SNL's Alec Baldwin Says NBC Execs 'Kill' Political Endorsement on the Sketch Series — But Should They?

NBC’s Saturday Night Live is an equal-opportunity political mocker — even if it doesn’t always want to be.

That’s the upshot of a heated conversation Monday on Twitter that involved Alec Baldwin — a frequent host and longtime friend of SNL, as well as its current Donald Trump impressionist — tweeting that network executives “kill” any attempt on the show’s part to sway voters.

Baldwin was responding to Time television critic Daniel D’Addario, who on Sunday criticized the late night, sketch-comedy series for lacking “courage or decisiveness” throughout the contentious presidential election cycle. D’Addario’s comments were sparked by Saturday’s episode, the cold open of which featured Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton accompanying herself on piano as she sang “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, who’d passed away the day before.

At the end of the song, McKinnon turned to address the camera (and audience) directly: “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”

TVLine hears that SNL, which has been nonpartisan since its 1975 premiere, continues to be so.

All of  this has us wondering: Should the pop- and political-culture-skewering comedy take a stand on political candidates and/or issues? Weigh in via the poll below, then hit the comments to expand upon your thoughts!

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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80 Comments
  1. SNL is an entertainment show and that is why people tune in.

    • Shlan says:

      “TVLine hears that SNL, which has been nonpartisan since its 1975 premiere, continues to be so.”
      They hear it? How can hear that something is a certain way based on opinion? LMAO I voted for Hillary, but if TVline thinks SNL wasnt totally promoting HRC, they weren’t watching, but then again TVline wasn’t totally bipartisan either.

    • Belle says:

      If they become biased one way or the other it will kill the show 100%! We continue to watch because it has always been an equal opportunity show that proudly bashes anyone and all world events become fodder to lighten our lives each week…PLEASE don’t ever change !!!!

  2. Haz says:

    Also if anyone reads The Hollywood Reporters article regarding conservatives in Hollywood they do make a pretty good argument about how HRCs celebrity support probably hurt her more than helped. It’s everyone’s right to have their opinion but the way Hollywood came out for her turned many off and if SNL went down this route I believe it would do the same thing.

    • Phil says:

      Right because HTC only won the popular vote so SAL hurt her!

      • E. D. Boddy says:

        No one campaigned to win the “popular vote.” And Hillary got less than 50%, so she didn’t “win” it.

        • lilkunta says:

          @E. D. Boddy less than 50% of what?
          Of the 231million eligible voters 134million voted.
          HRC earned more of the popular vote.
          HRC earned 61,329,657 to Trump’s 60,530,867 vote.
          HRC won a plurality of the popular vote with 47.9% to Trump’s 47.2%,

          The electoral college is rooted in slavery and needs to be abolished.

    • Kelly says:

      That is ridiculous. How on earth can it hurt her to have a celebrity endorse her? Maybe someone infamous, but not famous.

      • Preacher Book says:

        What’s theorized is the working class people resented the elite supporting an “establishment” candidate. Apparently there is deep resentment for professionalism education and accomplishment, though not being rich. Somehow those are seen as separate.

        • peterwdawson says:

          Having money doesn’t inherently make a person seem unrelatable. You’ think so, but apparently ‘telling it like it is’ (IE basically going unscripted) while visiting as many places as possible (probably a big thing to take away here) makes one relatable.

          • lilkunta says:

            @peterdwdawson
            So Trump’s bigotry, prjudice, sexism is relatable? WTF? HRC wasnt born into $, she has it NOW bc she worked hard. She went to college and then law school and has truly worked her entire life.

            Trump is for small government and low taxes so the heartland farming voters can kiss their farm subsidies goodbye!

            Michigan, HE WILL NOT bring factories back to the USA. NAFTA lives.

            Also, HRC definitely did visit many many places.

