly told the audience about the cue cards.
In an interview with Stereo Review in 1979, Zappa said:
“It’s a very difficult thing to do; they never make it easy on anyone who hosts the show. All the direction and attention goes to the sketches. They’re not called skits–they become ‘incensed’ if you call them skits–and it’s all designed to accommodate the people who are regulars on the show, so anybody who goes on there to hosts is at a severe disadvantage. Because they never tell you what camera is on, and you’re not supposed to memorize your script because they’re rewriting right up to show time. And so you’re looking at the cue cards, and unless you’re used to acting live on TV, you haven’t got a prayer; you’ll be looking at the wrong camera. It was really hard.”
He also added that “They [SNL] had written dialogue for me to say that I wouldn’t normally say; they wouldn’t let me write any of my own stuff.”
Check out the clip below.