Saturday Night Live continues to flounder under the Trump presidency, consistently struggling to say anything of substance about an era of American politics that’s nothing if not absurd. Celebrity cameos stand in for jokes, with the likes of Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, and Robert De Niro returning time and again to take roles away from the main cast members and deliver mediocre impressions. None, though, are worse than Alec Baldwin’s mugging turn as our president, which is basically “Drumpf” made manifest. Ask Baldwin, though, and he’ll tell you Trump doesn’t deserve a good impression. That’s what he told IndieWire, anyway.
“We’re not doing a David Fincher movie here, or a Soderbergh movie, where we’re gonna etch some finely rendered impersonation of Trump,” Baldwin said. “I made him as two-dimensional as I believe he deserves to be made. And we’ve certainly vulgarized it from time to time, beyond certain limitations. But it’s essentially us repeating back what he says, and just holding up a mirror to what he says and does.”
The good news is that his reign of terror might be coming to an end, potentially opening the door for one of the show’s current cast members or, if they’re devoted to the guest route, the great Darrell Hammond, who previously played Trump on SNL.
“We did it like once a month, this season,” Baldwin said. “Last season, I did it a bunch, and the season before that—the first season—I did it almost every show. I think I did it every show. And I think people are, uh, they want a little bit less of that. And whether I do it much longer, remains to be seen. I don’t—Interestingly enough, the same thing applies there, as everywhere else: if the writing is good.”
It usually isn’t, unfortunately, so the least we could get is a good impressionist in the role.