Is Samuel L. Jackson banned from SNL? He seemed to think so. Back in March, the legendary actor and champion swearer claimed, at least semi-jokingly, that he’s not allowed back on the live sketch show due to a guest appearance in 2012, when he dropped both the f-word and a “bulls*it.” But according to show honcho Lorne Michaels, that’s not so. Now Kenan Thompson, the star of the offending sketch, is begging him to return.
The day before SNL’s Season 47 finale, Thompson went on The Tonight Show, where he talked about appearing in a jaw-dropping 1,500-plus sketches, a feat he only recently achieved. (He joined the show in 2003, making him by far the longest-running cast member in the show’s history.) He also addressed the modest elephant in the room: whether Jackson is safe to return to live late-night weekend television. The answer is: yes, probably.
“Hey, Sam? It’s all good, bro,” Thompson said, staring into the camera. “You’re welcome any time, from what I’ve been hearing.”
The offending sketch was an iteration of Thompson’s recurring “What’s Up with That?”, in which he plays a talk show host who gets a little too into singing. Towards the end a mock-flustered Jackson let some cuss words rip. Thompson did his best to rein him in while not cracking up too much. “That costs money,” he quipped.
Jackson jokingly blamed Thompson for the probably fake ban, which Thompson owned up to while speaking to host Jimmy Fallon. “My bad, bro,” he said. “Come on in whenever you want.”
You can watch the sketch that may or may not have gotten Jackson banned, at least temporarily, below. The bad words begin around the six-minute mark.
You can watch Thompson’s Tonight Show appearance in the video above. The Jackson discussion happens around the 3:30 mark. On Friday it was announced that multiple cast members were leaving SNL after this season.