Over the last several weeks, Donald Trump has been vociferous about his dislike of NBC's Saturday Night Live and specifically the impression Alec Baldwin has cultivated of him. This morning, Trump popped in to NBC's morning program Today via a phoner and finally explained exactly why he has such an intense dislike for the late night sketch comedy series. Trump told Matt Lauer that he thinks SNL basically sucks now. Here's the direct quote:
Well, I hosted SNL when it was a good show, but it's not a good show anymore. First of all, nothing to do with me, there's nothing funny about it. The skits are terrible. I mean, I like Alec, but his imitation of me is really mean-spirited and not very good. I don't think it's good. And I do like him, I like him as an actor, but I don't think his imitation of me gets me at all. And it's meant to be very mean-spirited, which is very biased. I don't like it. So I can tweet that out.
What's interesting about this perspective is that Donald Trump is still willing to defend Saturday Night Live up to last season, when he actually hosted the show. SNL has dealt with a few casting changes since last season---namely Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah were reportedly fired after taking on other projects, but honestly, not much has changed on the series since Trump hosted. The gals are still dominating sketches. The "Weekend Update" hosts are the same and the people working on the series haven't changed all that much. That is, except for Alec Baldwin, who was only signed on at the start of this season to do a Donald Trump impression.
We know at this point that Alec Baldwin didn't initially even want the gig. His schedule was pretty busy and the impression as written has actually been pretty aggressively written---a note that Trump also touches on in his Today comments. Regardless, eventually Lorne Michaels convinced the actor and the rest has been history, even leading to higher ratings for the late night series.
Which is why Trump's other comment about Saturday Night Live may be a little more off the mark:
Frankly the way the show is going now, you look at the kind of work their doing, who knows how long that show will be on? It's a terrible show.
If there's one thing I know about Saturday Night Live it's that the show always ebbs and flows. It's been on the air for 42 seasons and some casts have gelled better than others. In addition, due to the nature of sketch comedy in general, some nights are always going to be funnier than others simply because the material and/or the host that week happens to be better. Even the bad episodes haven't kept SNL down, and as noted prior, ratings are still seeing an uptick. The show's probably not going anywhere, whether or not Donald Trump likes it.