December 13, 1975: Saturday Night Live Uses Delay on Richard Pryor

On this day in 1975, Richard Pryor hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) under a five-second broadcast delay. This is the first time SNL used a delay on one of its hosts to prevent profanity from making the airwaves.

Richard PryorOn this day in 1975, Richard Pryor hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) under a five-second broadcast delay. This is the first time SNL used a delay on one of its hosts to prevent profanity from making the airwaves.

The show had launched in October, and was already the edgiest on television. For its seventh episode, SNL pushed the boundaries further by bringing on Pryor. The comedy pioneer had a walked away from early success as a clean comic and had become the hilarious, raw and profane comic that earned him applause mixed with controversy. NBC was not comfortable giving him a microphone one live television and the delay was used.

Everything worked out fine. Pryor told a clean version of his hilarious bit about drinking and taking LSD. The show also featured the now-classic racist word association skit with Pryor and Chevy Chase.

Since then, SNL has tape-delayed only two other hosts, Sam Kinison in 1986 and Andrew Dice Clay in 1990.

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