Jim Belushi Recalls ‘Barely’ Surviving ‘SNL,’ Begging to Be Rehired After Throwing a Fire Extinguisher

Belushi was rehired after throwing a fire extinguisher at executive Dick Ebersol.
Jim Belushi arrives at the 9th annual Governors Awards at the Dolby Ballroom on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Jim Belushi
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Comedian Jim Belushi was only on “Saturday Night Live” for a short stretch between 1983 and 1985, but he sure made an impression. Belushi, whose brother John was one of the original cast members of “SNL,” reflected on his time on the sketch show in a recent interview with Vulture. As the first cast member to be fired, then rehired, Belushi said the experience, though difficult, was the best thing that could’ve happened to him.

“Very simple: I was out of control. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. I was out of my mind. I was throwing a fire extinguisher at [executive producer] Dick Ebersol, a hissy fit,” said Belushi, who appeared on the show in seasons nine and 10.

“‘SNL’ is the hardest thing I ever did, and that’s including divorce. I survived it, barely. I went back to him with my tail between my legs. I drop the ego, I got humble. I stopped drinking the rest of that season,” Belushi said of what it took to get him back on the show.

“Dick put me in my place, rightfully, and had the courage to do it. I came back; I begged [him] for forgiveness, and he put me on probation. My wife at the time said, ‘You thrive on probation. You were on probation from freshman to senior year of high school. You operate better with boundaries.'”

But the rehiring didn’t stick, as the following year Lorne Michaels (who’d departed in 1980) returned to the show, and overhauled the cast and writing staff.

In the interview, Jim Belushi also talked about his brother’s decision to leave the show, which John was instrumental in making iconic.

“John did four years and he quit. I said, ‘What the fuck, man? What are you quitting for?’ He said, ‘Jim, it’s like high school: Senior year, you’ve got to move on.’ And I felt like I was in my sophomore year, and the second semester that year I finally got it.”

Belushi most recently got a spotlight on the Discovery channel with “Growing Belushi,” a look at his legal cannabis farm in Oregon. In 2017, he had a starring role in David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” revival.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.