Donald Trump Hosts SNL

Donald Trump Hosts SNL: Ratings Aside, Was It Worth It? (Um, Nope)

“The following is a paid advertisement for Donald Trump for President.”

That ultimately silly introduction to Saturday Night Live‘s final sketch this week probably sent an initial chill through viewers sympathizing with protestors outside Studio 8H incensed about the Republican presidential front-runner being selected as host despite divisive campaign comments about Mexican immigrants and/or those supporting one of the GOP-ers trailing Trump in the polls. They needn’t have worried.

Because while there’s no true way to measure whether or not the gig brought Trump any new voters, from a comedic standpoint, the candidate’s 90-minute appearance was the equivalent of slapping, rather than kissing, a baby.

Granted, even a seasoned comedic actor would’ve struggled to wring a single laugh out the night’s weakest sketches — such as the one where Trump played a laser-harp player miffed about having to always play last (and shortest) during the band’s solo interludes. (Was there an actual punchline during the entire interminable bit, or was the mere idea of laser harp supposed to send us all into a fit of “that’s-so-retro!” guffawing?)

Still, after a very short, very sleepy opening monologue in which he was upstaged by Larry David — click here for more on that — Trump never stepped outside his comfort zone, never truly dug into an actual character and never worked up any kind of sweat in the name of comedy.

For those keeping home at score, Trump played: himself in flash-forward to himself in the Oval Office in 2018; himself (for a few seconds) to set up a scenario where he live-Tweeted insults at the show’s cast during a terrible sketch; a sleazy music producer (in the final seconds of a sketch that should’ve been cut down by half, if not two thirds); a tax guy dancing to “Hotline Bling” (for all of 10 seconds); himself (playing against Kenan Thompson’s “why is this happening?” Toots and the Maytals parody) prior to introducing musical-guest Sia; and himself again at the end of Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong’s “We’re Not Porn Stars Anymore” bit. (Oh, I forgot to add “laser-hapist” for a second, but who can blame me?)

Was there a single insult during the Twitter sketch — i.e. “low-class slob,” “dumb loser,” “overrated clown” — that rose above the kind of ho-hum zinger you can hear during any middle-school gym class? Did we really need a joke with Trump thanking Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto for “changing Telemundo to all-English”? And was the inevitable ratings spike from bringing in the Republican firebrand worth the noticeable dip in quality? No, no and (as one of my four-year-old twins likes to say), “Definite no!”

I’ll be fully honest with you: A lot of what Trump has said on the campaign trail these last few months has sounded like a bad joke to me. Alas, I can say the same for most of his 90-minute SNL gig, as well.

What did you think of Trump’s SNL episode? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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99 Comments
  1. maddieshook says:

    Slezak, you truly took one for the team tonight. I’d rather have to listen to 90 minutes of Danny Gokey’s rendition of “Dream On” on loop than have to sit through that.

  2. WOW this was horrible and not funny. yeesh. The monologue was ok, get Larry David to host.

  3. kevstar says:

    The Hotline Bling skit was funny because it took something that was already slightly comical and took it to extremes. The live tweets were a carbon copy of the kind of insults he always hurls. Nothing special.

  4. Sam says:

    That was utterly underwhelming! I expected much more but there was simply nothing there. I’ve no idea how he faired in 2004 but there was absolutely no comedy there. And the writing in all of the sketches was lazy at best.

    There might be a ratings spike but that will probably come from the first 20mins with people curious what Trump would deliver and switching off after seeing the atrocity that NBC was airing. I mean, there were rehearsals……..

    On the other hand, Trump probably wanted to make sure he’s taken seriously and not as a clown/Funny man that most expected.

    • Jerri says:

      If Trump wants to make sure he’s taken seriously, hosting a comedy sketch show is the wrong way to go about it.

      • peterwdawson says:

        You’d have think he’d learned from McCain back in 2008. Then again he was only in the cold open I believe.

        • TJ says:

          McCain did more in that episode. He wasn’t bad from what I remember but SNL hadn’t made a comical character out of him like they have Trump. The cold opening just reminded everyone how they have made fun of Trump over the years. From what I remember McCain didn’t embarrass himself when he was on.

    • Mary says:

      The show was not funny but I would not characterize the writers as being lazy.They may have been pulling what was left of their hair out.When a show , or movie, has so much hype , it does not live up to expectations.Your first sentence summed show up .

