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As a late-night institution, Saturday Night Live has been filled with iconic moments and sketches many still recall to this day. But sometimes, certain sketches don’t make it past dress rehearsal for distinct reasons. Many times, the sketch doesn’t successfully translate from the writing room to the set. One such unaired sketch came during Justin Bieber's first episode as guest host, according to Bill Hader, the sketch was going quite horribly until Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey popped in.
Bill Hader was reminiscing about his time on SNL with his former co-star Seth Meyers on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The two SNL alums spoke on some of the actor’s most iconic characters and sketches, from Stefon to...more Stefon, obviously. The conversation eventually led the Barry star to spill about a Justin Bieber sketch that never made it to NBC's airwaves. According to Hader, the SNL sketch faced a series of problems that were punctuated by long-time SNL cast member Kenan Thompson gracing everyone with his Steve Harvey impression. In Hader's words:
But yes, ‘Song for Daddy’ was Justin Bieber, and that sketch only went to dress and everything that could possibly go wrong in a sketch went wrong during that sketch. Immediately I think the set almost fell on Justin Bieber and then I tried to make it like a part of the sketch or something. And then I remember none of the props I was supposed to have were there. It just went terrible. And then at the end, I remember Kenan Thompson came out as Steve Harvey and he went, ‘I don’t know, I like it.’ And it was almost like he was talking about the sketch.
Bill Hader then shared what went down after the disastrous dress rehearsal. It surprisingly involved being tackled in the SNL writing room.
My main memory of that was going upstairs after it happened and going up to the writer’s room on 9 still in my costume. And walking into the writer’s room… and James Anderson just on the floor laughing. He tackled me and started laughing because it was just like… that was one of the classic ‘everything that could go wrong [did].’
The sketch was supposed to be part of a Feb. 2013 episode hosted by Justin Bieber. Of course, when the sequence's star can dunk on a sketch so hard, it probably doesn't fully deserve to make it to audiences outside the studio. At least not for live TV.
That said, SNL has a long history of axing sketches or releasing them online after the fact. Kenan Thompson being the glue that holds it all together in the end proves why he’s been an SNL staple for more than two decades. Below, you check out that particularly silly Justin Bieber SNL sketch with Bill Hader and Kenan Thompson:
Coincidentally enough, Bill Hader had informed the cast and crew of SNL that same month that he would be leaving the show, with his last episode airing that May. The actor has returned to the sketch comedy staple several times since leaving, including an appearance in a quarantine episode.
Saturday Night Live will return to NBC with more Season 46 in late January. Stay tuned to see who will host the first episode back from winter hiatus, and head to our Winter and Spring TV premiere schedule to keep track of other shows that will debut soon.