“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!