Trump’s SNL Appearance Incites Fury
by Elizabeth Muse on Friday, November 20th, 2015
Protests did not stop 9.4 million viewers — the highest view count for the show since December 2013 — from watching the November 7th episode of Saturday Night Live, which was hosted by 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Trump’s highly anticipated appearance on the show sparked controversy. Multiple Hispanic groups condemned SNL for allowing Trump to host the show because of his documented racist remarks. Alex Nogales, the president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, released a statement on the situation: “Saturday Night Live is not a news program: it’s a cultural touchstone. Providing such a platform for somebody who clearly holds false and disparaging opinions of so many segments of this country is a dangerous proposition that legitimized Trump’s hateful views and rewards his hate.”
Some Milton Academy students agreed. Mateen Tabatabaei (II) posed the question: “Why should Trump get screen time when he has repeatedly made racist and ignorant comments?” Yet NBC, the network that ended all business ties with Trump because of his racist remarks about Mexican immigrants, forged on with its plan to have Trump host the show.
The episode’s first skit featured a fake campaign commercial depicting a future where trump became president; the scene included a mirage of unlikely scenarios, such as the Mexican president handing Trump a check for “the wall.” The skit as a whole lacked real jokes, and focused more on Trump’s possible ‘achievements’ as president. The next scene had Trump live tweeting to a sketch in which the cast members, arguably, lacked any energy or effort. Trump then appeared in a parody music video to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
During Trump’s monologue, the audience laughed hard. In the middle of Trump’s speech, Larry David, an actor, called out from the audience in a seemingly spontaneous moment, “Trump’s a racist!” The Deport Racism PAC offered $5,000 to anyone who called out this line during the live show. Considering Trump’s unfazed demeanor and response to the outburst, Larry’s heckle was clearly scripted into the monologue.
According to a November 13 Variety article, Trump appeared on the episode for a total of twelve minutes and five seconds. The audience was noticeably quieter during those twelve minutes compared to the loud laughs during the rest of the episode. Any negative portrayal of Trump that may have once existed in the script was long gone. Each sketch featuring Trump was criticized for being weak attempts at satire, which instead portrayed Trump in a good light.
SNL Comedians Colin Jost and Michael Che acknowledged the Trump protesters outside the Rockefeller Center, and criticized Trump’s new book “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again.” They also brought out “Drunk Uncle,” a familiar character on the weekend updates, who claimed to be Trump’s biggest supporter. Drunk Uncle’s support for Trump stemmed from two reasons: a racist hate for Ben Carson and a racist hate for immigrants. This sketch was the only clear moment of mockery towards Trump in the episode.
Legally, NBC now has to offer twelve minutes and five seconds of airtime to all other GOP candidates; however, the candidates are not guaranteed a spot on SNL, but rather any one of NBC’s 200 different stations and affiliated television shows.
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