Search icon


08th Aug 2023

David Spade recalls being threatened with jail for taking part of Pope photo ripped by Sinéad O’Connor

Stephen Porzio

david spade

He also revealed SNL creator Lorne Michaels’ priceless reaction to the “rip heard around the world”.

In the wake of Sinéad O’Connor’s death, many have taken to social media to share great stories involving the legendary Irish singer and musician.

The latest comes from comedian David Spade who was a cast member on Saturday Night Live when O’Connor, in a move to protest about child abuse in the Catholic Church, produced a photo of Pope John Paul II on the programme and ripped it up.

This incident sparked a huge fire-storm in the US and across the world, with many stations refusing to play her music and venues cancelling gigs. At the time, child abuse within the church environs was not widely known or, at least, discussed or tackled.

On a recent episode of the Fly on the Wall podcast hosted by David Spade and his fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey, the pair spoke about O’Connor’s passing and about the moment she ripped up the pope’s photo.

Spade said:

“We we’re on SNL. I’m near [SNL creator Lorne Michaels] looking at the monitor and he goes ‘Mmm Irish’. I didn’t even know what it meant but I liked it.”

The comedian then went on to recall how he took a part of the ripped photo as a “keepsake” but was ultimately threatened into giving it back.

@davidspade We discuss #SineadOConnor ‘s passing #RIP Check out #FlyonTheWall #Podcast @Dana Carvey #BonusClips #fyurpage ♬ original sound – DavidSpade

Threatened with jail

He explained:

“They went to commercial. I walk out and see the picture of the Pope on the ground and I just pick up a piece of it. So, I’m at home watching Inside Edition and they go: ‘The rip heard around the world.’ They showed all the pieces together and there was one piece missing.

“The next day, of course, I brag around. I go ‘somebody got a picture of the pope’. [Former SNL producer and production manager] Kenny Aymong called me into the office. There’s two security guards and he goes: ‘Did you know the picture of the pope got stolen? There’s word you have it.’

“I go: ‘Of the Pope? Oh, on the show. Did we do a show Saturday?’ He’s like: “This is too dumb. Did you take it or not?’

“I go: ‘I took… a little piece. It’s not even anything,’ and he goes: ‘Give it back or you’re going to jail because someone sold it.'”

Spade said at this point, he handed his piece of the picture back.  According to the comedian, SNL staff later discovered that one of the show’s crew members sold the photo for $10,000.

Meanwhile, a host of Irish music legends were among the thousands of mourners on Tuesday (8 August) as the country said goodbye to O’Connor.

A huge crowd lined the streets of Bray seafront as the legendary singer’s cortege passed through on the way to the private funeral service, which you can read more about right here.

Read more: