PopPolitics: The Creative Challenge for Donald Trump and ‘SNL’ (Listen)

Plus: Larry Lessig's Longshot Campaign; Why the Benghazi Committee Fizzled

Donald Trump
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NBC may be taking heat from Latino groups and faces triggering equal time rules by having Donald Trump host “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 7, but another challenge could be creative.

So much humor about Trump is well worn — whether it be jokes about his hair or his propensity for bombast — that the onus will be on the show to come up with sketches and material that still have an element of surprise.

“The challenge is you got to come up with lines that people think he wouldn’t say,” James Andrew Miller, co-author of “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of ‘Saturday Night Live.'” “The bar is really high.”

The show has proven to be an especially good way for candidates to poke fun at themselves, as Hillary Clinton did in her cameo on the show’s season premiere on Oct. 3. Trump could benefit by showing that for all his railing against the media or polls showing him trailing Ben Carson in Iowa, he’s not so thin-skinned.

Miller added that “it was not surprising that ‘Saturday Night Live’ would join the fray” in booking Trump, given his ability to draw big ratings. Trump has hosted the show before — in 2004 — and shows that “he is very agile on his feet. And another thing that is really important when you’re doing a live show, unless you are an incredible actor, this guy has no fear.”

Listen below:

Larry Lessig’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Larry Lessig, the Harvard professor and longtime Internet freedom advocate, was not invited to last weekend’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines and did not appear in the most recent Democratic debate. But he did raise $1 million in the most recent quarter, almost as much as Democratic rival Martin O’Malley and more than Lincoln Chafee and James Webb, who have dropped out of the race.

Lessig talks about his campaign, which is focused on ending the influence of big money in politics and reforming the electoral process. And despite being on the opposite side of many copyright issues from the showbiz lobby, he also explains how he has drawn some contributions from Hollywood, including that of director J.J. Abrams.

“J.J. has been a friend and an ally, he and his wife have been strong supporters of reform,” Lessig says. “They are strong supporters of Hillary Clinton too but they are deeply committed to the idea that we ought to have a democracy where everybody’s equal. We don’t have that right now. I’m always impressed when people spend their money to reduce their political power.”

Hillary in the Hot Seat

David Cohen of Variety and Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail talk about Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony and what Republicans may have been reluctant to do after the overall decision to intervene in Libya.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,”hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.