Donald Trump returned to Saturday Night Live as host for the second time; this time as the GOP Presidential front runner with fanfare off the charts. As the entire political and entertainment world weigh in so too do the TV critics. Was this must-see television or not? See a review roundup and video highlights right here!
What a difference a decade plus a year makes! Back in 2004 when Donald Trump first hosted Saturday Night Live he was adding reality TV star a la ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ to his list of accomplishments. Truthfully a celebrity since the 1980s when the larger-than-life Trump brand first began to emerge, who would have imagined that it would all lead to a race for the White House. Yes, he’s hinted at it for years and years, and just when no one thought it would ever happen, voilà he’s the GOP frontrunner.
And, as he has proven with his appearances in all the GOP debates, a ratings juggernaut. NBC may not at the moment have him as the star of ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ but perhaps in just one night with ratings sure to be — in Trump’s own parlance — “Huge!” we already knew we were in for an historic night either in a good way or a bad way since, with politics in general and Trump in particular there’s no middle ground. Trump has already proven to be an immense disruptor of what had been, let’s face it, a rather dull election season with too many GOP candidates and too few Democratic candidates.
And with the monologue, we had not one but three Donald Trumps — with SNL’s Taran Killam and returning alum Darrell Hammond in identical suits and ties and hair doing their best impressions. And, yes, there was a heckler, and that was one Larry David of ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ who had just reprised his new role as Senator Bernie Sanders in the cold open.
Larry David, in the audience, stood up and called Trump a “racist” and, when asked why, he told Trump he was doing so because he’d heard he could get $5,000. And in an odd crossover of parody and reality, the political organization that had in real life offered that sum of money for heckling Tweeted that they would give David the “bounty” adding, ” Joke or not, it was true. Go Larry!”
And with that, we were off to a typical night of SNL hits and misses, and critics weighing in, quite vociferously, of course, since Donald Trump has also proven to be a polarizing figure, with everyone weighing in, pro and con, but, in mainstream media, of course, mostly con.
Here’s a roundup of what’s being said of Presidential candidate Donald Trump as SNL host.
“…. And make no mistake: As lifeless as Trump was for the majority of the show, the writers deserve every bit as much of the onus for entirely failing to work around Trump’s limitations or finding amusing things to do with the lump in the middle. Yes, there have been reports that Trump vetoed skits for being too “risqué,” but the problem with this episode wasn’t a failure to push boundaries, but rather a failure to craft skits with punchlines…..” — The Hollywood Reporter
“….Well, that was a snooze. Also strange. And a little bit sad. Otherwise, no fireworks, no hecklers, no sizzle, no razzle, no dazzle, no . . . laughs either, or not many. “Saturday Night Live” sure picked an unusual occasion to turn out a dud, although “SNL” fans and historians could have predicted as much: Politicians, even those suffused with the star wattage of Donald Trump, rarely make great hosts, and in some demonstrable instances, certifiably terrible ones….”– Newsday
“….Folks who wanted Trump to fail will go overboard saying how bad the show was — don’t listen to those people. I’m no Trump supporter by any stretch of the imagination, but this is an episode of the show that is slightly salvageable despite everything that went wrong……”– Fansided
“…. Trump was an attempt to bring in big ratings, and NBC probably received what it was looking for. It’s a shame that an episode that will likely be the highest-rated of the season was one that was so poorly written. Trump would have likely been more effective as a cameo rather than a host……”– Town Hall
“….Overall, this show to us was a disaster, perpetuated and started mostly seemingly by someone in Trump’s campaign office that thought this would be a way to get him to appeal him to younger voters. We don’t really care so much about the political party; we’re reviewing this based on comedy, and there was very little to be found here. ….”– Carter Matt
“…. From his performance, it seemed quite possible that the most confident man in American politics really was nervous about alienating his public; as it turned out, Saturday Night Live gave his supporters absolutely no reason to withhold support…..”– Time
“….To be sure, Trump made the most of his screen time. He had daughter Ivanka Trump join him in a sketch that looked at how he might conduct himself if he did win the Oval Office. He took an extended run at introducing a song by musical guest Sia, bantering with Kenan Thompson playing Toots Hibbert, the reggae musician who was the musical guest when Trump hosted in 2004. And he played a member of a bar band trying to get attention for playing “laser harp.” ….” — Variety
“….In the end, the episode was as inoffensive as the writers and Trump’s advisors could make it—without being funny. Whatever their political views, viewers looking for a good episode of SNL didn’t get one. Trump supporters can fob off their disappointment in the quality of the show on cast and writers, but only the most blinkered could deny that the candidate came off as stilted, bland, and unprepared in the very little screen time he was given…..” — The A.V. Club
“….The only entity that came off worse than Donald Trump was SNL. Turns out, this really was just a craven move for ratings. There was no attempt by Lorne Michaels and company to use Trump as a critique of himself, no moment that did not feel vetted by the candidate…..” — Yahoo
“….Because while there’s no true way to measure whether or not the gig brought Trump any new voters, from a comedic standpoint, the candidate’s 90-minute appearance was the equivalent of slapping, rather than kissing, a baby….. ” –TV Line
“….Nobody who watched Trump host the show in 2004, or who knows good comedy, or who has two working eyes and basic motor skills, tuned into this episode because he or she expected it to be good. And it was not….. ” — The Wrap
No doubt about it, everyone across the political spectrum has an opinion and no shyness about voicing it; critics, political pundits, and social media and as the election season lurches on, the episode will live on in gifs, commentary and viral videos as Donald Trump joins the ranks of political candidates who dare to host the show that more often than not prefers to skewer them. See video highlights of Donald Trump on SNL below!
Pictures: PR Photos