          • peterwdawson says:

            Yeah, that right there is kinda the issue. I mention Trump is relatable and you’re jumping straight to the bigotry. You’re not wrong (I sure as hell wouldn’t have voted for him were I American), but unfortunately people were stuck with a person whom they felt lost touch with her working roots and would have most likely continued several policies they felt weren’t helping them enough versus a guy they felt despite probably never having had to apply for a job before President of the United States still somehow was in touch with roots he probably never had, and would actually give them the change they wanted to be supported. I’m not saying they weren’t, perhaps, duped, but sadly while many, many people frowned upon the bigotry (and rightfully so) they wanted a change. Obviously we’ll see how much of a change for the better we really get given the staff appointments and such, so feel free to have your skepticism card ready, you’ll probably need to hold it up a lot…

            Hillary did visit a lot of places, she sadly didn’t visit the right places. Wisconsin and Michigan are two often cited.

      • Ben says:

        Because it only adds to the perception of media bias that already existed.

        Absolutely, media endorsing candidates pushes people away.

      • Eion says:

        Regular people cannot relate to celebrities. THATS how.

    • frankblank1 says:

      Stupid article. What hurt Clinton was that she did not spend enough time in the midwest and republickkkan hatchet Comey.

      • luke says:

        Exactly… You hear guys on the radio shows complain how Hillary in her speeches and rallies would only mention minorities and not “whites”… I’m quoting the guy…

        • dave watts says:

          I for one could care less what SNL or any other show supports. Plus I work on many Sundays and would rather sleep than watch a poorly written comedy show that is 20 yrs past it’s prime.

  3. Kevin says:

    With Taran Killam’s departure on SNL, who should take over the role of Donald Trump?

  4. Raul J says:

    It really doesn’t take a genius to see which side SNL is on. Having said that, to actually endorse a candidate would be truly a step in the wrong direction, and off putting to at least half the audience.

  5. Lysh says:

    I pushed “maybe?” but on second thought, I guess not. SNL should be for everyone. I think their push for Clinton was clear though. I can’t imagine coming to a decision based on an endorsement from anyone.

  6. Kami says:

    I don’t need people to tell me who to vote for. And neither should anyone else. I also don’t watch shows for political commentary unless that is part of the show’s purpose.

    • Jimmy says:

      I think the only people who gets swayed by celebrities and partisan articles are the college students. I could give a crap what a lot of celebrities think. It’s great that they voice their opinions but don’t try to impose your opinions on anyone else.

  7. Chuck says:

    What was the problem with the cold open this week? The elections are over so it’s hardly endorsing anyone. SNL really crossed the line when they allowed Trump to host an entire episode, after he’d been “banned” at NBC. Hillary and Bernie got token cameos. This should have been an issue last year during the campaign. (And Jimmy Fallon treating Trump like some goofy grandpa didn’t help.)

  8. Lizzy says:

    The show can have a political point of view AND still satirize both candidates. Jon Stewart and his many many cast member spinoffs do it all the time.

  9. xyz says:

    It is bad business. Drives people way without the added benefit of gaining new people.

  10. Phil says:

    Are we having this conversation without acknowledging that SNL writers already share their slant in the content of the show – in how they handle Hillary, Obama, Trump, Bush, etc.? Republican characters are routinely vilified while Democrat characters are glorified. At every turn. Every political sketch, every episode.
    Alec is right – NBC has no need to “kill” anything because it’s already extremely apparent. I would love the SNL writers to really try writing something from an alternate political perspective, and without the assumption that their perspective (and only their perspective) is right and the other side is wrong.

    • That’s really not true. Obama is something of an exception, I guess, maybe since he’s so austere. But I grew up in the 90s, and they lambasted Bill Clinton every which way. If you saw the Family Feud sketch a few weeks back, Darrell Hammond’s Clinton was every bit as raunchy and skeezy back in the 90s as he was in that recent episode.

    • c-mo says:

      How dare you ask writers to actually be creative! And here I thought pot was supposed to make you more creative…guess not.

  11. Charles Rike says:

    I want mr Baldwin as trump for 8 more years.

