At first I could not understand why NBC's Saturday Night Live asked Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to host their November 7 show. After all, Mr. Trump's disparaging remarks on Mexicans when he announced his candidacy had caused NBC to fire him from his reality show The Celebrity Apprentice and banned his Miss Universe pageant from the network. In return, Mr. Trump is suing NBC Universal.
Was it the quest for ratings that brought these two aggrieved parties back together? Probably, but I think there was also another agenda on SNL creator Lorne Michaels' mind.
Watching the show reminded me a bit of what happened when President Gerald Ford made a cameo appearance in 1976 in the midst of a presidential campaign. His press secretary Ron Nessen hosted and with the episode's references to presidential erections and commercials for birth control and the Bassomatic and Chevy Chase's clumsy impersonations of the President, it seemed they intended to embarrass President Ford.
Last Saturday's live show was even less subtle in mocking Donald Trump. It started with a skit parodying the Friday night Democratic Presidential forum with another hilarious appearance by Larry David as Bernie Sanders. Cicely Strong also played a credible Rachel Maddow, MSNBC host of the event and Kate McKinnon adeptly reprised her role as Hillary Clinton.
It was all downhill from there. The only halfway funny skit featuring Mr. Trump was his dancing with sunglasses to Drake's "Hotline Bling" video.
Otherwise, in my opinion, his appearance was a bust and it seemed the skits were designed to ridicule him. From the beginning monologue where Larry David called him a "racist" (as there were Latinos outside protesting the show) to the final skit which featured two prostitutes in a supposed campaign ad calling him "Donald Tramp" with a Trump-like orange haired character saying "huuuge" and later identified him as "Ronald McDonald Trump", I could not see how anything in that show would help his candidacy.
In between, there was a fantasy skit with Mr. Trump in the oval office as the future president with Omarosa in his cabinet all praising the great things he has done for the country and the world. The Mexican President shows up and hands him a check for the Wall and says "there is nothing that brings countries closer together than a wall." Did not the Donald realize this was a subtle ribbing of his immigration policies? But to me, the strangest thing about the skit was having his real life daughter, Ivanka Trump show up as a Secretary of Interior and no one in the audience cheered or clapped for her. Maybe they didn't recognize her. It was almost embarrassing.
Then there was the twitter bit where Donald Trump said he was not going to take part in the sketch but instead tweet about it. Of course, it was intimidating for the cast members to have his tweets interrupting the skit with his nasty remarks. This was a not so subtle reference to how the Donald has run his campaign.
And in the Weekend Update segment, the character of Drunk Uncle reappeared to give his endorsement of the Donald. Maybe this was not so much a taunting of Trump as it was of his supporters.
I suppose one could say appearing on SNL can be beneficial to politicians because it shows they have a sense of humor and can make fun of themselves. It worked somewhat for Sarah Palin. However, Donald Trump is not a politician. He is a real estate billionaire and a reality show actor. One of the things that has made him unique as a candidate is that he is entertaining with his spontaneous speeches and press conferences.
But on this comedy show, Trump seemed flat and out of place. His persona on his "Apprentice" shows was always one of seriousness and all business. His dancing and acting in skits seemed forced and not all that funny.
President Ford lost his re-election bid and how much of a role SNL played in that is questionable. However, often the comedy on SNL is a reflection of what is actually happening in real life campaigns.
Sure, with all the hoopla and protests, the ratings for last Saturday were huuuge but the question now is did it help the Donald or turn voters off?
I find it hard to believe The Donald would approve of any of the contents of this particular show. Is it possible his ego blinded him to what was going on? Or does he think it was all good and that he was fair game? But what does that say about his intuition?
Many I talked to who watched the show said they didn't think it was funny. But maybe that was Lorne Michaels' intention. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the country's Trump obsession? I for one hope so because I want SNL to go back to being funny again.