Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) this weekend amidst avid protests from those infuriated by Trump’s abundantly racist nature. Many protestors lined the street outside Rockefeller Center, picketing and baulking at the show’s decision to allow the GOP presidential candidate to host the show.
Despite the complaints, SNL chose to stick with Trump, which is not surprising considering it is a comedy show and has been lobbing zingers at him for years. SNL is renowned for its political savvy, and having such a controversial host should have made for a fascinating performance.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. As a devoted watcher of SNL, it is not hard to recall many instances where a politician was made the butt of a joke at Studio 8H. However, having a presidential candidate host is practically unheard of.
In the 40 years it has aired, SNL has had only eight politicians as guest hosts. Of those, only one (Rev. Al Sharpton) was actively running for the presidential nomination.
This election has been chock-full of controversy surrounding the major candidates, and having such a strongly opinioned contender front and center for 90 minutes should have made for comedy gold.
Instead, viewers watched as cast members tiptoed around the candidate, avoiding anything and everything that could offend him. Trump declared he wanted to host to demonstrate he could “take a joke.” Unfortunately, SNL failed to provide a single one.
The closest the show came to ruffling feathers was a skit set in 2018 in which Trump had won the election, defeated ISIS, built his glorious wall and made Russian leader Vladimir Putin cry. During the skit, Trump is asked how he had been so successful, to which he replies, “Well, you know what? I don’t have to get specific. With me, it just works, you know, it’s magic.”
Voters are well aware of Trump’s lack of a plan to back up any of his outlandish claims. SNL should have been dissecting his policy all night. Between his unsettling objectification of women, embarrassing lack of knowledge on foreign affairs, insulting outlook on those different from him and his insane plans to tackle immigration, SNL could have made Saturday’s broadcast one of the greatest of all time.
But viewers were forced to watch 90 minutes of lackluster skits that bore no weight. His appearance brought SNL the highest ratings since January 2012. People were obviously ready to witness Mr. Ego himself get a taste of his own medicine.
Disappointingly, Trump didn’t score a single memorable moment all evening. Instead, Larry David’s imitation of democratic candidate Bernie Sanders earned the only laughs of the night, making viewers question what happened.
SNL has never been shy of embracing the eccentricities of candidates. Kate McKinnon called out Hillary Clinton for waiting to support key issues, Tina Fey highlighted the many outrageous statements made by Sarah Palin and Will Ferrell joked about the rash, passionate responses of George W. Bush.
Saturday was a disappointment and left everyone feeling dissatisfied. If SNL is going to choose the walking epitome of a joke as a host, it should not be afraid to do its job and give the audience a laugh.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.