  5. Rachel says:

    Six comments!!! Wow !!!

    Look. He’s not going to flap his ears, stutter, and look like a fool like Obama did on SNL. Oh wait. That didn’t happen. No guts.

    Trump 2016!!!

    • Bill Templar says:

      Astonishing.

    • Ron says:

      Ugh, you right-wingers need to make up your mind. Obama goes on a late-night or daytime talk show, and he’s deemed a media seeker who is more worried with being a celebrity than doing his job. Obama doesn’t go on SNL and now he has no guts. I can’t keep up. Do you all want him on TV shows or not…?
      Also, Obama did make a cameo on SNL…

      • Mary says:

        I have remained friends with people who hate the president because I informed them we have to agree to disagree.Has he made mistakes…yes.But when they critize him on inconsequential stuff ( like why wasn’t he smiling in that picture of him on vacation), I end the conversation.

        • Patrick says:

          Agree. Has Obama been a great President? No. But the right wing refuses to acknowledge the good things he has done, and overemphasizes his failures, even tiny inconsequential failures, which are really more like “failures” than FAILURES. Its ridiculous.

      • enfocusauctions says:

        They may not like it but apparently going on late night shows is how you get elected these days.

    • Luke says:

      What fantasy world are you in, Rachel? Obama was on SNL in a cameo – as any wise person running for president has done. All the foolish sketches Trump was in made him look ridiculous, and certainly un presidential. As expected.

    • Jake says:

      Dream on! Trump doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell. All he wants is the title and the power that comes with it. He’s an egocentric idiot!

  6. peterwdawson says:

    Politics is easy, comedy is hard.

  7. Miguel Hererra says:

    He was funnier than Amy Schumer but Larry David should have hosted and just had Trump do a couple of cameos.

    Trump accomplished what he needed to, he basically let himself be lambasted(lightly) for all of the accusations the lefturds could make about him while minimizing their impact and proving he’s a good sport and forcing us to chalk up his more “unpresidential” side as inconsequential idiosyncrasies.

    A run of the mill SNL espisode but a brilliant stroke self-promotion and deflection of criticism from opponents.

    • Zoe says:

      Did you just use the word “lefturd” unironically? And what accusations? Oh, you mean the racism and sexism? That’s not an accusation. That’s fact.

  8. Christy says:

    I didn’t watch it, but I don’t know anyone who could sit through the whole thing. I’m amazed you made it, Mr Slezak, even though it’s your job!

    I don’t really know what the purpose of him hosting was supposed to be but whatever it was, now I’ve gone from no mentions of him in my social media to tons of “wow, that was awful” posts and articles about the protests outside the studio. I liked the quiet better.

  9. Excuse my language but Trump is an ass hole. People hate the Democratic so much that they would vote for this silly stupid man. I am a republican and I am ashamed at the republicans who keep him on top.He is an entertainer and a bad one. Did you see SNL?

    • Mary says:

      That is why I register Independent.Sadly, throughout the years I have learned not to trust what candidates pledge.I do not vote for the ” best ” candidate. I vote for the one I think is going to screw up the least.I vote for damage control.I can only imagine how a true Republican feels about a candidate who constantly boasts about his financial status and has yet to state a definitive plan for any of the nation’s ailments.

    • jekyllisland says:

      Wow an an entertainer who created jobs, runs companies and pays taxes. Let me guess all attributes you find disgusting.

      People like you forget that the country is a business and if you don’t care of business then business will take care of you…or do you prefer the high unemployment, low wages and conflict in the world?

    • Angela says:

      I honestly feel bad for the Republicans out there who want their party to be taken seriously, and who want to keep things rational and mature. It’s got to be beyond frustrating to see a clown like him getting the spotlight.

  10. Linda Jameson says:

    He did a good job but the writers didn’t give him much to work with. It was at least better than Hillary’s appearance.

  11. Linda Lancaster-Cox says:

    Great

  12. mike says:

    The Old Two Faced Liberal MOONBAT Hypocrites Hated It…Say It Ain’t So!!!!

    • Simon Jester says:

      Wanting something to actually be *funny* is neither a Republican nor Democratic stance, merely a human one.

