Success on Saturday Night Live is never a sure thing for a host, and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump was already causing stirs before he even took to the stage as host of the long-running sketch series on November 7. His episode was as highly anticipated among some as it was thoroughly condemned by others. According to current SNL cast member and co-anchor of “Weekend Update” Michael Che, that was exactly the problem when it came to Trump’s reception among audiences.
In an interview with NPR, Michael Che had this to say about Trump’s time in the SNL spotlight:
It’s always hard in comedy to write for people who’ve made up their mind. I thought the audience pretty much had their minds made up on their opinion of [Trump], so they’re always looking at everything like, ‘Is this a trap? Is this joke going to be a trap? Is this joke going to make me like him a lot more, or is it going to make me like him a lot less?’ I thought they were kind of overthinking a lot of the things we were saying, so that’s where the tension [came from].
Che certainly isn’t wrong that a lot of folks already have their minds made up about Donald Trump. He’s one of the most visible and controversial presidential candidate from both sides of the political aisle, and his unapologetic demeanor about bold policy ideas have made some uncomfortable. Donald Trump has a big personality, and big personalities have a tendency to be divisive.
Of course, Trump might not have brought the most laughs of any SNL host, but he did bring some pretty great ratings. The big personality that has made him so visible over the past few months was enough to provoke everything from excitement to morbid curiosity about his appearance on Saturday Night Live. His episode on November 7 drew the highest ratings for the show since 2012.
The November 7 hosting gig was actually his second, but Trump is a public figure that is practically designed for SNL lampooning. Long-time cast member Darrell Hammond had a killer Trump impression in past seasons, and current cast member Taran Killam has taken on the role for Season 41. Considering that Trump has his sights firmly set on the White House, and presidential campaign season is only just beginning to get into swing, Killam can probably count on some serious job security as a fake Trump for the foreseeable future.
While fake Trumps on SNL have always been hilarious, the lukewarm response to the real Trump’s episode may mean that the man himself won’t be taking on the hosting duties again anytime soon. Fortunately, however, Michael Che’s statement that many minds are too made up about Trump to freely laugh with him clearly don’t extend to laughing at a fake Trump.
Saturday Night Live airs on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.