35+ Celebrities Who Were Banned From Talk Shows And The Real Reasons Why

James Loftus - December 4, 2022

Despite our desire to believe that every talk show host eagerly welcomes celebrities onto their shows, that assumption does not always hold true. Famous people make mistakes all the time, and occasionally their controversies lead them to be banned from popular TV shows. Throughout the years, certain talk shows have accumulated extensive catalogs of celebrities they decline to work with, and surprisingly, it’s not always due to bad behavior. Whether they had a public controversy or the host has a personal vendetta, you won’t be seeing these stars on many talk shows, and now you’ll finally know why.

Although it may come as a shock that the iconic queen of pop faced a ban from any talk show, it’s not entirely unexpected that the individual responsible for enforcing it was none other than Piers Morgan. In 2011, the controversial English talk show host stated that he would never have her as a guest on his show. Morgan called Madonna an irritant in his life for the past 20 years.

Madonna - Piers Morgan Tonight

ITV/madonna via Instagram

Piers Morgan declared that he would consider inviting the singer onto his show only if she publicly apologized. Nevertheless, the precise reasons underlying his strong dislike towards her remain unclear. Apparently, the two have a long-lasting feud.

Hugh Grant has primarily gained fame as a British heartthrob and for his roles in beloved romantic comedies. Nonetheless, in 2009, Jon Stewart discovered that the movie star wasn’t quite as charming as his public image suggested. When Grant was a guest on The Daily Show, he was less than friendly. The famously well-mannered actor was rude to everyone on set and used foul language.

Hugh Grant - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Comedy Central

Furthermore, Grant’s constant complaints throughout the appearance led to his subsequent banning from the show. He later responded to the ban by agreeing with the decision because his behavior was unforgivable.

Saturday Night Live is definitely not afraid to ban people. A notable instance involves actor and martial artist Steven Seagal, who faced a ban from the show, although not for the same reasons as others. Despite never exhibiting any outrageous or offensive behavior, he remains prohibited from making a return appearance. Seagal was banned because he was rude to the cast and crew, making him highly disliked on set.

Steven Seagal - Saturday Night Live

Image via YouTube

Lorne Michaels, the creator and producer of SNL, made a rather harsh statement regarding a particular host, deeming them the worst in the show’s history.

Joan Rivers was always known for her crass sense of humor, and the late comedian was a permanent guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Nevertheless, their famous friendship came to an abrupt end when she secured her own show on Fox. Joan Rivers made history as the first female host of a late-night show, only to experience a disappointing outcome as it ultimately flopped. It also resulted in Carson banning her from his show.

Joan Rivers - The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Image via YouTube

The intensity of the situation was such that even when Jay Leno assumed control in 1992, the ban remained in effect. In 2014, the ban was lifted when Jimmy Fallon took over.

Like SNL, many people have also been banned from Piers Morgan Tonight. Among those individuals is actor Kelsey Grammer. Reportedly, the star of Frasier abruptly canceled an interview with Piers Morgan just minutes before he was scheduled to make an appearance. Grammer left the set abruptly because Morgan showed a picture of Grammer’s ex-wife, Camille, at the beginning of the show.

Kelsey Grammer - Piers Morgan Tonight

Image via NBC

This incident likely occurred shortly after the star’s well-known cheating scandal. However, that alone shouldn’t be a reason to avoid facing the interview.

In contrast to others, Kathy Griffin has faced bans from nearly every talk show. As one of the most controversial comedians, she has developed a reputation for frequently rubbing people the wrong way. She has taken her clothes off on live television, made derogatory remarks towards other celebs, and those are just a few things she has done.

Kathy Griffin - Almost Every Talk Show

Image via YouTube

Given Griffin’s history, it’s hardly surprising that she has been prohibited from appearing on shows such as The View, Ellen, Today, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman to name a few, and it doesn’t seem like she is trying to get back in anyone’s good graces.

The ban imposed on the late comedian Andy Kaufman by Saturday Night Live remains the most peculiar in the show’s history. In 1983, the show’s former producer allowed the audience to vote if the comedian would ever be allowed on the show again. Viewers were presented with two numbers to call and cast their votes, unfortunately resulting in a majority voting against Kaufman’s return to the show.

Andy Kaufman - Saturday Night Live

Image via NBC

We don’t know what he did that made the viewers vote this way, but we don’t think he deserved to be banned.

