Former SNL cast member Jim Breuer went on WTF with Marc Maron last month and claimed he heard from an NBC executive that Adam McKay, who was head writer for the show at the time, "fought adamantly" to have him fired. On this week's improv4humans, McKay told his side of the story to host Matt Besser:
The network made Lorne hire Jim Breuer when we came on. It was when the show's ratings were getting kind of low. So Jim then comes on the show, and Jim's a great guy. I had no problem with Jim whatsoever. Completely cool guy, wrote sketches, [I] put him in sketches. Zero problem with him at all. And he actually has a good run on the show. He does "Joe Pesci Show," which was a huge hit, he did this "Goat Boy" thing. Very popular … he has a good run and then he starts doing Half Baked and I think he has another movie in development. And you see this with people sometimes on there; they're like halfway out the door.
And Jim kind of hit that point, so Lorne started saying, "What about Jim Breuer? It seems like he's not totally here, and some of the writers were complaining. He's not fully committed to the show, and I was like, "Yeah, seems like he's had his run." … Really what was happening was Lorne never got over that he was forced to hire him, was happy that he did well, and was going to the room, "Does anyone agree?" And I was like, "Yeah, I agree," kind of naively. So I think when the word got passed to Jim, it was like, "McKay did this." Now, in fairness to Jim, I definitely thought it was time for him to move on, there's no question about it.
Check out the podcast for the full story, which starts at the 1:03:00 mark. See below for McKay discussing SNL's hiring/firing process:
They never really tell you why when you get fired. You get a call from your agent saying they're not picking up your contract and then, maybe you can talk to one of the producers under Lorne and that's kind of all you get and it's always really vague … I did want to just make the simple point clear that I did not hire or fire people. That was Lorne Michaels. I wish I had; I argued sometimes that I should have been able to, and Lorne would go, "What the fuck are you talking about? It's my show," and he was right.