  12. Kelly says:

    I chose maybe because, while I think there would be plenty of laughs, the person they do not choose would in turn cause problems for the viewers that want that candidate to win. It’s all about money. If they don’t choose, they can “pick on” everyone and not worry about losing viewers.

  13. Arlene says:

    SNL is liberal and that’s how we viewers like it!

  14. TTexas says:

    What are talking about?…….SNL endorsed Hillary the whole year !

  15. K. T. says:

    SNL has always expressed political views, as politics plays a huge role in our society. Why, all of a sudden, should the show be prohibited from presenting relevant commentary as part of its content? At least, with SNL, viewers are encouraged to laugh while they absorb the writers’ opinions. I can assure you, the biased trickery of the mainstream liberal media during this latest debacle of so-called “fair coverage” during this election season has been no laughing matter.

  16. CThompson says:

    As a general rule, I would say no, but when the stakes are so high, just maybe… Kate McKinnon’s cold open on SNL was so classy and expressed the general mood of perhaps half the country. My thumb’s up!

  17. Iris Clacks says:

    Baldwin just showed just how Trump looked throughout the whole campaign and it was funny to watch because that’s how he acted .You guys have pope fun of a lot of people because he is the President he’s no different when you put yourself out there that’s what happens laugh Mr.President learn and do better it was funny when he himself was pope in fun of people you all need to stop .Do what’s been working for you guys all these years . The President has enough on his plate he has set a new standard so deal with it .

  18. George says:

    No. A show like Saturday Night Live is supposed to be a funny distraction from real life. It should not be real life.

  19. LizJ says:

    I don’t think SNL endorsed anyone, but it has always been clear where the writers and actors have leaned. I don’t really care, even when I disagree with them, as long as the writing is funny and insightful (such as the Clinton “Victory Party” skit.

    I was not a fan of this week’s cold open because the lyrics to the song are rather ironic.

    I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you

    Oh, come on…the whole purpose of the private email server setup was to circumvent the law and State Department rules, and to make sure that the truth didn’t get out if she didn’t want it to. As the BBC noted, “With her email setup, she became the sole arbiter of what should and shouldn’t be provided to the government, made public via freedom of information requests or turned over to interested parties, such as the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.”

  20. No SNL should most definitely not endorse political candidates. People don’t tune into a show like SNL for political opinions or commentary. They tune into SNL to laugh. SNL should mock all political candidates equally.

  21. oldhoodoo says:

    Are SNL viewers so stupid that they need to be told who to vote for? Comedy is art form and when you turn an art form into a political ad you SELL OUT. Does SNL want to be a super pac? There is much more integrity in being the court jester than being a kingmaker. Keep all of ’em humble by making fun of all of them! Besides, just because you have the talent for comedic timing and slapstick doesn’t mean you are wise, there a gobs of talented people out there that don’t have the common sense of a wooden post. Do what you do well.

  22. syvyn11 says:

    They shouldn’t, but we knew who they were supporting.

  23. Michael Summerset says:

    If they were allowed to make political statements then it would quickly become a liberal soapbox. And because SNL is so closely tied to NBC, it would also reflect on the network.

  24. Tom Bates says:

    Baldwin makes the classic mistake of leftists. The news will always be leftist so let censor it by putting out a slanted story line. He really should go have a course in history to see what happens when the news and stories become PC. You do not have to go very far back to see what endorsement actually means. An example would be the japanese american bashing of WWII and the camps which resulted from that endorsement.

  25. Tom Bates says:

    Baldwin makes the classic mistake of all leftists and for that matter rightest. Their idea of the moment will last forever. The story should be neutral, you can make fun but never push the PC line. So should the news. When you start slanting the current PC might not be the one you like. As example was the news and stories bashing japanese americans in WWII which resulted in the camps but only for people living on the west coast. Lefties rule Hollywood today but they might not tomorrow.