You may find it perplexing, considering Chevy Chase’s status as one of the original cast members on Saturday Night Live, but he holds the distinction of being the first person ever banned from the show. After leaving the show on his own terms, he continued to return as a guest host. However, during his eighth time hosting in 1997, he slapped cast member Cheri Oteri on the back of her head.

Chevy Chase - Saturday Night Live

Image via NBC

The incident was reported by Will Ferrell, leading to a permanent exclusion of Chevy Chase from the show’s set. They do not take things lightly there, and the producers aren’t afraid to ban people.

Oprah and David Letterman were two people who had widely successful shows at the same time. Nonetheless, a longstanding feud between the two persisted for 25 years, which escalated to the point where Oprah Winfrey declared she would never make an appearance on his show due to his tendency to make subtle jabs at her. Their feud stemmed from a prank Letterman pulled on Oprah in Paris, where he duped her into paying for dinner.

Oprah Winfrey - Late Show With David Letterman

Image via YouTube

Fortunately, they have managed to resolve their issues since then and have made appearances on each other’s shows. However, for a significant period of time, it appeared unlikely that such a reconciliation would ever occur.

While it is widely known that the Kardashians have their fair share of detractors, the specific actions or circumstances that led to their ban from Anderson Cooper’s show remain undisclosed. In an episode of Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, Anderson Cooper said he would never have the famous sisters on his show. Cooper did not specify which individual Kardashian he would not welcome on his show, but he made it clear that he was not a fan of the entire family as a whole.

The Kardashians - Anderson Live

ET Online

Of course, the irony is that Khloe Kardashian tweeted how much she loved him just a few hours before he made those comments.

While Saturday Night Live has gained a reputation for pushing boundaries with its sketches, there are occasions when the show’s special guests may exceed those limits by deviating from the script or engaging in offensive behavior. That is where the producers draw the line. This is what happened to The Pianist star Adrien Brody.

Adrien Brody - Saturday Night Live

Image via YouTube

While hosting the show, Brody shocked the audience with a racist joke while introducing the musical guest, Sean Paul. Brody stepped onto the stage sporting artificial dreadlocks and attempting a contrived Jamaican accent. His behavior was deemed inappropriate, resulting in his subsequent banishment from the show.

One might assume that Caitlyn Jenner would be warmly received on Ellen’s show, but it appears that Jenner and Ellen DeGeneres have a strained relationship. After releasing her memoir, The Secrets of My Life, Jenner felt like Degeneres alienated her from the LGBTQ community. Due to remarks made by Jenner in 2015, it is likely that she is not permitted to make appearances on Ellen’s show.

Caitlyn Jenner - Ellen

Image via Youtube

Jenner said, “I have to admit that I remember 15 years ago, 20 years ago, whenever it was that the whole gay marriage issue came up, I was not for it.” So we can see how this wouldn’t rub Degeneres the right way.

Gilbert Gottfried has built a reputation for his unfiltered style of comedy. The comedian’s unique voice and larger-than-life personality can occasionally make people feel slightly uneasy, but it is typically all in good humor. However, one talk show host wasn’t a fan of his sense of humor, and things got a little awkward. In an interview with Howard Stern, things got heated between the two men.

Gilbert Gottfried - The Howard Stern Show

Image via YouTube

Stern took offense to the condescending tone used by Gottfried during his appearance on Stern’s show. The situation was further exacerbated by Gottfried’s decision to give an interview to Stern’s rival after being banned from Stern’s show.

In the early ’90s, Cypress Hill was one of the most popular hip-hop groups, who smashed records and with songs like “Insane in the Brain.” So naturally, the producers at SNL were interested and invited them to perform on the show. Lorne Michaels and his fellow producers would come to regret their decision. The group had a reputation for engaging in illicit substances, and they were explicitly instructed not to indulge on set. Cypress Hill - Saturday Night Live

Dave Tonge/Getty Images

However, they ultimately defied the rules, vandalized their instruments, and as a consequence, were permanently banned from the show.

Martin Lawrence is renowned for his occasionally unpredictable behavior, and during his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live in 1994, he left a lasting impression on the crew with a memorable act that they would not soon forget. It is customary for the host to open the show with a monologue, and after days of rehearsal, Lawrence decided to go completely off-script on live TV. Lawrence made highly offensive remarks about women and their hygiene, employing crude language that blatantly violated SNL’s stringent guidelines and standards.

Martin Lawrence - Saturday Night Live

Image via YouTube

And if that wasn’t enough, he also went off-script during one of the sketches. The producers banned Lawrence from the show after protests from their sponsors.

