Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 “SNL” Feuds. For this list, we’ll be looking at disputes between “Saturday Night Live” cast members as well as clashes with hosts, writers, staff, and the NBC network. Which side do you take in these feuds? Let us know in the comments!
#20: Al Franken vs. NBC
Making jokes about the president of NBC might not be the smartest move. Franken was one of the original “SNL” writers, starting with the first season in 1975. At the end of Season Five, producer Lorne Michaels needed a break and recommended Al take his place. However, Franken ruined his chances by performing a “Weekend Update” sketch entitled “A Limo for a Lame-O” that criticized then-NBC president Fred Silverman. He was not amused and refused to let Franken succeed Michaels. The pair left the show at the end of the season, along with the entire cast and most of the writers. It is still one of the biggest shake-ups in “SNL” history.
#19: Jim Breuer vs. Adam McKay
It’s well-known that writers and cast members duke it out to get their sketches on air. But no cast member has been quite as vocal about this challenge as Jim Breuer. In the years since he left “SNL,” he’s spoken profusely about his run-ins with head writer, Adam McKay. That name might sound familiar. He co-wrote famous comedies like “Anchorman” and directed Oscar-nominated films like “Don't Look Up.” Back in their “SNL” days, McKay and Breuer frequently butted heads about sketches. In fact, producer Lorne Michaels asked Jim to play nice with McKay. When he said he wouldn’t, Breuer was promptly let go from the show after only three seasons.
#18: Nora Dunn vs. Everyone
Nora Dunn was one of a handful of castmembers to survive the purge after the 1985-86 season that saw big names like Robert Downey, Jr. fired. In her five years with the show, Dunn had many popular characters, like “Actors on Film” co-host Ashley Ashley and one half of the Sweeney Sisters. But in 1990, when comedian Andrew Dice Clay was set to host SNL, Dunn objected to his misogynistic and homophobic comedy style and chose not to appear in the episode. Some of her fellow cast members resented the insinuation that they supported sexism and homophobia by not protesting. And both Jon Lovitz and Victoria Jackson accused her of backstabbing and not being a team player. At the end of the season, Dunn was not asked to return.
#17: Julia Sweeney vs. Male Cast/Writers
No one can deny that the “SNL” seasons starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and David Spade are some of the most iconic and memorable. But, for Sweeney, being one of the only women during the “Bad Boys of SNL” era didn’t work out well. She did find success with her androgynous character, Pat. But, other than that, Sweeney was relegated to few-line parts and background characters. After her fourth season, she left the show to pursue other projects, including the feature film “It’s Pat.” She’s since gone on to have a lengthy movie and TV career, with several successful one-woman shows. That’ll show ‘em, Julia!
#16: Donald Trump vs. Lorne Michaels
Trump is not known for holding back his thoughts about. . . well, pretty much everything. So it’s no surprise that he’s been vocal about his impersonations on “SNL.” Before and during Trump’s presidency, Alec Baldwin played him to much acclaim from everyone except Trump. But it was the recent portrayal by cast member James Austin Johnson that caused Trump to take some jabs at executive producer Lorne Michaels. After an episode that aired in October 2022, Trump took to Truth Social to post: “L.M. is angry and exhausted, the show even more so.” He also said that ratings were “HUUUGE!” when he hosted but are now so low the show should be put out of its misery. Lorne Michaels could not be reached for comment.
#15: Damon Wayans vs. “SNL” Producers
It’s one of the shortest tenures in “SNL” history. Wayans lasted less than one season, fired after just 12 episodes. Wayans felt the producers and writers didn’t let him showcase his talents and, instead, gave him bit parts. Wayans decided to take matters into his own hands. During a live performance, he completely changed his character from a tough cop to an effeminate one. This broke Lorne Michaels’ “no improv” rule, and Wayans was immediately fired. Thankfully, he went on to write and star in the comedy sketch show “In Living Color.” It became a cultural phenomenon and helped launch the careers of superstars like Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Lopez.
#14: Pete Davidson vs. Louis C.K.
