Reaction ranged widely on Twitter, from some saying the episode was a resurgence for the show this season, to others positing the sketches were so bad the writers must have been conspiring to sabotage Trump’s campaign.
One clear winner of the evening was Larry David, who not only returned to play Bernie Sanders but also stands to earn $5,000 for shouting that Trump was a racist while the presidential candidate was on stage. That moment was in itself a riff on one protest group’s offer of $5,000 to anyone who heckled Trump.
Shortly afterward, the political action committee that offered the money, Deport Racism, indicated that David would be in line to receive the reward.
— Deport Racism (@DeportRacism) November 8, 2015
Before the start of the show, hundreds of protesters marched from Trump headquarters to 30 Rockefeller Center, where the show is taped, and held signs such as “racismisntfunny” as well as effigies of the candidate. Many Latino groups, including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, called on NBC to drop Trump, as did the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The Democratic National Committee released a statement before the show even began, saying that his appearance was “no laughing matter given his offensive rhetoric and the tone of his campaign.”
Trump wasn’t the first presidential candidate to host the show. Al Sharpton had the gig in 2003, as he was running for the Democratic nomination. George McGovern hosted in 1984, just after ending his presidential campaign that year.
Stuart Stevens, senior strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and a screenwriter, tweeted, “Was any politician ever better off after SNL? I don’t get why they keep doing it?”