The epic prank John Madden pulled on ‘Saturday Night Live’
John Madden arrived with a few tricks up his sleeve when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1982, including one specially for producer Dick Ebersol.
“With John Madden, this was really the closest time to having a heart attack before having a real one in February 96,” Ebersol told the 2015 book, Live From New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.
The appearance of the legendary broadcaster and former trainer included a some stories about his players with the NFL Raiders. Madden was about to repeat the monologue when he called out Ebersol, who was hidden under the audience stands.
“I stuck my head around the corner so he could see me,” Ebersol recalls. “He said, ‘Come here a minute.’ Got about halfway through the stage with a packed house, whatever, over 300 for the dress [rehearsal]. And he said, ‘I just want to tell you that now I’m going to finish this dress rehearsal and then I’m going to go. I’m not happy with the way things turned out, and I’m a trooper enough to finish it off for this audience, but then I’m off. It’s just the pits. ‘”
Ebersol was stunned. “I stand there and die,” he said. “And he lets about a couple of seconds go by, then he gets the biggest smile on his face in the world and he’s like, ‘You know I’m a prankster, right?’ The place went nuts. But in the meantime, I had just had a heart attack. “
Madden died on Tuesday at the age of 85.
“We all know him as the Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster who worked for all the major networks, but more than anything he was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather.” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in an official statement. “No one loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sounding board to me and to so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will be forever indebted to him. for everything he did to make football and the NFL what it is today. “
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