On Saturday night, Donald Trump hosted SNL. And while he only racked up about 12 minutes of screentime, he managed to create one of the strangest, softest, and least funny shows in recent memory. Now, before we go any further, let’s clear something up: Trump is not a funny guy, nor was he trying to be. Trump’s goal of the night was to get people talking and jump back into the spotlight. SNL recorded its highest ratings in four years and had people protesting outside 30 Rock the entire show. So in that sense, you could say the episode was a success. In every other sense, this show was a train wreck. It appears as if the writers were afraid to take any risks with Trump, instead opting for a bunch of weird, breaking the 4th wall sorts of sketches that pretty much all fell flat. The funniest part of the show was when you remembered that this guy is legitimately running for president. Needless to say, Trump did not #MakeSNLGreatAgain. Here’s a look at the five least terrible sketches.
I said it before but I’ll say it again: Lorne Michaels needs to pay Larry David whatever amount he so desires to keep playing Bernie. SNL needs some sort of hook that keeps people tuned in throughout the election season. All summer long, people thought Trump was gonna be that guy; he certainly offered enough writing material for the writers. But alas, while Taran Killam’s Trump has been good, it hasn’t been Sarah Palin good, it hasn’t been George Bush good. This fact was brought to light pretty clearly in the monologue when Killam stood next to Darrell Hammond’s iconic Trump impression. Right now, Larry David is perfect as Bernie Sanders, and is gives SNL that umph they need to be relevant this election season.
Trump started off his hosting stint with the most predictable monologue ever, making fun of himself and proving that deep down he’s a really nice guy. Darrell Hammond and Taran Killam’s Trumps came out to strut their stuff, but the real reason this sketch made the highlights was Larry David (notice a pattern?) calling Trump racist from the sidelines. In case you didn’t hear, the Latino population wasn’t too big on Trump hosting because of Trump’s whole “deport everyone” campaign. A Hispanic advocacy committee went as far as to offer money to anyone who called Trump racist during the show. Larry’s cameo not only earned him a cool $5,000, but also helped SNL steer head first into a controversy and avoid any future issues going forward.
After a shaky Update, Drunk Uncle comes in deliver a stellar performance, supporting his boy, Donald Trump. I’m sure this character is pretty much automatic for Moynihan at this point but it should still be recognized how perfect he plays his role. All his twitches and micro expressions are really fantastic and take Drunk Uncle to the next level. Also, how about Jost scolding the audience after the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner joke? It’s that kind of PC policing that makes me think that we could use a president who could put a little toughness back into this country. #MakeAmericaGrapesAgain
After a couple Trump sketches that were straight terrible, the show offered a brief sign of life with the ladies of SNL dropping another fire flames music video. While this wasn’t quite on the same level as “Back Home Ballers” or “Twin Bed,” it was a good beat and threw in a few solid jokes. In reality, it was just a nice break from the Trumpapalooza. Appreciated when it came, but easily forgotten,
By now, everyone’s seen the millions of Vines mocking Drake’s sweet dance moves. However, this didn’t stop SNL from throwing their hat into the parody ring, backed by Jay Pharaoh’s spot on Drake impression. This was the one sketch where Trump was actually pretty funny, singing and dancing in his little Drake cube. Also we got a surprise visit from Marty Short and his signature character Ed Grimley, which was a treat.
A Few More Thoughts
Here’s a fun fact: In the cold opening, our boy Larry David ended the sketch saying, “Live from New York…ahh you get it” It was the first time someone passed on saying “It’s Saturday Night!” since Eddie Murphy in the 80s. Is that fun or what?
One thing that struck me during the show was how old the show feels. I know the SNL viewership mainly consists of older people so maybe that’s what the writers are going for but even when they try to make more current pop culture jokes they just feel out of place. Like a parent saying yolo. It’s just weird to think about considering how the show began as the counter-cultural voice of their generation.
Tune in next Saturday when the lovely Elizabeth Banks hosts with musical guest Disclosure!