    • maggie says:

      All people, no matter what their political leaning, expect a comedy show to be funny. When it’s not funny, they will voice their displeasure. Trump isn’t the first SNL host to be labeled unfunny, nor is this the first SNL episode where people complained about the writing. The fact that Trump is running for President is going to get more people to notice that he was not funny than someone like January Jones. If you think people are being tough on Trump, you must not have read what they wrote about Jones when she hosted.

  13. Seth Freeman says:

    I think his own improv during the debates and speeches is much more entertaining than SNL tonight. I would have liked to hear his comments on Sia and her costume!

    • Anthony says:

      That’s what losers say…..

      Winners concentrate on winning and losers ( you) focus on the winners. Hence why you will never achieve 1/10,000,000,000 of his success. Keep on hating, it’s just fueling his campaign :)

      • You must be a special kind of imbecile to venerate a bigot.

      • maggie says:

        If, as you claim, calling someone a loser is “what losers say,” then Trump must be the biggest loser of all time because he constantly calls people losers.

        Most of us won’t achieve Donald Trump’s “success” because most of us aren’t born into wealthy families that give us a million to start a project, and daddy uses all of his political connections and industry clout to make sure the project is successful. Most of us don’t have daddy take us into his successful business, then leave that business to us when he passes. Most of us don’t have a daddy who leaves us such a big fortune that financial analysts say Trump would actually be worth MORE now if he simply left his inheritance in an index fund, and didn’t do any “deals” with it. He would be worth $13 Billion, to be exact. His “deals” have actually cost him money.

  14. Ro Ma says:

    Please note that the skits were written not by Trump but by the dozens of 20-somethings who do this work for Saturday Night Live. I thought several of the Trump skits were quite stupid or dull, almost as if they were intended to make Trump look bad or boring.

    • Susannah says:

      That’s a theory I read, where they “under wrote” for him as a form of protest to make Trump look bad but I don’t buy that, when has a politician ever looked good on SNL? It’s usually a struggle when they have non-actors on the show but he did seem especially awkward!

    • Peg says:

      Trump hand picked every sketch. You can’t blame the writers when they gave him dozens of skits to choose from and he vetoed anything that might offend voters in Iowa. He thought the sketches he did were funny.

    • Why provide a bigot with their best efforts? If he was as great as he believes himself to be, he would have been able to make the episode better by sole virtue of who he is.

    • maggie says:

      Trump has said that he got final edit on the sketches, vetoing anything he felt was offensive or unfunny. They did the sketches that he wanted, as he wanted them to be done. At least that’s what Trump claimed before the show was aired. I wonder if he’ll change his story now?

  15. Tangela says:

    It was boring Jed not funny @ all shame on U SNL

  16. Mary says:

    Their were no comedy highs .The skits , for the most part, we’re not funny.The show was written around Trump.What the powers that be thought was funny, was stupid.He just had to be an obnoxious blowhard.What a stretch.Look at what the writers had to work with.SNL cannot succumb to social pressure.However, in this case, they should have.

  17. Becky says:

    Michael why did you even bother. Not even one sketch in your review.

  18. Mark Pugner says:

    Last night was the very first time I actually made an effort to tune in to SNL. 47 years

  19. Hadn’t watched SNL for many years. The cast is terrible. Not funny at all. Trump, in my opinion, was set up with skits that did not enhance his image…stick to rallies, debates, personal interviews…

    • TJ says:

      This cast is pretty good when allowed to play to their strengths. It seems only Larry David was allowed to be funny. Trump said in an interview he killed any skit he thought would offend voters. It also seemed like he barely showed up to rehearse since he was on the campaign trail too. SNL was stuck in a bad spot. They shouldn’t have asked him in the first place but once he said yes, they couldn’t get out of it.

    • Mary says:

      Candidates should not be given skits that enhance their image. They should be making fun of themselves and everyone else.It seems he was treated with kid gloves.I agree with your last sentence.Stick to where he actually has an entertainment factor. Off the cuff rallies, debates and interviews.

