Tina Fey Says This Celebrity Guest Was a "Disaster" On "SNL"

"I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us."

From becoming the first female head writer in 1999 to making her debut as a performer the next year to going on to write and star in several hit movies and TV shows, Tina Fey is one of the most successful cast members to come out of Saturday Night Live. During her years on the show, the star worked with dozens and dozens of celebrity hosts, musical guests, and guest stars, and some were more pleasant experiences than others. Fey specifically called out one celebrity guest for being a "disaster" on SNL.  Read on to find out who she was talking about, and for another star who caused an awkward moment on set, check out Kenan Thompson Says This SNL Guest Made the Cast "Extremely Uncomfortable."

Fey claimed that Paula Abdul made things difficult on set.

Tina Fey attends the American Museum of Natural History Gala in 2010
lev radin/Shutterstock

During a December 2007 interview with Playboy magazine, Fey had some choice words to say about pop star and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul appearing on SNL in 2005. She also granted that she was feeling more irritable than usual—and for good reason.

"I was pregnant at the time and probably a little moody," Fey told Playboy (via The New York Post). "But I remember thinking, 'She's a disaster! I gotta prop this lady up and get her on TV.'"

When asked how Abdul was a disaster, Fey coyly said, "In the ways she generally appears to be."

And for a guest who probably won't be invited back to the show, check out This Is the Worst SNL Host of All Time, Cast Says.

Abdul was there to make a cameo in an American Idol sketch.

Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell on American Idol
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Abdul made a cameo in a May 2005 episode of SNL that was hosted by Johnny Knoxville and featured System of a Down as the musical guest. And while the singer was only in one segment, Fey said that Abdul wanted to make some big changes to it.

"It was an American Idol sketch, and she wanted to change parts," Fey continued. "So Amy Poehler had to play her."

Fey also shared with Playboy that a year after Abdul's SNL appearance, they saw each other on a flight. And according to the 30 Rock star, the reunion was an awkward one.

"We both looked at each other like, 'Do I know that girl?'" Fey explained. "And then we both had the same recognition, and she was like, 'Uuuggh.' I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us."

And for an SNL host who made a poor first impression, check out This Was the Worst Behaved SNL Guest, According to Bill Hader.

The sketch poked fun at an American Idol controversy.

Paula Abdul
Shutterstock/s_bukley

The sketch Abdul appeared in was the cold open. It sent up claims that former American Idol contestant, Corey Clark, made about having an affair with Abdul and her coaching him throughout the competition show process. (Abdul denied these claims, and an investigation by Fox resulted in the network stating that Clark "could not substantiate his allegations.") In the sketch, Abdul, played by Poehler, applauds Clark (played by cast member Finesse Mitchell) after his performance and says she'll see him "at home."

Then the real Abdul joins the sketch to tell Poehler to work on "perfecting" her claps to improve her impression of her. Then she adds, "Be a lot more sexier, so that contestants will be willing to sleep with you." NBC hasn't made video of the sketch available online.

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Abdul may have been going through some personal turmoil at the time.

Paula Abdul at the Baby2Baby Gala in 2019
DFree/Shutterstock

In May 2009, Abdul was interviewed by Ladies' Home Journal, and the article included her speaking at length about what she said was a 12-year addiction to painkillers that she had overcome that past November. The performer said that she began taking medication to manage the pain and injuries she incurred both from being a dancer and from two car accidents.

"I was freezing cold, then sweating hot…It was excruciating," Abdul told the magazine, per New York Daily News. She added that she kept her problems quiet because she "didn't want anyone to count [her] out." The piece came on the heels of a few years of erratic public appearances by Abdul, including her uncomfortable cameo on SNL.

However, soon after the LHJ interview went live online, Abdul claimed that it misrepresented her. As reported by TV Guide, Abdul told a Detroit radio station, "It was very stressful for me to hear that and to be quoted saying something I've never said." She went on to say, "I've never checked into a rehab clinic. I've never been addicted or abused drugs, and I've never been addicted or abused alcohol. I've never even been drunk in my life." At the time, a spokesperson for the magazine told TV Guide that LHJ stood by its story and wouldn't be retracting the article.

For a guest that the cast didn't enjoy working with, check out Maya Rudolph Says This SNL Host Made the Cast Want to Leave.

Amber Raiken
Amber Raiken is an Editorial Assistant at Best Life. Read more
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