Banned from “SNL”: Robert Smigel’s “Conspiracy Theory Rock”

By on September 12, 2015

On March 14, 1998, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” aired the Robert Smigel animated short film, “Conspiracy Theory Rock,” a parody of the beloved “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons of the 70s, and then they never aired it again, snipping it out of subsequent airings of the episode in syndication.

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Lorne Michaels has claimed that Smigel’s film was trimmed out of future airings because it “wasn’t funny,” but like just about everyone else who’s seen it — including Marc Maron, who tweeted a link to it last year, causing it to once again to become a topic of conversation — we gotta go ahead and disagree with Michaels.

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The film features a crazy homeless-looking crackpot (voiced by Jack Sheldon, who has also lent his famous voice to “Family Guy”‘s parodies of “Schoolhouse Rock” ), critiquing powerful media companies that have become a “Media-opoly” — the example in the film being a kind of octopus-tentacled monster that includes NBC’s then-current ownership by General Electric/Westinghouse, CBS, Fox and Disney, all devouring up smaller news companies.

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The short film wasn’t seen for a long time but eventually end up being included in the Saturday TV Funhouse DVD compilation that was released in 2006, which is probably where the video being passed around online was ripped from.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.