Gary Busey is known for his eccentric personality as he is a method actor. In 1988, the actor was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in brain damage, purportedly altering his personality beyond his typical eccentricity. He proved he was different after the accident during an interview with Howard Stern.

Gary Busey - The Howard Stern Show

Image via 20th Century Fox/YouTube

During his conversation with Stern, Busey engaged in erratic behavior, chasing the host around the studio and aggressively confronting the crew. As a result of this incident, he was never extended another invitation to appear on the show.

While it is still under speculation whether or not Vince Vaughn was entirely banned from Ellen, he was not welcome with open arms. Ellen DeGeneres is a proud lesbian, so when Vaughn’s character in a movie made offensive jokes about the LGBTQ community, she refused to let him promote the film on her show. In Vaughn’s 2011 film, The Dilemma, his character made offensive jokes.

Vince Vaughn - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Although DeGeneres never made a public statement about it, Anderson Cooper denounced the movie while he was a guest on her show. It seems like they have been able to patch things up since the incident, unlike other people on this list.

One might wonder why anyone would want to exclude David Bowie from their show, but it seems that he must have done something to anger the producers at Saturday Night Live. In 1997, Bowie learned not to mess with Lorne Michaels.

David Bowie - Saturday Night Live

Image via NBC

When Bowie was slated to be the musical guest, he had been designated to perform “Telling Lies” and was explicitly instructed not to include “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” in his set. Michaels said it reminded him of dark times, but Bowie played it anyway. He was then banned for three years.

One recurring trend evident in this list is Jay Leno’s has issues with various individuals. In 2010, NBC made the decision to push Conan O’Brien’s time slot to a later hour, granting the earlier slot to Jay Leno. Although O’Brien ended up leaving the network, there was some unresolved tension between the two hosts. Following the fiasco, O’Brien openly acknowledged that he would never extend an invitation to Leno as a guest on his show due to the lingering tension between them.

Jay Leno - Conan

Image via HBO

However, he did joke that he would have him as a musical guest. We think the real people to blame are the executives at NBC.

One of the most unusual bannings on our list has to be comedian Bobcat Goldthwaite. In 1994, during his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he shocked everyone by suddenly pouring lighter fluid on the couch and igniting it, causing it to burst into flames. The unexplainably bizarre act caused Goldthwaite to be banned from The Tonight Show, and he had to pay almost $4,000 in damages.

Bobcat Goldthwait - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

shutterstock/Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

One can only speculate what compelled him to vandalize the set and jeopardize the safety of everyone present.

Director and actor Harmony Korine is known for being as eccentric as his movies. Korine typically helms eccentric, low-budget films, but David Letterman expressed keen interest in featuring him on his show. Letterman had Korine on his show multiple times when he hosted The Late Show, and he enjoyed their back-and-forth banter.

Harmony Korine - Late Show With David Letterman

image via youtube

However, when Korine crossed the line by taking something from Meryl Streep’s purse backstage, it became the final straw.

As the saying goes, karma caught up with Howard Stern, and he faced the consequences of his actions. The chain of events unfolded when Stern leveled accusations against Jay Leno, claiming that Leno had pilfered elements from his own show. While Stern was used to issuing bans, he was not prepared to be banned himself. In 1995, during his appearance on The Tonight Show, Stern thought it would be humorous to introduce two scantily clad women on stage.

Howard Stern - The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Image via YouTube

In a rather unconventional act, he proceeded to engage in toe-sucking while Leno conducted an interview with the subsequent guest. Leno ended the show early and walked off stage because he was so angry. Stern hasn’t been welcome on the show since.

During the 1960s, receiving an invitation to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show had the potential to catapult anyone’s career to remarkable heights. Comedian Jackie Mason was lucky enough to develop a friendship with Sullivan and appeared on the show several times until there was one misunderstanding. During a performance on an episode in 1964, Sullivan discreetly signaled to Mason that there were merely two minutes remaining, indicating that he should conclude his act.

Jackie Mason - The Ed Sullivan Show

Image via CBS

Mason gave a playful gesture back, and Sullivan thought it was the middle finger. Mason was banned from the show until he made an on-air apology years later.

Howie Mandel is yet another celebrity to join the list of people banned from Piers Morgan’s show. Although the exact cause of the ban remains uncertain, Morgan did mention his personal dislike for his former fellow America’s Got Talent judge as a contributing factor. Morgan said that he thought Mandel was too irritating to have on his show.