  26. Troy says:

    Some of SNL’s best skits come about BECAUSE they are non-partisan and therefore are able to find the humor in any situation, no matter the political party. Who doesn’t remember the C-SPAN sketch about the economic crisis in 2008 (George Soros: Billionaire Investor, Owner: Democratic Party). Or how about the hilarious Executive Order sketch with Keenan as a Bill repeatedly being tossed down the capitol steps by President Obama?

    SNL’s political bias is apparent enough as it is without them openly taking sides. Things should continue as they are: with an SNL that transparently favors liberal politics without crossing over completely into “The Daily Show” territory of being just shy of an official mouth piece of the Democratic party. If that’s what you want, there are plenty of options out there for your progressive viewing pleasure. Let SNL stride the line just enough to remain watchable for people of all political persuasions.

  27. Wasn’t it fairly obvious who they endorsed?

  28. Andreas says:

    By doing a pointed parody of the candidates and their demeanors/positions the show smartly allows people to laugh and draw conclusions about the candidates instead of telling them what to think.

  29. Babygate says:

    Is this supposed to be a serious commentary? How can anyone who watches SNL pretend the show is non partisan? Back in the day Chevy Chase actually bragged about destroying Ford’s chance of getting re-elected by playing him as a clumsy, clueless fool. And what about Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin that pretty much guaranteed that no One would take her seriously? I mean, SNL can be funny but lets not pretend that they are not heavily political and heavily partisan.

  30. MARK WOLF says:

    ARE YOU DRUNK? OR HIGH? SNL DEFINITELY ENDORSES CANDIDATES (cough) liberals (cough) ALEC IS FRONTING LIKE A MFer

  31. dman6015 says:

    What, because they didn’t actually say the words, “Vote for Hillary” that it wasn’t overwhelmingly clear that they wanted her as president? How naive.

  32. BrianR says:

    Its bad enough as it is with the blatant liberal bias, But they do mock both sides eventually.

  33. parstl says:

    Dana Carey made a career lampooning George H.W. Bush and Will Ferrell George W. I think that’s the kind of political portrayals the show should stick to with an occasional zinger if a politician really does or says something stupid.

  34. Mary says:

    As long as they mock both sides

  35. Belle says:

    If they become biased one way or the other it will kill the show 100%! We continue to watch because it has always been an equal opportunity show that proudly bashes anyone and all world events become fodder to lighten our lives each week…PLEASE don’t ever change !!!!

  36. Chris says:

    I think tv shows can endorse whomever they want, most already do implicitly, if not explicitly. Their executives just need to userstand that they are alienating half of their potential viewing audience by doing so. So, they are potentially throwing away a LOT of their revenue and ratings.

  37. Noah says:

    “TVLine hears that SNL, which has been nonpartisan since its 1975 premiere, continues to be so.”

    ^ What in the h@#% does this mean???

  38. Rita says:

    I felt that SNL was promoting Hillary for president, so I am not sure the opinion of the writer doesn’t come out in their sketches. Or maybe I felt that way because the last two or three sketches I watched were directly stating that Trump was handing Hillary the election. That may have not been the fault of any of the writing staff, but that of the media misinterpretation of what the general population actually thought, and how the entertainment industry and what we call media in this country is so far removed from rural America. I do think that SNL should make fun of everyone regardless of political affiliation. I did not vote for Trump and enjoyed their take on him and Hillary.

  39. Bill Wilson says:

    If there was EVER any doubt that SNL skews left, this past Saturday’s open dispelled it. Hillary playing “Hallelujah” on the piano? Give me a break! I don’t care HOW depressed that staff was on the election results. They’re paid to bring the funny! Kate McKinnon is very talented. She and Baldwin should have been given some material instead of the hand wringing.

  40. stormsurger says:

    During the primaries they were shilling for Bernie. The day after Hillary won the nom it became the “let’s make vile and nasty trump remarks and funny little swipes at Hillary”. Not very transparent. I don’t care. I understand they’re all poor, misguided souls.sometimes it’s just mean, not funny. As long as it’s funny I’m cool with it.