×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Donald Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’: Not Hugely Entertaining

The fevered lead-up to Donald Trump’s “Saturday Night Live” episode turned out to be more exciting than the edition of the show he hosted.

Most of the sketches involving Trump were weak, timid or predictable, and we have Drake to thank for one of the few moments that worked.

Turns out Trump doing goofy “Hotline Bling” dad-dancing was far more humorous than jokes about his Twitter account and his hyperactive ego. Ed Grimley (a.k.a. Martin Short) turned up in the “Hotline Bling” sketch, and another old hand was on stage during Trump’s monologue — clad in Trump-appropriate red tie and whipped-cream hair, Taran Killam did a dueling Trump impression along with Darrell Hammond. (Hammond may be a better Trump than Trump.) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjeORm4LMDk

Larry David provided one of the few real moments of spontaneity in Saturday’s episode. After doing a spot-on Bernie Sanders in the Trump-free cold open, David stood to the side of the stage during the monologue and shouted “Trump’s a racist!” 

There were no true interruptions by hecklers — a concern given the protests that surrounded Trump’s appearance and the controversy that has followed various racially charged comments he has made. But there was clearly an effort made to limit Trump’s screen time, given the many questions raised in recent weeks about how equal-time rules would apply to the appearance of a presidential candidate.

To keep him away from the cameras, in one seemingly endless sketch set in an Italian restaurant, an off-screen Trump’s Twitter insults popped up on the screen. Cast members wondered what he was writing, and to no one’s surprise, Trump was tweeting pointedly nasty comments about them (“total loser,” “born stupid,” Kenan Thompson’s birth certificate was a fraud, etc.). Of course the jibes were all in good fun. If only they’d been funny, too.

An early sketch took place in a future Trump White House, where Omarosa Manigault from “The Apprentice” reported that Trump’s comments about Putin had made the Russian leader cry. The Syria problem had been solved by giving refugees jobs in a Damascus casino owned by Trump. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, turned up to report on White House renovations, and Cecily Strong played Trump’s wife, Melania.

It’s pretty standard for a host to read most of his lines off cue cards, as Trump did stiffly in all his scenes, but when the rest of the cast appears ill at ease and many of the jokes fail to land, the sketches can seem interminable. And when the funniest joke in a particular sketch has Trump thanking the president of Mexico for turning Telemundo into an English-language network, something has gone awry.

An episode that failed to sustain much energy petered out noticeably by the end (the Donald playing a laser harp solo is less interesting than it sounds). A couple of lively moments occurred during Weekend Update, despite the fact that Colin Jost and Michael Che are one of the most low-energy duos to ever share the Update desk.

Che mocked Trump’s nostalgic urges: “Whenever rich old white guys start bringing up the good old days, my Negro senses start tingling,” Che sighed. “After all these years of progress, Trump’s really going to go with, ‘I think we had it right the first time?’”

One of the few moments in the entire broadcast that worked was Bobby Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle bit during Weekend Update. It’s somehow not a surprise to learn that Drunk Uncle would be thrilled at the prospect of a President Trump. He and Trump have so much in common, Drunk Uncle pointed out: “We both love white Russians. His wife is named Melania, and that’s what my doctor said this mole is.”

If nothing else, Drunk Uncle has fully grasped the goal of Trump’s candidacy. With slurring adoration, he mumbled, “He’s going make America grapes again.”

More TV

  • Content-is-King

    Top TV Execs Tackle New Distribution Landscape in Rome

    ROME – In an increasingly complex TV market, with a host of new big-ticket streaming services preparing to enter an already crowded arena, both buyers and sellers are rethinking some of the fundamentals of the TV business as they grapple with the best way to reach global audiences. A host of top producers, network executives, [...]

  • MIA-MARKET-2019_Europe-Producers-Club_4

    European Producers and Broadcasters Debate How to Weather Streaming Storm

    ROME – The impending rollout of Disney Plus, HBO Max, and other new streaming services promises a new era of uncertainty—and opportunity—for broadcasters and producers in an industry already disrupted by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. At a panel hosted by the European Producers Club Friday afternoon during the MIA market in Rome, executives [...]

  • Kevin-Beggs

    Lionsgate TV Chairman Kevin Beggs on Streamers and TV’s ‘Platinum Era’

    ROME – Over the course of two decades in the industry, Lionsgate Television chairman Kevin Beggs has witnessed the ups and downs of a business that has frequently found itself confronting both dizzying new possibilities as well as existential threats. But these days the veteran exec, who oversees the development of all scripted and non-scripted content [...]

  • MAKING IT -- Season: 1 --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces 'Making It' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the “Making It” Season 2 premiere date and HBO Max greenlit a new docuseries from Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti. DATES Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman will return with the second season of “Making It” on NBC Dec. 2. After the show’s holiday season premiere, the show [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content