  20. Jack Adans says:

    Get real, (hate mongers). It’s a show! The protesters are expressing no less prejudice than DT, just a different direction. I’m thinking that DT isn’t as much prejudice as he is uninformed. I’ll guote a person close to me when she said “You don’t hate the person, you hate what they do.” Hate is destructive to the person who hates…. A different opinion needs open minded discussion. We may make a friend. ……

    • Mary says:

      I don’t think the protesters were expressing prejudice .I am Italian. If he made a derogatory remark in any fashion about Italians, I would not watch show.I would not protest because that only drives ratings up.They took to the streets in what was reported as a non violent manner.The show bombed in my opinion.However, if I was somone who decided to actively protest an insulting comment on my heritage, it does not mean I am prejudice.

  21. Peg says:

    You can’t blame the writers when Trump vetoed sketches he thought would offend Iowans and handpicked those sketches himself.

  22. Watch Leslie Jones’ bit on Update, skip everything else.

  23. Mike says:

    Trump was hirarious and showed he can joke about himself. He’s here to stay!

  24. enfocusauctions says:

    Haterz are out today

  25. VSO says:

    I laughed twice and the rest was nothing to marvel at.

  26. Paolo says:

    SNL has practically given up with this. I knew s— was bad when not even Taraji (Cookie, ‘Empire’) couldn’t make SNL funny, and this was just more of the same.

    NBC, Bring Kat Dennings to SNL to redeem yourselves for doing this s—.

  27. Simon says:

    I loathe Donald Trump but there were a few moments in this episode that I laughed out loud and none had anything to do with Trump. I loved Larry David, I loved the Bad Girls sketch, I loved how Beck Bennett was featured prominently throughout the ep. He was great great as that singing dad. I loved how Kyle Mooney was nowhere to be found. I wished Slezak would have given a proper review, and ignore Trump because that’s pretty much what I do.

  28. Sol says:

    Blame the writers as much as Trump. I am not a Trump fan, but when I read you misspelled rant, it seam you point the finger at Trump for the lack of comedy? Furthermore, you should attempt to be a bit more journalistically unbiased. I agree with 90% of your points but you are spewing clear dislike and bias.

    • The host matters. How good the show is when much of the cast and most of the writers are terrible hinges completely on what the host brings to the table. That’s why people love revisiting episodes with Alec Baldwin, Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken and not Steve Forbes, Paris Hilton and Michael Phelps. And please tell us all who you think doesn’t have any kind of bias when it comes to a Trump.

  29. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give the Trump episode of SNL an F. This is by far the worst Season 41 episode ever and blame it on Lorne Michaels and the entire crew for choosing Donald Trump as the host even though his first outing back in 2004 was good but his return was downright horrible. BEST: Bad Girls featuring the women of SNL (still my favorite part about the show). WORST: the rest except Weekend Update with Jost and Che. Really hope next week’s episode with Elizabeth Banks should do much better.

  30. Rob says:

    Trump stinks but more important the is tired boring not funny let it die please

  31. iHeart says:

    I knew I was right to go to bed after the Buck Henry/The Band SNL repeat, therefore I didn’t miss much

  32. Harry says:

    Its exposure stupid. News Media has an I. Q. of a pet rock.
    😎

  33. Anthony says:

    It’s clear as day, that those who said he failed were and are not fond of him….. And that’s okay. The real problem is SNLs crew, and people who wrote the skits…. Anybody who has been watching SNL since mid 2000’s can say it has been slowly going down the drain. Trump didn’t perform as well as people would think, yet he only had so much control of the actors and the skits…..

    • Mary says:

      I wrote previously this was dead and buried sooo, final respects. He was not funny and the show was not funny. The man is running for president and I will continue to listen to ALL candidates. I am not a fan of his .I do not like when he makes fun of people’s physical appearance. That aside, he will get equal consideration on issues that matter. Not ” how well he performed on SNL”.

  34. Babybop728 says:

    The more hate given to Trump, the smaller chance there is of him leaving the race. He’s not stupid enough to think this would make people love him, he obviously just wanted people to talk about him more. And reading these comments, mission accomplished for him. Wouldn’t be surprised if his poll number rise again.
    The episode wasn’t horrible, IMO. Not great, but I haven’t truly enjoyed any episode this season even when I actually like the host.

  35. A Fan of TV says:

    As far as politicians dancing to Hotline Bling is concerned, Canada’s Thomas Mulcair did it first, and better (inspired by the Trevor Noah Canadian Election bit on The Daily Show, no doubt). This would be the second skit in six months that SNL noticeably ripped off This Hour Has 22 Minutes. I know Lorne is Canadian and Canadians are hilarious and all that, but it speaks to the level to which SNL writers don’t feel like trying, when all their Trump jokes are obvious, and already overdone.