Howie Mandel - Piers Morgan Tonight

Image via YouTube

He went as far as calling Mandel “the most annoying man in the history of planet earth.” Making such a statement without a concrete reason is quite audacious.

Sandra Bernhard has earned a reputation for her bold and no-nonsense demeanor, which has undoubtedly had both positive and negative impacts on her career. In the ’80s and ’90s, she was at the top of her game in the comedy world. David Letterman was a huge fan, and she was a frequent guest on his show. Upon Letterman’s transition to CBS, Sandra Bernhard found herself suddenly unwelcome on the show, becoming a persona non grata.

Sandra Bernhard - Late Show With David Letterman

Image via TriStar Pictures/YouTube

Bernhard claimed that Letterman believed she had spoken ill of him to their shared acquaintances in the entertainment industry. Although she denied it, she was never on his show again.

During her guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Vivica A. Fox was taken aback when the host cracked a joke about her friend and former co-host of The View, Star Jones. For the rest of the interview, she was clearly uncomfortable and upset with Kimmel. Although Kimmel tried to smooth things over, the actress was not having it and ultimately left the set. Consequently, Kimmel made it clear that Fox would not be invited as a guest on his show in the future.

Vivica A. Fox - Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Bravo TV

However, it is believed that this decision was reached through a mutual understanding between both parties.

This is one of the rare bans that was brought on by love rather than hate. During Conan O’Brien’s brief stint as the host of The Tonight Show, he invited his close friend Artie Lange to be a guest on the show. Lange was known for his partying ways and had a history of substance abuse. When Lange appeared on O’Brien’s show, he slurred his words and rambled on with incoherent sentences.

Artie Lange - The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien

Image via YouTube

Out of genuine concern for his friend, O’Brien decided to impose a ban on Artie Lange, preventing him from making further appearances on the show until he addressed his personal struggles, cleaned up his act, and achieved sobriety.

Dubbed “Mr. Television,” Milton Berle, with his extensive background in show business, had the privilege of hosting Saturday Night Live in 1979. Berle’s career spanned across various platforms, including Vaudeville, radio, television, and many other entertainment avenues. Lorne Michaels said he had respect for the era Berle represented, but he wanted to take the show in a different direction.

Milton Berle - Saturday Night Live

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Despite feeling pressured to feature Berle on the show, the host should have trusted his instincts, as it was reported that Berle deviated from the script, exerted authority over the crew, and even roamed the set in the nude.

In 2005, actor Robert Blake became embroiled in the murder case of his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley after being added to the list of suspects. He went through a lengthy trial and was found not guilty. However, that wasn’t why he was banned from the show. In 1982, Blake hosted the show before he met his wife.

Robert Blake - Saturday Night Live

J. Wilds/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On set, he allegedly had a terrible temper and scared some of the cast and crew. However, the incident that got him banned was when he threw a crumpled script at a writer’s head.

Bill Hicks is widely acclaimed as a comedian due to his thought-provoking, clever, and uproarious routines. With such a reputation, one might be curious as to what he said that led to his banning from The Late Show with David Letterman. Well, it had something to do with Billy Ray Cyrus. While on the show, Hicks made some jokes about Cyrus, and Letterman was so offended that he banished him from the show.

Bill Hicks - Late Show With David Letterman

Image via Angela Davis, CC BY 2.0/YouTube

Tragically, Bill Hicks passed away a year later, and following his death, David Letterman expressed his regrets and offered an apology to Hicks’ mother for the incident that led to his banning from The Late Show.

Charles Grodin, renowned for his role as the stern father in the film Beethoven, found himself among the individuals banned from Saturday Night Live. This talented actor joined the list of notable figures who faced restrictions from appearing on the show. This is because when he hosted the show in 1977, the late actor made some interesting character choices. Grodin wanted to play a meta version of himself who was bad at hosting SNL.

Charles Grodin - Saturday Night Live

Evan Agostini / Liaison Agenc

Consequently, Grodin intentionally neglected his lines, delivered terrible ad-libbing, and performed poorly in his sketches, contributing to a lackluster and unsuccessful appearance on the show.

Louise Lasser, renowned as Woody Allen’s second wife and a prominent actress of the 1970s, achieved the infamous distinction of being the first-ever guest host to be banned from Saturday Night Live. While hosting the finale of season one, Lasser was incoherent and didn’t seem like herself. According to reports, Lasser proved to be exceptionally challenging to collaborate with, insisting on not appearing in scenes alongside any cast members except Chevy Chase.

