Recap: Trump Guest-Hosts SNL


As you may have heard, Donald Trump graced the Saturday Night Live stage with his presence this weekend and was kind enough to let the cast and audience bask in his winning glow. Of course, when it came time to deliver the monologue — the bit that sets the tone for big-time celebrity guest-hosts — the man who loves to tout his overwhelming greatness was … underwhelming.

His opening got some laughs when he was joined by two different Trump impersonators, and again when Larry David showed up as Bernie Sanders and called him a racist. “I heard if I did that, they’d give me $5,000,” said David, and he wasn’t kidding. Though the bit was scripted, Advocacy group Deport Racism plans to make good on the $5,000 it had offered to any audience member who called Trump a bigot during the broadcast.  When Trump was on his own, however,  the jokes fell flat. He barely got a chuckle when he suggested that he was only hosting the show because he had nothing better to do and, overall, his strategy was flawed. While Trump tried to exaggerate his own rhetoric by saying this would be the greatest guest-hosting gig in the history of guest-hosting, he just ended up sounding like he does when trying to be serious. It’s tough to caricature a man who’s already a caricature.

That said, things improved once the sketches started and SNL’s talented roster was able to shepherd him through the appearance. Here’s a rundown of the different bits:

White House 2018

The Donald’s first sketch saw him deliver on his promise of making the American public “sick of winning.” Sitting in the oval office, flanked by his wife Melania (Cecily Strong) and a host of advisers and cabinet members, Trump fielded reports on how swimmingly everything was going now that he was President. He had backed Putin down and made him cry, convinced Telemundo to switch all programming to English, and strong-armed Mexico into financing a border wall. Trump also had some fun with those who have slammed him for failing to provide details, and explained his success by saying “I don’t have to get specific, with me it just works, it’s magic. It’s always been that way my whole life.” We learned afterwards that this was just a mock-up of what a Trump presidency might look like and that the real version would be “even better.”

Trump Live-Tweets

Trump was behind the scenes for this sketch and, though he did not appear in the flesh, his tweets cast a comedic pall over the performers. During a bit set in a restaurant in Rome, he called Taran Killam an overrated clown, said Kate McKinnon was born stupid, questioned the validity of Kenan Thompson’s birth certificate (his first name being one ‘y’ away from Kenyan), and even suggested that Vanessa Bayer be deported. No one was free from his 140-character streams of vitriol — except for Leslie Jones. He tweeted that he has tremendous respect for the comedian and called her a winner, but quickly followed that up with a racially insensitive remark. The sketch ended as Jones stormed off-stage looking to confront him.

Hotline Bling

This sketch was the pièce de résistance of the episode. Jay Pharoah starred as Drake in a parody of the music video for Hotline Bling. The rapper/singer’s dance moves have been mocked and memed endlessly, but Pharoah changed the lyrics and defended Drake’s style as that of the everyman. “Dads are getting in on this, teachers getting in on this, your tax guy’s getting in on this,” he sang, and the crowd hooted and hollered as Tax Guy Trump gyrated awkwardly to the beat.

The Donald also appeared as laser harpist Gene Breadz, and as skeevy Startraxxx producer Scasey Steves, but neither sketch was particularly memorable. While some celebrities and politicians have succeeded in exposing the public to a different side of themselves on Saturday Night Live, Trump on SNL was Trump … on SNL. It seemed awkward and forced at times, but the sketches were creative and the cast was resourceful enough to stop him from crashing and burning. And if you want some insight as to why the show bothered to bring the controversial politician on board in the first place, just have a look at the ratings. The episode posted a massive 6.6 household rating, which is SNL’s best mark since January of 2012. Whether folks are watching because they love him or hate him, he’s going to continue to be on TV unless people start changing the channel.

Movies & TV

Star Wars series 'The Mandalorian' adds 'Deadpool' actress Gina Carano

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

The best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Music

The best movie soundtracks of all time, from 'Star Wars' to 'E.T.'

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Movies & TV

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' will seem muddled to mere muggles

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brings magizoologist Newt Scamander back for more adventures, but the sequel to 2016's Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes a very deep dive into Potter-verse lore.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Movies & TV

Is the end near for Pied Piper? ‘Silicon Valley’ season 6 delayed, might be the last

Season 6 of Silicon Valley might not premiere until 2020, as HBO has delayed production on the season until summer 2019 due to showrunner Alec Berg's work on another HBO series, Barry. Season 6 could be the final one for the show.
Movies & TV

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

The NFL's 2018 season is here, and we know you don't want to miss a moment of the action. Our comprehensive streaming guide will show you all the best options to watch the games online so you can make the right choice.
Movies & TV

More cast members join Jordan Peele’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ reboot

Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele is developing and hosting a reboot of the classic sci-fi anthology series The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, and the cast for the first season is filling out with some familiar faces.
Movies & TV

‘Moonlight’ film studio A24 to produce movies for Apple

Indie movie studio A24 has entered into an agreement to produce films for Apple. The studio is best known for bringing Oscar-winning drama Moonlight to audiences, as well as Room and Ex Machina.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.