What It Was Like When Donald Trump Hosted SNL, According To Taran Killam

Taran killam donald trump snl

As a legendary institution of comedy, Saturday Night Live has seen its fair share of controversial hosts over the years, and one of the most infamously contentious hosting stints in recent memory came when Donald Trump appeared on the show during the early stages of his presidential campaign. The episode was a major talking point in November 2015, and now it seems at least one member of the cast didn't enjoy the process. Former Saturday Night Live performer Taran Killam explained why it wasn't a great time:

He was... everything you see. What you see is what you get with him, really. I mean, there was no big reveal. He struggled to read at the table read, which did not give many of us great confidence. Didn't get the jokes, really. He's just a man who seems to be powered by bluster.

Taran Killam recently sat down for an interview with Brooklyn Magazine, and the conversation inevitably turned to President Trump's time hosting Saturday Night Live. Despite all of the controversy, fanfare, and general excitement surrounding the episode, Killam's comments seem to echo what many of us thought once the episode aired: it wasn't all that interesting. There were a few standout moments (such as Trump dancing to "Hotline Bling"), but the then-candidate didn't even appear in many of the episode's sketches, and the cast didn't have much confidence in his ability to perform the pre-written material. Killam's frustration ultimately sounds motivated less by the anger of controversial politics, and more by Trump not being able to keep up with everyone else. Understandable for a non-career performer.

That lack of confidence seems to have translated into an overall negative experience for everyone involved, at least if the actor is to be believed. Taran Killam continued his explanation and admitted that the whole affair felt more like a publicity stunt than a legitimate artistic endeavor. He said:

It was not fun, and most of the cast and writers were not excited to have him there. I didn't get the feeling that he was excited to be there, and it felt like a move for ratings from both sides.

It's worth mentioning again that Taran Killam doesn't necessarily speak for everyone involved in the production of the episode. The comedian made it clear that he wasn't into sharing the stage with Trump from the moment he appeared during the future president's monologue, even mocking the billionaire behind his back -- remember, this was before Alec Baldwin debuted his spot-on impression and won pop culture. Killam has much more freedom to express his personal views now that he's not a member of the Saturday Night Live cast anymore, and that freedom has apparently translated into some fairly candid moments of brutal honesty.

Despite the fact that Taran Killam didn't enjoy working with Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, one thing is abundantly clear: that episode will go down as a historical document now that the former reality show star is president. He may have his frustrations with SNL nowadays, but we will always be able to look back at the time when he appeared on the series and laugh about it. To see what other shows you can laugh at in the future, check out our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.