Even Leftist Powerhouse Vice Media Is Sick of Alec Baldwin's Trump Character


It’s probably not news when I say that the political sketches on “Saturday Night Live” — particularly those involving Alex Baldwin’s horrifyingly bad Donald Trump impersonation — are beyond unfunny.

I’m supposed to say that, after all. I’m a conservative.

When the people at Vice Media start calling out “SNL” — and Baldwin in particular — that’s a dead horse of a different color.

Yes, a publication whose front page sports headlines like “‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap: What Matters More, Personality or Performance?” and “Becoming a Believer at Beyoncé Mass” has finally gotten tired of Baldwin’s one-note Trump performance and is beseeching the show to stop.

In the piece titled “‘SNL’ Cold Opens Are Unfunny, Elitist Pieces of Liberal Propaganda,” writer Harry Cheadle notes that he’s still a relatively big fan of the show, particularly recent episodes with Donald Glover and John Mulaney.

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He mentions all of this “to say to ‘SNL,’ I come as a friend: Your cold opens are terrible, cringeworthy pieces of self-satisfied liberal propaganda that are sometimes so bad they seem like parodies of themselves.”

He goes on to say that “the jokes are tired references to current events that never build on one another. Instead, they are limply tossed out as obvious applause lines to an anti-Trump crowd.”

He then points to a recent cold open which featured Stormy Daniels as herself in a phone conversation with Trump:

“Just tell me, what do you need for all this to go away?” Trump asks, to which Daniels responds, “A resignation.”

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“Yeah right. Being president is like doing porn; once you do it it’s hard to do anything else,” Baldwin-as-Trump responds. “Besides, my poll numbers are finally up. And speaking of polls being up … (sticks out his tongue in what I guess is meant to be a sexual manner) Oh come on, we’ll always have ‘Shark Week.’ I solved North and South Korea, why can’t I solve us?”

“Sorry Donald, it’s too late for that,” Daniels responds. “I know you don’t believe in climate change, but a storm’s a-coming baby.”

“I’ve never been so scared and so horny at the same time,” Trump responds.

Classy. Very classy. I haven’t seen any of Ms. Daniels‘ other works, mind you (really, I swear), but I can tell you that she didn’t get her prior roles through her acting chops. That’s not the only problem that Cheadle has with the cold opens, however. He has two other major issues — the predictability and the fact that Baldwin’s Trump impression is both galling and grating.

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“These stale lines aren’t helped along by the performances,” Cheadle writes. “Stormy Daniels gets a pass because she’s a bit of stunt casting anyway, but Baldwin’s Trump impression also stands out as awful. He keeps his mouth open for reasons I don’t understand, squints, and talks in a deep voice. That’s it.”

“The real Trump and Rob Schneider are correct: It doesn’t work,” Cheadle continues.

“Schneider, believe it or not, had another trenchant critique of these sketches, which is that they skew too heavy-handedly to the left, ‘The fun of “Saturday Night Live” was always you never knew which way they leaned politically,’ he told the New York Daily News last month. ‘You kind of assumed they would lean more left and liberal, but now the cat’s out of the bag they are completely against Trump, which I think makes it less interesting because you know the direction the piece is going.'”

That’s right. Even Vice is agreeing with Schneider that “SNL” skews too far to the left. It isn’t just outrage, either. Part of comedy is that it can’t be predictable. If you can see the joke from a mile away, you’re a million times more likely to groan than to laugh.

And with “SNL,” you can see the joke coming hours before the episode comes on. Donald Trump is incompetent and lecherous. Get it? Ahahahaha. Now let’s all sing along with Kate McKinnon as she plays “Hallelujah” on the piano.

Even if Darrell Hammond was brought back — and nobody can deny he did a brilliant Bill Clinton as well as a better Trump than Baldwin — that’s unlikely to save “SNL.”

The show is DOA at the script level, at least when it comes to politics. There’s simply nothing coming out of the writer’s room that’s remotely salvageable. John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Chris Rock and Tina Fey could be performing these skits and the audience at home would still be staring gape-jawed at the screen in confused silence, wondering who actually thought someone would consider this material funny.

And, as for the cold opens, Cheadle says it’s time for a total rethink.

“Seen from the right light, it’s not just an unfunny lead-in to what can otherwise be a fine show,” he writes. “It’s a toxic example of limousine liberalism, millionaires putting on a self-congratulatory show with jokes cribbed from the New York Times editorial page — come to think of it, it’s exactly the kind of un-self-aware institution that a really good comedy show could grind down to size.”

I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon, though.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture