Actress and former Saturday Night Live castmember Jane Curtin detailed her awful experience when the long-running sketch comedy series infamously went to New Orleans for a live 1977 Mardi Gras special.
The incident has been previously documented, including within Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad’s Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. But during her Monday night appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Curtin and fellow SNL alum Meyers got into her chaotic and, at times dangerous, experience at the first — and only — SNL Mardi Gras special.
Deadpanning, Curtin told Meyers, "It was such a good idea. The planning that was involved was so meticulous — I mean, every minute was accounted for.”
Of course, that wasn't the case. Despite how excited the SNL star was by the prospect of the special, what should have been "really fun" ended up being anything but. That's because the cast of the popular sketch comedy show had little protection during the week they were in New Orleans preparing for and eventually delivering the two-hour special.
While Curtin clarified that she and Buck Henry, who were both assigned to cover the parade, mostly spent the time leading up to the live show "just wandering around the streets during Mardi Gras," her castmates often found themselves mobbed by overly excited and drunken fans.
"Gilda [Radner], Laraine [Newman] and Dan [Aykroyd] and John [Belushi] were out doing sketches, or rehearsing sketches, in the middle of Mardi Gras and there's no police projection," she said. "So people are storming Gilda. They're accosting her, they're throwing Laraine around. I mean, it was just — it was horrible."
Things got really hairy for Curtin and Henry, however, during the live taping, which saw them pretending to comment on a parade that never actually happened. Curtin described her terrible experience of sitting on a platform above "15,000 people who are really plastered, shouting our names and throwing bottles and doubloons in our faces," but her harrowing experience didn't stop there.
When the show was over, Curtin recalled a production assistant stomping on the fingers of parade-goers, "trying to pry them off" as they climbed a platform to get to the duo. With no police available, two retired detectives were called in to help Curtin and Buck safely climb down.
"They send two detectives — two retired detectives. Guys in their 60s wearing trench coats, you know, a little bit of a beer belly," she said. "They grab us in the fireman's hold, throw us over their shoulders. We're marching through the crowd of 20,000 people. I'm wailing. I'm crying so hard, just the release of tension because I was saved by these guys."
Watch the full segment below.