×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘SNL’ Gives Donald Trump Just 12 Minutes On Screen

When Donald Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2004, he held forth in multiple sketches, like a spoof of “Regis and Kathie Lee” and a fake ad for “Donald Trump’s House of Wings.” In 2015, the show was considerably more stingy with his time.

Trump, the leading Republican candidate for U.S. President, was spotted on screen for just about 12 minutes, according to Variety‘s measurement of the episode, and possibly a little less. In contrast, Amy Schumer was on screen for between 25 minutes and 26 minutes when she hosted the October 10th broadcast of the program and Miley Cyrus was on camera for between 21 minutes and 22 minutes when she hosted the venerable late-night series’ 41st season opener on October 3.

Though Trump carried the opening monologue (with some help from Larry David and impressions by Taran Killam and Darrell Hammond) and appeared in the entirety of the show’s second sketch of the evening, he was not allowed to carry any segment of the program on his own. His minimal appearance on the show would suggest NBC was extremely cognizant of TV’s so-called “equal time” rule, which mandates that U.S. broadcast and radio stations that grant appearances to political candidates must provide an equal amount of time to other candidates who request it.

From early on in the show, it was clear “Saturday Night Live” writers and staff had devised creative ways to allude to Trump without necessarily putting the real-estate executive on screen. In one sketch, Trump told viewers that he would offer live-tweet commentary about the proceedings, rather than taking part in them. In the end, his tweets – adorned with a red, white and blue Trump logo – were fake.

On “Weekend Update,” Bobby Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” character praised some of Trump’s ideas, but Trump was not on hand to express them himself.  In another sketch, Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong reprised the porn-star pitchwomen they have played in several sketches over the years, this time promoting Trump’s campaign with malapropisms. Moynihan came on camera to utter Trump’s trademark line “It’s huuuuuge.”

Candidates who want equal time are not guaranteed to get what Trump received. NBC could send them to various programs operated by NBC News, or to NBC-owned stations or some of the network’s affiliates. But other people striving for the office could certainly gain publicity for themselves by making the request – and bring more scrutiny to the broadcast network, which is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit. NBC could also make the case that it had Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” during the season opener – and granting Trump, a Republican, time on this Saturday’s program shows it is acting in good faith.

To be sure, Trump made the most of his screen time. He had daughter Ivanka Trump join him in a sketch that looked at how he might conduct himself if he did win the Oval Office. He took an extended run at introducing a song by musical guest Sia, bantering with Kenan Thompson playing Toots Hibbert, the reggae musician who was the musical guest when Trump hosted in 2004.  And he played a member of a bar band trying to get attention for playing “laser harp.”

But Trump will not be remembered as being one of the show’s more versatile hosts. When regulars like Alec Baldwin or Justin Timberlake hold forth on “SNL,” they often show up in what seems like nearly every sketch. Trump did not provide the equal of those friends of the program, and it seems quite likely that NBC did not want him to do so.

More TV

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloe Kardashian To 'Bachelor' Creator: 'Stop Or You Will Be Hearing From My Lawyers'

    UPDATE: Khloe Kardashian slams “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss’ claims she could be the next “Bachelorette.” And her sister Kim Kardashian West has her back. I’m not fucking clickbait right now. Stop or you will be hearing from my lawyers. How insensitive!! https://t.co/vTKi83nLUJ — Khloé (@khloekardashian) February 24, 2019 The time has come to choose a [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content