The “SNL” creator said as much in an upcoming documentary titled “Belushi” and recalled the funnyman often being in debilitated states ahead of performances.
“He’d been out with [Rolling Stones rocker] Ronnie Wood and he was a mess,” Michaels said in the piece of a Belushi’s state right before a show airing on Feb. 24, 1979. “He was coughing, he looked terrible and the doctor says, ‘John can’t go on,’ and I was somewhere between rage and very little sympathy.”
Michaels said he weighed his options of throwing Jake Blues, who was one-half of the Blues Brothers, on stage that night.
“So I said, ‘What happens if he does it?’ [The doctor] says, ‘Well, he could die?’ And I said, ‘What are the odds of that?’ And he said, ’50/50,’ and I said, ‘I can live with that,’” Michaels recalled.
The show in question was hosted by Kate Jackson and Belushi did actually appear in the episode.
Belushi died a few years later, in March 1982, from a concoction of heroin and cocaine. He was 33.
John Belushi aka Jake Blues of The Blues Brothers backstage at The Winterland Ballroom in 1978 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/ Getty Images)
The night before Belushi’s death – March 4, 1982 – a book titled “The Castle on Sunset,” claimed friend Robert De Niro and the late Robin Williams partied with Belushi and a woman named Kathy Smith in his bungalow.
The next morning, Belushi was found unresponsive in his hotel room. His death was ruled an overdose.
Smith later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for supplying the comedian with his last fatal doses of cocaine and heroin, a report on the book maintained.
Included in the “Belushi” documentary, which chronicles the “Animal House” stars heartbreaking spiral with drugs, are accounts and interviews from Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase and John’s wife, Judy Belushi.
Furthermore, “Neighbors” producer Richard Zanuck also notes in the visual that at one point two men were tasked with physically holding Belushi up so that the talented comedian could deliver his lines and finish a set.
“Belushi” is slated to air on Showtime on Nov. 22.