The 1981 punk rock Halloween riot on SNL

In 1981, Lorne Michaels and John Belushi wanted to get some authentic punks to appear on SNL as audience members for the Halloween episode's musical guest, LA punk band Fear. They called Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi) in DC. They were looking for about 15 people to travel up to NYC and appear on the show. More like 80 punks would descended on 30 Rock.

During the performance, the audience slammed, got into fist fights, and created more mayhem than SNL producers had bargained for. When DC punk rock superfan, Bill MacKenzie, came from backstage wielding a gigantic pumpkin, SNL went to dead air before the pumpkin was unceremoniously smashed over a guy's head.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this incident, on Punk and Tomatoes, this legendary performance is told with video clips, photos, and interviews (now and then) by documentary filmmaker, Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot). Cynthia Connolly (of Dischord Records/Banned in DC fame) and Bill MacKenzie make appearances.

[H/t Cynthia Connolly]

Image: Screengrab