Saturday Night Live rolled out a new Donald Trump impression last night. New cast member James Austin Johnson took over for mainstay Alec Baldwin, who has wanted to leave the role for awhile, and took his version in a very different direction. Rather than Baldwin’s hard-breathing, over-the-top caricature, Johnson gave us a much more realistic version of the former President with a voice that was almost scary in how accurate it was at times. The immediate response on Twitter was extremely positive with some even praising the impression as being the best in the show’s history.
If you haven’t seen the impression yet, it is absolutely worth your time. It came during SNL’s cold opening last night. The setup was a Judge Jeanine segment that started with Aaron Rodgers, who was played by Pete Davidson. It later moved on to include impressions of newly elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a random concerned parent who wants to ban classic books and of course, Donald Trump. You can check out the sketch below…
It’s a bit disconcerting to see anyone other than Alec Baldwin as the former President, but once you get over the initial shock, it’s hard not to be impressed with how much Johnson nailed this. His vocal inflections are perfect, and the way he transitions from one topic to another is quite good too. I went from being skeptical to really pleased within thirty seconds or so, and it seems like most fans who watched the show felt the same way. Here’s a pretty standard tweet…
Who is the new #SNL Trump? Best ever. 👏👏👏November 7, 2021
A lot of this has to do with what you’re looking for in an impression. We’ll see how this take evolves over the next few segments, but it’s very important to note James Austin Johnson is clearly not trying to do Alec Baldwin doing Donald Trump. His version leans more toward accuracy and is less of a caricature. In some ways, it feels less mean-spiritied, but I think it’s important to note that it still seems less happy-go-lucky than Darrell Hammond’s take in the mid-90s and early 00s which, in my opinion, played up the a goofiness a bit more. All three are really quite strong in their ways; so, it makes sense people would response to different ones.
There were plenty of other extremely positive comments rolling around social media with many noting they double-taked after hearing the voice because it was so scary accurate to what former President Trump actually sounds like. Here’s an example…
This guys Trump voice is so accurate it’s making me tense #SNLNovember 7, 2021
Exactly how often we’ll get Johnson’s take on the character is unknown. It’s still unclear what role in politics and popular culture Donald Trump might play moving forward, and it’s unclear how much Saturday Night Live will choose to talk about it. Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression was an almost weekly mainstay for years, but that was while he was holding public office or in the immediate aftermath. Still, everyone can rest easy knowing when Saturday Night Live needs a Donald Trump impression, they have a great one to offer, or as one Twitter user put it, a “mind-blowingly good” one…
The new SNL cast member doing Trump is mind-blowingly good.November 7, 2021
You can catch Saturday Night Live on Saturday evenings at 11:30 ET on NBC. Upcoming SNL hosts include Jonathan Majors and Shang-Chi star Simu Liu. You’ll have to tune in to see whether Johnson’s Trump will make an appearance on either of those episodes.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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