Louise Lasser - Saturday Night Live

Image via T.A.T. Communications Company

Her unwillingness to work with others made the production process difficult, ultimately leading to her ban from the show. Lorne Michaels was so upset about the episode that he never let it re-air again.

Sinead O’Connor, the singer who gained prominence in the 1980s, has consistently been a controversial figure, known for her outspokenness and candid expression of her beliefs. However, one stunt she pulled while performing on SNL sent producers and fans over the edge, making her unwelcome at the show ever again.

Sinead O'Connor - Saturday Night Live

Image via YouTube

During a performance of Bob Marley’s “War,” Sinead O’Connor infamously took out a picture of Pope John Paul II and tore it in half while passionately singing the word “evil” and urging people to “fight the real enemy.” The entire studio went silent because they couldn’t believe what happened.

You may be curious about what Paul McCartney’s ex-wife did to upset Piers Morgan and subsequently get banned from his show. The incident revolves around their divorce. It seems Morgan wasn’t happy with their settlement as he was the one who introduced the pair. Following the divorce, Heather Mills received a settlement of $50 million, which contributed to the emotional and financial distress Piers Morgan felt responsible for.

Heather Mills - Piers Morgan Live


As a result, he imposed a lifetime ban on Mills as a way to compensate for the pain he believed he had caused. That seems pretty dramatic, considering he didn’t cause their divorce.

Rage Against the Machine is a rock band known for their strong liberal political beliefs. Hence, fans found it rather peculiar when they discovered that McCartney and Mills were the musical act on Saturday Night Live during the same week that Republican presidential nominee Steve Forbes made an appearance on the show.

Rage Against The Machine - Saturday Night Live

Trixie Textor/Getty Image

Right before they performed, the band hung American flags upside down from the amps, only to get taken down seconds later by stagehands. Subsequently, the band was abruptly removed from the stage and faced a ban from future appearances on the show.

While the punk rock band Fear might not be a familiar name to everyone, many are aware of their biggest fan, John Belushi. In 1981, Belushi had already left SNL to pursue an acting career, but he wanted to help the band. So when he couldn’t get them on the soundtrack for his movie, he got them a gig on SNL.

Fear - Saturday Night Live

George Rose/Getty Images

Despite the well-intentioned gesture, things did not go as planned. The band, Fear, ended up using highly offensive language during their performance and caused significant damage amounting to $20,000. They were subsequently banned.

While numerous bans from appearing on Ellen’s show remain as rumors or speculation, one person’s exclusion has been officially confirmed. Gospel singer Kim Burrell is not permitted on the show due to negative comments she made about the gay community.

Kim Burrell - Ellen

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Ellen said, “I actually didn’t know her; her name is Kim Burrell. She made a statement when she was doing a Facebook Live, and she said some very not nice things about homosexuals, so I didn’t feel that it was good of me to have her on the show to give her a platform after she was saying things about me.”

While Ellen DeGeneres advocates for kindness towards others, it is known that she has made the decision to exclude numerous potential guests from her show who do not align with her beliefs. One of those people was Sherri Shepherd.

Sherri Shepherd - Ellen

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Degeneres decided to ban The View host from her show because of comments she made that DeGeneres perceived as anti-gay. There were rumors suggesting that DeGeneres was upset with Shepherd for allegedly drawing away her audience.

In the 1970s, as Elvis Costello was establishing his reputation both in the UK and America, he received an invitation to perform on Saturday Night Live. Prior to the show, he agreed to perform the song “Less than Zero.” However, as he started to sing the song, he did something shocking. Costello yelled, “Stop! Stop,” and said, “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen,” he added, “but there’s no reason to do this song here.”

Elvis Costello - Saturday Night Live

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During his appearance, Elvis Costello decided to perform his song “Radio Radio,” which contained lyrics critical of corporate-controlled broadcasting. This unexpected choice left Lorne Michaels, the show’s producer, furious. As a consequence, Costello faced a ban from performing on Saturday Night Live for a staggering 12-year period.

While Piers Morgan maintains a cordial relationship with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the outspoken TV host doesn’t hold a favorable opinion of Blair’s wife. Morgan said it was a clash of personalities. He also said if she were to be on the show, he believes it would get violent. Morgan is definitely not shy about banning people from his show.

Cherie Blair - Piers Morgan

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However, it could be considered quite audacious to suggest that Blair would engage in a verbal altercation with him if they were to appear together on the air.