Kanye West has burned plenty of bridges over the last few years, including his longtime connection to Saturday Night Live. The rapper appeared on the show seven times before he was reportedly banned in 2021. Here’s a look at West’s history with SNL and why he got blacklisted.
Kanye West first appeared on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2005
‘Saturday Night Live’ musical guest Kanye West performs onstage October 1, 2005 | Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
West rose to fame in 2004 with his debut album, The College Dropout. He made further waves with his 2005 release, Late Registration.
The Grammy winner was first invited as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 2005. He performed “Gold Digger,” “Touch the Sky,” and “Heard ‘Em Say,” and was joined by Adam Levine for the latter.
West returned to SNL in September 2007. He then was invited back a year later, in December 2008, to sing a mash-up of “Heartless,” “Pinocchio Story,” and “Love Lockdown.”
The rapper appeared on the show two years later, in October 2010, and performed “Power” and “Runaway” with Pusha T. He came back in May 2013, about a month before his first child with Kim Kardashian was born.
By the time West made his sixth visit to SNL, in February 2016, he had been married to Kardashian for two years. He was joined onstage by Chance the Rapper, Young Thug, Kelly Price, The Dream, and Kirk Franklin.
His final stint as a musical guest came in September 2018. After performing “I Love It” with Lil Pump and “We Got Love” with Teyana Taylor, and “Ghost Town” with 070 Shake and Kid Cudi, West took the cast and crew by surprise when he went on a rant about then-President Donald Trump.
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The rapper claimed that people at the show bullied him about his adoration for Trump. And he said that they demanded he refrain from wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat.
Kanye West wasn’t banned from ‘Saturday Night Live’ for his hat
West’s SNL rant left the cast and crew in shock over his claims of bullying. In a Weekend Update bit the next week, Pete Davidson cleared the air and said no one bullied West about his hat.
“Speaking strictly for myself, what Kanye said after we went off the air last week was one of the worst, like, most awkward things I’ve ever seen here,” Davidson said. “He wore [the hat] all week. Nobody told him not to wear it.”
“I wish I’d bullied you,” he added. “I wish I’d suggested that it might upset some people, like your wife, or every Black person ever.”
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In an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Kenan Thompson noted that West asked the cast to come up on stage before his rant. And he suggested it wasn’t fair for the rapper to blame them for bullying without giving them a chance to respond.
“He voiced his opinion, very loudly, for a long time,” Thompson said. “We’re all entitled to our opinion, but you know, I don’t know if that’s the moment, necessarily, to hold people hostage like that — but hey.”
“I felt so bad for those guys,” he added. “It’s hard to stand there and not be able to debate somebody who’s going so far against your personal opinion and just stand there and take it.”
Kanye West likely cemented his ‘Saturday Night Live’ ban when he harassed Pete Davidson
Kardashian hosted Saturday Night Live in October 2021, nearly eight months after she filed for divorce from West. After she sparked a connection with Davidson on set, the two began dating.
But West was not happy with their romance. And he started harassing Davidson via text and on social media. According to RadarOnline, an SNL insider West’s attacks on Davidson cemented his ban from the show.
“Kanye has been banned from the show,” the source said. “You will not see Kanye on the show or hear his name mentioned again. It is obvious that Kanye needs help and making threats against a cast member is not a laughing matter.”
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