  36. DarkDefender says:

    I’d also like to say a big Thanks to Michael Slezak for taking the hit for the team and watching this weeks show. I will delete it off my DVR accordingly without watching. Trump hosting sounded like a bad idea from the start, I half thought he might have paid them to let him appear. While it may have gotten good ratings, it sounds like this week’s show lacked in actual comedy.. Not something SNL should be striving for, amiright?

  37. Becky says:

    Shame on NBC for letting him host. I don’t mind seeing candidates on SNL (either party) for short appearances. But to let someone host is stacking the desk. And Trump is disgusting and an idiot when it comes to government and public policy. The only people who support are the same who would support a Kardasian, simply because they’ve seem them as a character on a reality show. Idiots all.

  38. Nancy Ehll says:

    I enjoyed Trump on SNL Saturday .It was Great & Very Entertaing. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Steve says:

    First time I’ve watched the show since the original cast broke up. It helped remind me why I don’t watch it anymore. Totally LAME. I watched for a while, then only listened for awhile, then I wasn’t even doing that. I can’t imagine why anyone still watches this show. Those two girls running their mouths off near the end was the WORST skit I’ve seen since TV was invented. Hard to believe. I LOVE TRUMP, but most of this show STUNK!!!

  40. AngelWasHere says:

    Yeah it was quite boring and unfunny. Missed the first hour by accident, so I probably missed the one highlight of the show. I did chuckle at the Drake skit with his horrible dancing, but I barely chuckled. It was a HUGE disappointment. What a loser! lol

  41. Spence says:

    Bernie 2016!!

  42. WMusic says:

    larry david was the only great part, and leslie jones and “drunk uncle” were decent on weekend update. that’s about it. the “lazer sketch” was i think the worst thing i’ve seen snl do in a while.

  43. Lucifer says:

    So much butthurt in the comments and article. What’s funny is that everyone who really hates Trump, like wishes he died-hate, have been saying “SNL isn’t funny anymore anyways” since he was announced as a host. So it’s no surprise the same people are now saying the show isn’t funny. But the most hilarious thing is saying the show took a dive in quality. You have to actually have quality and standards in order to lose it. Then they’ll have some hack comedian on like Amy Schumer and she’ll have an entire sketch where she queefs and you’ll all call it “outstanding comedy genius!” I don’t want Trump as president as much as the next person, but this pathetic whining over him is extremely pathetic.

  44. Dawn Brewer says:

    Left or right of the political spectrum Trump just sucked as usual. He shouldn’t quit his day job and SNL needs to go back to the recipe that kept it relevant for many of it’s early years. I know, I know, ratings are good business which keep the dollars rolling in. However loyalty breeds consistency and this episode with all its ratings which let’s be honest didn’t represent a positive refection on SNL doesn’t garner mine.

  45. Norma Tucker says:

    I don’t watch garbage ! Sorry Donald Trump is trash!

  46. Z says:

    great episode really enjoyed it, a lot of prejudice libs here not unexpected and why would people empathize with criminals? illegals are criminals. If you had a better house in a better neighborhood than I do and I decided to break into your house and move into your spare bedroom I wouldn’t be allowed to stay I would end up in jail, illegals are doing the same thing on a grander scale, they aren’t immigrants and they don’t love our country, real immigrants obey the law and follow the rules they don’t sneak in, they are the real immigrants, they deserve to be here and they are welcomed with open arms, sneak thieves are not

  47. rek says:

    IF Donald Trump does becomes the next President of the United States all that he proposes to do regarding illegal immigrants and taxes will never happen. If Hillary is voted in, neither will her promises come to be. Take all of the past Presidents that you can remember…..none kept their campaign promises to the people…..remember CHANGE……well, there you go.

    It is not up to an individual who holds the office of President to change things and always get his way, right or wrong. That one individual simply does not have that kind of power….otherwise we’d have a dictator. All judicial, legislative and executive decisions have to go through the proper channels….so it really doesn’t matter incredibly who takes that seat.

  48. Eric says:

    I’m late to the game… Larry David and Martin Short were the best parts.