Saturday Night Live/Season Thirty
Season Thirty of Saturday Night Live premiered on October 2, 2004. The only new cast member to join at the beginning of the season was Rob Riggle, a former marine and occasional Upright Citizens Brigade member who replaced Jeff Richards as a featured player. Riggle was largely resigned to typical featured player bit parts and left at the end of the season. Jason Sudeikis, a writer hired in the previous season, was also added to the cast towards the end of the season.
What the season is remembered for, however, is the scandal that took place during the third episode of the season. During the second performance of the evening, Ashlee Simpson intended to sing "Autobiography," but because of technical malfunction the backing track for her first song began playing and she was exposed as having lip-synced the earlier song. In the following days, Simpson's father and manager explained that her voice was weak that night from acid reflux disease and the ailment necessitated prerecorded vocals. All the while, 60 Minutes was filming backstage for a segment on the comedy show and caught the immediate fallout for its episode.
Also considered notorious in this season was the ill-fated Paris Hilton episode. The writers booked Hilton in hopes that she would have a sense of humor about herself and be willing to cooperate with sketches. The complete opposite turned out to be true and many, including Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, consider her to be one of the most difficult hosts to work with because of her penchant for locking herself in her dressing room whenever things weren't going her way.
Despite these rough patches, the season also saw the creation of Bear City, a series of popular short films which paved the way for SNL Digital Shorts in the future. Other recurring sketches which debuted this season include The Art Dealers, Gays in Space and The Needlers. Also notable was the return of the Muppets who, before their cameo appearance, hadn't appeared on the show since the first season.
- Fred Armisen
- Rachel Dratch
- Tina Fey (Weekend Update anchor)
- Will Forte
- Darrell Hammond
- Seth Meyers
- Chris Parnell
- Amy Poehler (Weekend Update anchor)
- Maya Rudolph
- Horatio Sanz
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