That time Madonna laughed all the way to the bank after being fat-shamed on ‘SNL’

That time Madonna laughed all the way to the bank after being fat-shamed on ‘SNL’

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Pamela Stephenson as Madonna during the “Madonna Navel Accessories” SNL skit on November 3, 1984.

It’s been over 40 years since Madonna, who turns 65 this week, burst onto the music scene with her self-titled debut album, released on July 27, 1983 by Sire Records.

Within a year, she would be everywhere. Dance clubs, radio stations, magazine covers, you name it.

A lucky star was born!

In November 1984, shortly before the release of her second studio album Like A Virgin, SNL spoofed the singer and her pudgy belly that, honestly, really wasn’t very pudgy at all.

Madonna in 1984. (Getty Images)

Cast member Pamela Stephenson, who appeared in just one season of the late-night comedy series, impersonated the singer in a sketch titled “Madonna Navel Accessories.”

Dressed in an identical outfit as Madonna in her “Lucky Star” music video, Stephenson swayed back and forth with her midriff exposed while performing the song with some added assistance from a pair of cartoon lips (and a few props) painted over her belly button.

At the end of the sketch, a man’s voice says, “Madonna navel accessories. Turn your tummy’s black hole into a star bright.”


Watching the sketch in 2023, there’s definitely a cheese factor to it (Groucho goggles? Really??) and the gags are, well, are they really even gags? Probably not by today’s standards.

Keep in mind, this was the 1980s, when fat-shaming and commenting on women’s looks were still considered perfectly acceptable and sometimes even hilarious. Also, even though she was technically the butt of the joke, Madonna laughed all the way to the bank.

As the sole songwriter on “Lucky Star”, not only did SNL have to pay for permission to use the track, but it was basically free publicity for both the single, which by then had been released almost a year earlier and become her first top-five hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and Madonna’s new album, Like A Virgin, which was scheduled to be released one week after the broadcast.

Madonna would go on to be the subject of several more SNL skits over the years, portrayed by everyone from Janeane Garofalo to Molly Shannon to Kristen Wiig. She would also appear on the show herself–hosting an episode in 1985, performing as a musical guest in 1993, and appearing alongside Lady Gaga in a sketch in 2009.

While you’re here, re-watch the original “Lucky Star” music video below. And join us in wishing Madonna a happy b-day. Long live the queen!


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