This one might be less of a feud and more of a tattletale situation. At the end of his first season on “SNL,” Davidson retreated to his office to celebrate. This party of one involved him smoking some. . . devil’s lettuce. This seemed to offend that week’s host, Louis C.K., who accused Pete of ruining his career by smoking too much. Pete even received a call from Lorne Michaels, who suggested he curb his drug use. He jokingly agreed, but we get the sense that C.K.'s comment didn’t change Pete’s mind too much. Thankfully, he went on to star on “SNL” for seven more seasons.
#13: Norm Macdonald vs. NBC
If the president of NBC asked you to stop making jokes about his friend, most people would oblige. But not Norm Macdonald. During his “Weekend Update” hosting gig, Norm incessantly ripped on O.J. Simpson, presuming his guilt in his sensational murder trial. This didn’t sit well with his friend and West Coast NBC president, Don Ohlmeyer. He fired Norm from “Weekend Update,” saying he was not funny enough. And he even refused to promote Norm’s film debut, “Dirty Work,” which tanked at the box office but has since become a cult classic. Thankfully, Norm went on to have a prolific TV, film, and stand-up career. Who’s not funny now?
#12: Chevy Chase vs. The Mid-'90s & Mid-‘80s Casts
Not known for his friendly demeanor, this “SNL” alum returned several times in the ‘80s and ‘90s to host the show. During his hosting stints--just like when he was a cast member--Chevy managed to outrage just about everyone. Will Ferrel overheard him making misogynistic comments to a female writer. He ridiculed Robert Downey, Jr. about his deceased father. And he made homophobic jokes about Terry Sweeney, “SNL”’s first openly gay star. And these are just the insults we know about. Chase hasn’t been asked back to host the show since 1997. Good riddance.
#11: Lorne Michaels vs. Steven Seagal
Could Seagal be the worst host ever to grace the “SNL” stage? According to some cast members, Lorne Michaels would say an emphatic yes. Apparently, Seagal gave many of the writers a tough time, requesting that he be allowed to write his own sketches. His comedic timing was also way off, and he refused to poke fun at himself or his career. When asked to appear in a sketch where Hans and Franz beat him up, Seagal went so far as to lock himself in his dressing room. Michaels banned Seagal from hosting, and he hasn’t returned to 30 Rock since 1991.
#10: Will Ferrell vs. Chris Kattan
Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan were beloved during their times on “SNL,” with characters like the Roxbury Guys still making us laugh hysterically. However, things allegedly got frosty during production for the “Night at the Roxbury” movie. Kattan, in his memoir, claims he was pressured by "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels to pursue a romantic relationship with a prominent potential director for the movie. Kattan reportedly went along with it and maintained that Ferrell then disapprovingly gave him the silent treatment before ending the friendship. We hope they can mend fences and bring the Roxbury Guys back at least one more time.
#9: Tracy Morgan vs. Jimmy Fallon
One of the most fun parts of watching “SNL” is seeing cast members try and fail to contain their amusement on-air. However, Jimmy Fallon’s habit of laughing during sketches, or ‘breaking,’ is notorious among ‘SNL” fans. It also reportedly earned him an enemy in his “SNL” co-star, Tracy Morgan. In a 2007 interview, Morgan talked about his dislike for Fallon's cracking up and dropped hints that Fallon only did so for attention. Morgan also said that he instructed Fallon not to laugh during their sketches together. Morgan has appeared on the Fallon-hosted “Tonight Show” multiple times. So… feud over?
#8: Victoria Jackson vs. Everyone
When you think of labels to describe “SNL” cast members, “religious conservative” isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind. But Victoria Jackson reportedly rubbed numerous cast members the wrong way, for among other reasons, proselytizing about her faith. Some also took issue with her demeanor and even her high-pitched voice, which Jackson says is caused by a medical condition. In a confrontation with cast member Al Franken, Jackson reportedly suggested it was her mission to save the other cast members from Hell. Unsurprisingly, Jackson has become even more outspoken about her beliefs since leaving “SNL.”
