If you’re curious as to why megastar Samuel L Jackson hasn’t been on Saturday night Live in nearly a decade, Kenan Thompson wants you to know it’s not his fault. While appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show, Thompson attempted to clear the air regarding the rumor that Jackson was banned from SNL because of, well, Thompson: “I don’t have the authority to do that.”
Jackson has claimed that in 2012, Thompson got him banned from SNL after the Snakes on a Plane star dropped not one, but two F-bombs during the classic Thompson sketch “What Up With That?” Jackson has said that Thompson was partly responsible for the incident because the sketch-comedy vet was supposed to cut him off before he said the full word. But Thompson told tonight show host and SNL student Jimmy Fallon that the cue card only said the letter F and not the entire word.
“I was thinking he was just gonna go, like, a fake move and just stop at the F, you know what I mean? Thompson told Fallon, demonstrating by making an F sound of his own. “But he went full train at it, because I guess he’s a Method kind of guy.” Apparently, Jackson is so Method that he said the full word twice. Thompson was prepared for the first F-bomb because “we kind of expect the F-word out of Sam Jackson, so no harm done.” But when Jackson let it slip again, that’s when Thompson began to worry. “But then he doubled down and said it again, and I was like, ‘Yo, my man, we gotta pay for those,’” Thompson said.
However, Thompson claimed that it’s all water under the bridge now. “Hey, Sam,” Thompson said directly into the camera. “It’s all good, bro. You’re welcome anytime, from what I’ve been hearing.”
Jackson is not the only person to be allegedly banned from returning to SNL. In 2003, Oscar winner Adrian Brody was reportedly banned from the show after going off script while introducing musical guest Sean Paul, breaking into an offensive Jamaican accent while wearing a dreadlocked wig. funnyman Martin Lawrence has allegedly been banned from SNL since his “grotesque” monologue about feminine hygiene and the Lorraine Bobbitt scandal in 1994. Action star Steven Seagal was reportedly banned for simply being a terrible host and collaborator; in the book live from new york, former SNL cast member Tim Meadows recalled that Seagal “didn’t realize that you can’t tell somebody they’re stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday.”
So unless Jackson went off script, was overly grotesque in his monologue, or was rude to the writing staff, there may be a chance that the highest-grossing film actor of all time can get back into Lorne Michaels‘s good graces—if he plays his cards right.