SNL: S29E16... HOST: DONALD TRUMP... DATE: APRIL 3, 2004

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or...

Nowhere Near My Favorite President,

But As An SNL Host,

He Did Have Me Laughing Out Loud

 

I feared this episode ever since I first saw it was on the schedule because this last Presidential Election cycle really messed with my head to the point where I don’t want to discuss politics at all. I wasn’t afraid of Trump as a host because he’s such a funny parody of himself that I knew for sure that this would be a fun episode. I wasn’t expecting greatness, but I was expected an appearance that was bad enough to the point where it’s good.

Keep in mind as you read this that I’m referring to Trump the entertainer/performer and not the President, as I am about to say a lot of positive things about a man who I disagree with politically instead of just hating because of a bitter grudge. As a personality who’s not in charge, I’ve never had any real problems with Trump. I always thought it was funny how often he would end up in old school rap songs and he made me laugh whenever he was on Howard Stern.

He never felt like a person who I would like to hang out with personally, but he reminded me of a heightened version of many of the lawyers and executives that I’ve met while working in law firm copy centers or doing lighting for films. These people try to be personable but they are often so out of touch that they act like aliens from Mars, and I’m a huge fan of quirky personalities whether they are extremely good or bad.

I realized while watching this episode that Trump always had a Charles Grodin quality to his performance, especially in his early career. What I mean by this is that I don’t usually like arrogant hosts who genuinely seem arrogant and not as a joke, but there was something about both Grodin and Trump, at least to me. I feel they are able to pull this off, again, I purely mean as a host of a comedy show and not as a leader of the free world, which hasn’t been all that free for quite a while.

Not only was Trump fun in his own awkward way, but the cast also felt like they had an extra pep in their step from being able to playfully poke fun at a multimillionaire. This was what made the lawyers and execs that I mentioned above fun to talk to even though there was such a disconnect. In an effort to seem at least a little humble and playful they often joke in ways that invite you to joke about things that you would typically joke about behind their backs, which was the feeling I got from the cast.

It was also fascinating to watch with modern eyes and witnessing jokes that either felt like predictive programming, were telling of Trump’s personality, or extremely surreal when thinking this is a current real leader pretending to hawk his own line of chicken wings. It was one of those experiences that reassured me that we’re either living in The Matrix and nothing is real, or Idiocracy and we’re on target to really having ButtFucker’s as a family chain restaurant.

No, this episode didn’t win me over on any of Trump’s policies but I have to be honest and say that this episode might be the best episode since Al Sharpton, who was also good because he as a person is already almost a parody of himself. Then again, it could also be because I wanted to hate tonight’s viewing and the fact that I found it to be good at all has led to an exaggerated opinion.

With all of that said, it’s now time to wrap things up and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of The Apprentice where Trump as himself in order to choose which Not Ready For Prime Time Play that he wanted to fire from the show with the help from his sidekicks from the real show. Meanwhile, Lorne Michaels was watching from backstage and wanted to join in on the fun and fire a cast-member or two as well. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Donald Trump then officially opened the show with a monolog about how great he and his new show The Apprentice both are before authorizing Darrell Hammond as a backup Trump to fire Jimmy Fallon as NBC CEO, at the time, Jeff Zucker.
  3. Fear Factor Junior had Fred Armisen as Joe Rogan put a group of grade schoolers through the Fear Factor ringer by having them eat bugs after being thrown into a lake from a helicopter.
  4. This was followed by a parody of Live! With Regis & Kelly where once again Darrell Hammond played Regis and Amy Poehler was Kelly and the two interviewed Regis’s close personal friend Trump, who had full control of his own ratings throughout the interview by hiding from the camera to make the rating drop only to get them back by showing his face again.
  5. Star Jones took place as Trump walked away from the sketch above and Kenan Thompson as Star Jones ran into our host in the audience and to brag about the fact that she knew who the winner of The Apprentice would be even the season wasn’t close to being over at the time.
  6. We then got a fake ad for Donald Trump's House Of Wings where Donald Trump followed the trend set by Derick Jeter and Al Sharpton by opening his own cheesy themed wings restaurant.
  7. Then, Toots And The Maytals with Ben Harper and Jack Johnson all took to the stage to perform Love Gonna Walk Out on Me.
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, they attempted to rebrand the news as Weekend Trump Date, but Tina Fey wasn’t having it. Maya Rudolph also stopped by as Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth to give a commentary on her time on The Apprentice, only to keep having stuff fall and hit her on the head, making fun of an incident that happened for real during the filming of The Apprentice.
  9. The Prince And the Pauper had Darrell Hammond as a bored Trump who decided to switch places with the real Trump who was playing the company’s janitor. This was a fun sketch because Donald Trump got to make fun of himself through making fun of Darrell Hammond as him. It also ended with a terrifying twist when after the switch Donald had Darrell as Donald killed to keep the switch permanent to the proclaim, “You know, I think I’m going to enjoy being the prince,” almost as if he was already talking about being the President. To add to the fun Darrell as Donald was killed and left in a swamp.
  10. Fathers And Sons was a public access style show that had Seth Meyers as the titular son who was trying to connect with his tough titular dad as played by Donald Trump, only Trump never lightened up, in fact, he got worse and worse throughout the entire show.
  11. This was followed by parody coverage of the 9/11 Hearings where Darrell Hammond played a politician named Richard Clarke who claimed to have advanced knowledge of 9/11 only no one would listen to him. The central joke being Clarke’s claim that when he attempted to warm President Bush, the leader was too busy talking about beer to give him the time of day. This was so dry and on track with some conspiracy claims that most of it didn’t seem like a joke at all, until the end when he started to spout off with conspiracies about baseball, and knowing ahead of time about Janet Jackson’s breast.
  12. Then, Toots And The Maytals with Bootsy Collins and The Roots all took to the stage to perform Funky Kingston.
  13. The Apprentice Band had Donald Trump as himself and Fred Armisen, and Amy Poehler as his sidekicks from The Apprentice who were starting a band and went on to practice for a performance of the song She’s Got Class.
  14. Finally, Donald Trump closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

The streak of good shows continues with this making eight in a row thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Donald Trump's House Of Wings because it might be the most surreal experience that I’ve had since Trump was elected President, which will be a reoccurring theme. Next, I really like, The Prince And the Pauper because Trump was really committed to making fun of himself through Darrell Hammond’s impersonation of him, plus the scary twist at the end where after stealing the real prince’s identity, he proclaimed, “I think I’m going to like being the prince,” which sent shivers up my spine. Finally, I was a fan of the opening The Apprentice parody because, as I said, I was apprehensive going into this viewing so when Trump old man The Apprentice sidekick chimed in about how the dressed rehearsal sucked, I laughed so hard that I was allowed to let down my guard.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.