The makers and cast of Saturday Night Live had another post-election fail last night, but this time President-elect Donald Trump himself called them out on it.
“Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable!” Trump tweeted. He described the show as “totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad.”
Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
While Trump has often overreacted to attacks, he was perfectly in his rights this time. SNL degraded itself by mocking the president-elect in a way that was unfair, unfunny, and not true to the man himself. It was fundamentally off-color.
The episode focused on Trump’s penchant for Twitter (he often causes a firestorm by tweeting and retweeting). This indeed is the president-elect’s way, and it could be great fodder for jokes, but the way SNL presented it just didn’t work.
SNL opens with a scene from high school, with a teenager named Seth surprised he got a retweet. “Seth, you’re just some random kid in high school,” his teacher says. “Who would retweet you?” Shoot to Trump Tower.
Alec Baldwin, oversimplifying Trump, turns to Kate McKinnon (playing Kellyanne Conway) saying, “Kellyanne, I just retweeted the best tweet.” He’s in a security briefing, but the president-elect can’t keep off his phone.
“There is a reason, actually, The Donald tweets so much,” explains Conway. “He does it to distract the media from his business conflicts and all the very scary people in his cabinet.”
While the security staff congratulate Trump on this strategy — saying “oh, that does make sense,” and “very clever, sir” — the president-elect himself can’t play along. “Actually, that’s not why I do it,” Baldwin says. “I do it because my brain is bad. But I promise I’m done retweeting, I’m ready to buckle down.”
Could anyone ever see Trump saying “I do it because my brain is bad”?! No, he’d respond with “I alone can tweet,” or “This retweet will make America great again.” The best comedy would grab quotes he already said — or would actually say — not something entirely out of character. In this performance, Baldwin wasn’t playing Trump, he was dressing up like the president-elect in order to cloak his bald-faced insults. It wasn’t even satire — it was a farce of the liberal media.
Next Page: But Baldwin and SNL weren’t done making fools of themselves.
But Baldwin and the cast of SNL weren’t done making fools of themselves. Two minutes later, Trump retweets a random man, and declares, “Oops, I did it again.”
When a staffer tells him to stop because “you’re not getting any work done,” Trump responds by taking credit for what liberals see as President Obama’s accomplishments.
“That’s not true,” Baldwin says. “I was elected 25 days ago, and already unemployment is at a nine-year low. Millions and millions of people have healthcare, and Osama bin Laden is dead.”
Again, even Trump’s worst enemy wouldn’t imagine the president-elect saying these things. The official unemployment figures might be low, but millions have dropped out of the workforce. The president-elect has attacked Obamacare not because it has provided coverage, but because premiums have gone through the roof. Yes, bin Laden is dead, but what about ISIS? It seems a liberal like Baldwin can’t even conceive of a Republican’s view of the state of our country, and that is a serious problem.
Perhaps this was meant as an attack on the Carrier deal, but that would be a tremendous stretch. And the Carrier deal actually is a Trumpian accomplishment (even if it is crony capitalism) — he set out to keep American jobs in America, and that’s what he’s done.
Even after these colossal screw-ups, the worst part of Baldwin’s Trump impression was still yet to come. In a triumphant air, Baldwin proclaims, “Next I am going to do what I promised my whole campaign, and I am going to build that … swamp.” The pause, meant for comedic effect, caused confusion instead.
McKinnon, as Kellyanne Conway, rightly corrected Baldwin. “Ok, and don’t you mean drain the swamp, and build the wall?”
“No, that’s too many things,” Baldwin replied. “Just smush them together. Smush! Smush!” Apart from the big hand gestures — classic Trump — there was nothing remotely right about this comment, even as satire.
Donald Trump has built his entire campaign on the promise of building “a great big beautiful wall,” and it is not even conceivable that he would forget it. He may have the occasional memory problem, but the president-elect knows who he is, and everything he does is “yuge.”
Trump would never say his brain is bad, he would never claim Obama’s presidency as an accomplishment, and he would never mix up his promise on building a wall. Alec Baldwin’s Trump isn’t recognizable, because Baldwin isn’t trying to play Trump, he’s trying to insult him.
Worse, Baldwin seems entirely incapable of seeing the world through the eyes of a conservative: the very fact that he makes Trump try to claim Obama’s accomplishments proves as much. To Baldwin (and too much of the liberal media), Obama can’t be seen as anything other than a smashing success.
This is not to say there can’t be good comedy mocking Donald Trump — in fact, the Internet is rife with it (see “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon“). But I have to agree with the president-elect on this one: This isn’t comedy, and whatever it is, I want to change the channel.
Watch the video (or a better one with Jimmy Fallon) on the next page.
Here’s SNL’s latest failure.
Here’s Jimmy Fallon, being more Trump than Trump.