A few hours before Saturday Night Live hits the live airwaves, the cast conducts a dress rehearsal of the entire show in front of an entirely different live audience. After the dress rehearsal certain sketches are cut out of the show and never make it to TV sets. Thanks to the rise of digital media, a lot of these unaired sketches later gain an audience online.
Here are a collection of sketches that never got the full "Live from New York" treatment—for one reason or another.
1. Renaldo & Alexi
This sketch probably got cut because Bill Hader and Fred Armisen spent the entire thing laughing so hard that they couldn’t speak clearly.
2. Gus Chiggins, the Old Prospector
This sketch become a cult favorite after it was included on a Best of Will Ferrell DVD. It’s pretty great and, as far as I know, there has never been any public explanation offered about why it was cut. Lorne Michaels moves in mysterious ways.
3. Lady Gaga as a Sea Captain
Wanna see the pop star as a salty dog boat captain? Well, the Producers apparently didn't.
4. Jerry Sozio
In this cut segment from Weekend Update, the late, great Chris Farley just can’t quite spit out what he’s trying to say.
5. Shaq Plays the Big Daddy Role
Who in their right mind would cut a sketch of Shaq cradling Will Ferrell in his arms as they sing a song together?
6. Justin Bieber Almost Dies
As an added bonus to this clip, Bill Hader and two SNL writers offer some context on this sketch that went horribly wrong in dress rehearsal. You’ll pretty much see right away why this was cut. The sketch features the unscripted line “The stage almost fell on you,” and then devolves from there.
7. The Elf on the Shelf
Bobby Moynihan portrays the newly-required Christmas tradition as a serious Narc.
8. Timberlake as Mozart
This sketches shows perennial host Justin Timberlake taking on the role of the great composer planning a break from music to become an actor.
9. Andy Samberg’s Bathroom Habit
In this clip from Conan, the former cast member explains one sketch idea he had that he could never get past the dress rehearsal.