Jim Belushi shared some intense details of his time on Saturday Night Live in a new interview with Vulture this month. That included a harrowing anecdote where Belushi threw a fire extinguisher at an executive producer, then later asked for his job back. Belushi said that in hindsight, the experience was actually good for him in the long run.
"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," he explained. "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 appeared on SNL in Season 9 and Season 10, from 1983 to 1985. He was following the legacy of his brother John Belushi, who was in the original cast of the legendary sketch show. Jim had the distinction of being the first person who was ever fired and then rehired on the show, but it was not easy.
"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," he 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.'"
Still, Belushi's departure from the show the following year likely had at least something to do with the fire extinguisher incident. Series creator Lorne Michaels left SNL in 1980 and returned in 1985, at which point he overhauled the cast and writing staff. Belushi left with a number of other big names.
Belushi said that he looked at his SNL job through the lens that his brother had described it through when he left it behind. He recalled: "John did four years and he quit. 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."
Fans interested in Belushi's brief and strange tenure on SNL can revisit it on Peacock — with a free trial here for new users. All 46 seasons of the variety show are streaming there now. SNL returns in the fall for Season 47 on NBC.