#7: Kanye West vs. The Entire Backstage
Kanye West has had numerous memorable appearances on “SNL,” for good - and less than good - reasons. In one particular case, the drama happened backstage. Before the show, West went into a rage over part of his set being dismantled by stagehands. Audio from this moment later leaked online, and in the recording, West infamously goes off about breaking the internet. But West’s bad manners didn’t get him banned from the show, though. He was back two years later for the Season 44 premiere... and his behavior — although not a feud — once again made headlines.
#6: Eddie Murphy vs. David Spade/The Show
Eddie Murphy left “SNL” in 1984, six years before David Spade joined the cast. However, some bad blood reportedly formed between Murphy and the show after he left. In a sketch, Spade referred to Murphy, who had just appeared in the poorly received “Vampire in Brooklyn” as “a falling star.” Murphy says he didn’t take too kindly to this teasing and that the negative feelings lasted for years. However, Murphy soon resumed making box office hits, and in Season 45, he returned to host for the first time in 35 years, in a well-received comeback.
#5: Tracy Morgan vs. Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri
“SNL” cast members are professionals, so it’s not easy to tell just by watching who does and doesn’t like each other. Aside from Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan says he also had a conflict with two of his castmates: the aforementioned Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri. In his autobiography, “I Am the New Black,” Morgan says - in very profane terms - that he received poor treatment from Kattan and Oteri, and mocked the state of their post-“SNL” careers. He didn't just leave it there. When the time came to record the audiobook, Morgan went further into his issues with the stars. Be good to Tracy Morgan, or he won’t be good to you.
#4: Mike Myers vs. Dana Carvey
The stars behind one of “SNL’s” greatest duos, “Wayne’s World” hosts Wayne and Garth, weren't always so friendly behind the scenes. There were reportedly some pretty big wedges between Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. Word was that Myers tried to keep Carvey from playing Garth in the first "Wayne's World" movie since he didn't want to be potentially outshone. Carvey also reportedly had a grudge, claiming that Myers had stolen his impression of Lorne Michaels and used it for the Dr. Evil character in the “Austin Powers” film. Myers and Carvey have reunited multiple times since “SNL,” so bygones may be bygones.
#3: Chris Kattan vs. Norm Macdonald
Chris Kattan is certainly no stranger to ‘“SNL” feuds. In a Rolling Stone interview, cast member Norm Macdonald - not known for his sense of restraint — had some choice words about Kattan, saying, among other things, he didn't think Kattan was funny. Kattan is quoted in the same article as calling Macdonald an offensive word that starts with an "A." This all took place when both Kattan and Macdonald were on the show, and, according to at least one source, Macdonald didn’t keep his dislike for Kattan private on-set, either. However, after Macdonald unexpectedly died in 2021, Kattan revealed the feud had been partly embellished for the sake of the media, and that these two wildly different comedians actually shared a mutual respect and a “comedic love.”
#2: John Belushi vs. Female Writers/Cast
John Belushi is widely considered to be one of the best cast members in the history of “SNL.” But it seems that his views on gender were anything but good. According to fellow cast member Jane Curtin, Belushi and others involved with crafting the show did their best to prevent material from female writers from getting through the draft stage. And Belushi also reportedly claimed, on numerous occasions, that women weren't funny. While a cast member doesn’t have to like every idea they’re offered, they obviously don’t have to take it to an offensive and wrong generalization.
#1: Chevy Chase vs. Bill Murray
There have been plenty of disagreements between "SNL" cast members, but this one became physical. When Chevy Chase returned to "SNL" as a host, he wasn't welcomed by all. Chase was confronted by Murray, and it soon turned from a war of words into a more intense altercation, right before airtime. Things stopped before it had a chance to get really ugly, but apparently there was no sustained animosity between Murray and Chase, and the two later shared a memorable scene together in "Caddyshack." In an interview with Howard Stern, Chase revealed that, although not close, they are friendly with one another and are on good terms.