WASHINGTON - "Saturday Night Live" executive producer Lorne Michaels spoke to FOX 5 about the backstage meltdown Kanye West had before his performance on the show earlier this month.
In audio obtained by Page Six, West can be heard in his expletive-laden outburst yelling at the show's production staff as well as blasting music superstar Taylor Swift. West's tirade also included the rapper declaring himself more influential than Stanley Kubrick, Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar and any other human being.
According to Page Six, West was upset over a change on his set.
"We're told Kanye was upset that staffers ripped up some shiny flooring from his set because it was reflecting the stage lights, creating a confusing effect with the video wall behind him."
Michaels confirmed with FOX 5 that the rant was due to a change that was made before his musical performance.
"He had done a great performance in dress rehearsal and I think that something had changed because it was a very complicated setup," said Michaels. "Somebody changed something and he saw it and I think he thought it would throw off his performance. He was justifiably upset about it and then we fixed it. He saw the show probably more than almost many other people, so he sort of knew the drill, and as always, he sort of came through on air."
Page Six also reported:
"Sources told us that "SNL" boss Lorne Michaels had to reason with the "Runaway" rapper to keep him from bolting from the show. Finally the rapper deigned to stay and perform."
We asked Michaels what it is like to handle a personality such as West and to calm him down when things are not going right.
"He's a brilliant performer and you never know what it takes to go out there and do it, so you don't underestimate it," Michaels told FOX 5. "My job is to sort of appreciate what it takes to go out there and be as brilliant as he is. On the 40 th anniversary [show], I had no idea what he was doing and then he sort of showed up a day before and he was doing that. As always with Kanye, there are some people that go, 'I don't understand at all,' and other people goes he's brilliant, and then as time goes by, you sort of see he is always slightly ahead."
Michaels was in Washington D.C. at the United States Navy Memorial Tuesday night for a premiere screening of Tina Fey's new movie "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."