Funnyman Rob Schneider Remembers When Sinéad O'Connor Tore up Pope's Photo on Live TV—He Was There

Rob Schneider was always funny during his tenure on Saturday Night Live, the formerly edgy and terrific late-night skit show that debuted in 1975 and launched the careers of such luminaries as John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and many more.


I say “formerly” because, although the show is still in existence, it’s now mostly bitter, unfunny leftist propaganda with the likes of Alec Baldwin showcasing his unhinged rage at half the American population. (One of the few highlights in recent years, in my opinion, has been the longest-tenured cast member in SNL history, Kenan Thompson, who can always be counted on to make you laugh.)

(Read: Watching Angry SNL Trans Skit Was About as Fun as Hitting Yourself Over the Head With a Mallet)

But Schneider turns out to be an interesting fellow, and he has not been thrilled by the evolution of the show—and has been willing to say so. He even remembers the moment when SNL died: the night Kate McKinnon sang the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton during a cold open after Hills lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.

As I wrote when discussing Schneiders’ opinion of the skit, “It was such a middle finger to the more than 74 million people who voted for the Donald that those viewers will never come back.”

(Read: SNL Was Once Great. Rob Schneider Remembers the Day It Died)

Schneider was on set in 1992 the night Sinéad O’Connor ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II, a moment that was etched in history and followed her for the rest of her career. I remember watching that evening, and although I’m not Catholic, I was outraged.


Schneider understands that it was controversial, but I thought his response Wednesday to her death was nuanced and touching. You decide:

He writes that he was completely unaware that the moment even occurred:

…I didn’t see it happen. It was an episode where I was very busy (in a lot of sketches) and there are moves that performers have where they know they can get laughs. Anyway, I was back stage in quick change (getting dressed for the the next sketch) and I didn’t know anything had happened.

I came out and during the next sketch, I just felt the audience had changed. My usual physical moves that got laughs fell silent. No sketches got laughs after that. And the rest of the night was eerily quiet. It wasn’t till after the show that I had learned that Sinead had tore up a picture of the Pope.


Schneider socialized with her that evening, and neither of them realized what a firestorm she had unleashed:

I spent some time with her at the after party at the Tea Garden and she was gentle and lovely and didn’t seem to have a worry about anything. We laughed about a few things trying to understand each other’s accents and had a drink and she could not have been lovelier.

O’Connor struggled with mental health issues her entire life, was diagnosed as bipolar, and says that her mother abused her when she was a child. Last year, her 17-year-old son Lane committed suicide, a tragedy that speaks to the heart of anyone who’s a parent.

O’Connor was controversial and is on the record saying some truly awful things, as we’ve reported, and I do think her ripping up the Pope photo was disgusting. (I only wish Nancy Pelosi’s ripping up the State of the Union speech of a sitting president on the House floor caused as much controversy because, in my view, that was also truly revolting.)

None of this is meant to excuse O’Connor’s past behavior or condone her actions. That being said, I don’t think that, in the immediate aftermath of her death, while her family is still grieving, it’s the best time to kick the deceased, troubled soul.


I think Schneider had the perfect response:

All these years later you realize that fame and all that it comes with is very destructive to gentle souls. It is my sincere hope that the peace that eluded Sinead in life she can have now, resting in God’s embrace.


Uncommon and Controversial Singer Sinéad O’Connor, Dead at 56

Saturday Night Live Proves Once Again It Has No Soul, Mocks Trump a Full Two Years Into Biden Administration

Late-Night Comedy Is Dead—Woke ‘Comedians’ Embarrass Themselves Compared to Their Predecessors


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos