In case ESPN’s “The Last Dance” didn’t make it perfectly clear, Michael Jordan was a very big deal in the 1990s.
So big, in fact, that his fame even managed to shut down a show that sees a new celebrity every week.
Michael Jordan was so famous it was a problem on ‘SNL’
Back in the early 90s, Jordan was guest-hosting NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” According to “SNL” veteran David Spade, the demand for Jordan’s autograph among the show’s staff was so great, it actually affected rehearsals to the point that the show had to put a stop to it.
"Michael Jordan was signing so many autographs that there was a line outside of his dressing room slowing down rehearsal. The show had to stop it. First time they had to do that." @DavidSpade recalls MJ hosting @nbcsnl: pic.twitter.com/E73ctA9w4J— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 12, 2020
Spade’s memory of the saga:
“When he hosted SNL was the only time I got up close to him and that was maybe around ‘92 or ‘93. He was such a superstar, he was signing so many autographs that there was a line out of his dressing room slowing down rehearsal and with basketballs. They had to stop it, the the show had to stop it. The first time they had to do that.
“Al Franken holding like six basketballs, and I’m like ‘Guy, come on, we’ve got to do Weekend Update.’”
Interesting times at 30 Rock. Funnily enough, Spade isn’t the first “SNL” veteran to remember the incident.
During a 2017 episode of "The Dan Patrick Show," Adam Sandler said he was among the unlucky few to miss out on a Jordan autograph after “SNL” showrunner Lorne Michaels put his foot down:
“I was with him the whole week and it was nuts. I remember when Jordan hosted SNL, Lorne was telling everybody ‘Just stop with the autographs. Leave him alone.’ And I remember seeing [Rob] Schneider with a basketball. I was like ‘I thought we’re not allowed to do that!’ He’s like ‘It’s Jordan!’”
When asked about Jordan’s comedy acumen, both men were fairly complimentary. Sandler called Jordan “a stud,” while Spade praised his ability to go with the flow:
“He was sort of the type of host, which is cool, where ‘Tell me what to do, show me what to do, I’ll do my best’ Everyone’s usually out of their element when they come from sports over there. They like the feedback.”
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