The song was written to poke fun at the fact that many people had a hard time understanding Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain 's lyrics in the original song. After being unable to contact Nirvana by conventional means, Yankovic called Cobain while the band was on the set of Saturday Night Live , where Cobain quickly gave permission to record the parody. Recording the song was a change for Yankovic and his band. Usually, the group were forced to record several overdubs. To promote the single, Yankovic created an associated video for the song that parodied the "Smells like Teen Spirit" video. The parody video closely mirrored the original; Yankovic even went so far as to hire several of the same actors and use the same set.
Saturday Night Live - Nirvana was the first band ever to get the honour of playing the "Saturday Night Live" show twice. The first performance took place on January 11th But by this time both Kurt and Courtney were addicted to heroin, which was showcased during the photo-session Nirvana did with Michael Lavin the day before perfoming on "Saturday Night Live," as Kurt nodded out on several occasions. Courtney found out she was pregnant with Frances Bean around this, and claim she stopped using drugs as soon as she found out. Cross has brought forward information that Kurt overdosed on heoin the night before the first "Saturday Night Live" performance, and that Courtney brought him back to life with an illegal dose of medicine. When it comes to the actual performance, Nirvana did a very punk rock version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and then "Territorial Pissings," before trashing the entire stage.