Jim Belushi Admits He Was ‘Out of Control’ During ‘SNL’ Stint, Threw Fire Extinguisher at Producer

by Chris Haney

During a recent interview, actor and comedian Jim Belushi opened up about some of his wild behavior while on SNL in the 1980s.

While speaking to Vulture this past week, Belushi shared details about his short stint on Saturday Night Live. Evidently, his drinking had gotten out of hand while a cast member on the live sketch comedy show. He shared a story of throwing a fire extinguisher at executive producer Dick Ebersol, which easily could’ve cost him his job. Yet the situation turned out to be a huge positive for him going forward.

“Very simple: I was out of control. It was the best thing to ever happen to me,” Jim Belushi said to Vulture. “I was out of my mind. I was throwing a fire extinguisher at [executive producer] Dick Ebersol, a hissy fit. 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. And I stopped drinking the rest of that season.”

Jim Belushi, the brother of legendary SNL cast member John Belushi, appeared on the show for two seasons. He was part of the cast in Seasons 9 and 10, which ran from 1983 to 1985. His brother infamously passed away from a drug overdose in March 1982. But Jim took the torch from John and continued his legacy on the longtime comedy show.

Jim Belushi Followed in His Brother’s ‘SNL’ Footsteps

Not long after joining SNL, Jim earned a reputation similar to his brother’s. His partying and out-of-control behavior landed him in big trouble with his employers. In fact, Jim had the honor of being the first cast member to be fired and then rehired 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,” Belushi recalled. “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.'”

A year later though, series creator Lorne Michaels let Belushi and multiple other cast members go. Michaels wanted to shake up the lineup of cast members and also brought in new writers. Yet Belushi looked at the SNL gig and his tenure on the show through his brother’s eyes.

“John did four years and he quit,” he said of his brother. “I said ‘what the f—, 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.”