Donald Trump lifts ‘SNL’ to highest rating since January 2012

9 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amid hype and protests, Donald Trump hosts ‘SNL’.

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump hadn’t gotten far into his opening monologue before trouble occurred. NEW YORK: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump hosted the sketch-comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” defying protesters to make the highly anticipated but controversial primetime television appearance.The nadir of last night’s “Saturday Night Live”—if there can be a low point in an episode that itself was a 90-minute low point—was an oddly framed, oddly timed post-commercial interlude from presidential candidate and megalomaniac Donald Trump, the host of the episode, about how he would not be in the following sketch.

His guest hosting appearance – where he danced, played president and live tweeted snarky remarks at the SNL cast — reached 6.6 percent of households measured, according to NBC — a nearly 50 percent increase over the season premiere which featured a guest appearance by Democrat Hillary Clinton. An off-screen heckler interrupted with a cry of “You’re a racist!” But the “heckler” was comedian Larry David, who before Trump arrived onstage had been seen impersonating Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. “I heard if I yelled that, they’d give me $5,000,” said David with a shrug, echoing an offer made publicly by one of the Hispanic groups protesting Trump’s appearance. Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, Trump stepped on stage to cheers and insisted in a nearly five-minute opening monologue that saw him flanked by two lookalikes: “People think I’m controversial, but the truth is, I’m a nice guy.” Trump, a billionaire real estate developer who has never held elected office, leads the polls along with Ben Carson for the Republican nomination for the 2016 race to the White House and will be hoping that his appearance on the show will cement his status as frontrunner.

The appearance drew lukewarm praise from most — except Trump, who on Sunday touted his performance, which included shaking his booty to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” “It was terrific,” Trump said of the show. “It was really well-received and probably got very good ratings,” Trump predicted Sunday morning on CNN. Trump’s 90 minutes in the “SNL” spotlight followed weeks of growing anticipation, increasingly sharp criticism and mounting calls for him to be dropped from the show. Despite a 40-year history of lampooning politicians while inviting some to mock themselves as on-air guests, booking a presidential candidate to host the NBC sketch-comedy show was almost unprecedented. But the 69-year-old has courted controversy for his statements on immigration, promising that if he becomes president he will expel immigrants who are in the United States illegally and build a wall along the US-Mexico border. And there were more protests Saturday in New York hours before the show was broadcast, with demonstrators marching from Trump Tower to NBC’s studio in Rockefeller Plaza.

There were fears that audience members might seek to heckle Trump over his views and a Hispanic advocacy group had offered a $5,000 reward for anyone that called Trump “racist” during his closely watched opening monologue. And he sat in a fuzzy silver-gray armchair, too reflective to be truly tasteful, but offering up the comfort and aesthetics of a doctor’s office with delusions of grandeur. During his monologue, Trump promised his hosting appearance would be “something special,” while noting that many people had asked him why he accepted the gig. Prior to that, Trump — who has admitted he vetoed some of the skits for being too “risque” — said: “Many of the great have hosted this show.

In Spanish, they chanted: “The people united shall never be defeated” and signs declared SNL racist. “I feel like they’re giving him a platform,” said Hazel Hernandez, 26, who emigrated from El Salvador and now lives in Brooklyn. “I’m an immigrant myself, so I’m pretty outraged. As so many impressionists have tried to capture—including Taram Killam and Darrell Hammond, who both did Trump for Trump last night—the final three words were stated with individual and increasing emphasis, suggesting perhaps periods after each, or increasing font size for each successive word.

Mr Trump’s comments last summer spurred NBC to sever its Miss Universe ties with him while declaring he would never return to his The Apprentice role. You are brilliant, you’re handsome, you’re rich, you have everything going, the world is waiting for you to be president, so why are you hosting Saturday Night Live?

Trump’s real-life daughter, Ivanka, is the administration’s secretary of the interior, and announces the Washington Monument will be covered with gold. “If you think that’s how it’s going to be when I’m president, you’re wrong. But leading up to Saturday’s broadcast, NBC did not respond to accusations that it had reversed itself, or to the outcry against Trump that had built since “SNL” announced his host booking last month. Al Sharpton, in 2003 — was actively involved in a presidential bid at the time. (Hillary Clinton appeared in last month’s season premiere, but not as the host.) It wasn’t Trump’s first turn as guest host. When black performer Kenan Thompson stepped out, Trump’s “tweet” read: “An extremely credible source just told me that Kenan Thompson’s birth certificate is a fraud.” Vanessa Bayer, playing visibly rattled at performing under Trump’s scrutiny, winced when the tweets demanded she be deported. The billionaire developer and media personality presided in April 2004, a few weeks after he debuted as host of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” This time, while Trump demonstrated once again that he could take a joke, he was running for president.

And Leslie Jones’ flattery of Trump led to him tweeting, “I love the blacks.” Jones—a black comedian who plays an outsize version of herself for Weekend Update—ended the sketch by throwing down her phone and going for the camera. Meaning that the defining sketch of the night was a room full of people driven to either violence or performance-stopping freezing-up by Trump’s mere digital presence. The audience, to its credit, could barely laugh along. (And Ivanka Trump, who cameoed early in the episode, got a deafening lack of applause.) The show moved like molasses, because neither the audience nor the cast could get comfortable with Trump.

But because the controversy around the candidate isn’t overblown—if anything, it’s notably restrained—the comedy had the effect of minimizing very legitimate concerns. That’s a set of actions with profound commentary for what it means to allege racism in this media climate; naturally, then, no performers of color were on stage. Kate McKinnon once again brought her Hillary Clinton in the cold open, and her impression of the candidate is constantly finding new angles to needle her with. In an inspired bit of physical comedy, McKinnon “relaxed” in her chair by stretching out both of her heeled, pantsuited legs, straight into the air, and then crossing one over the other and resting an elbow on her knee in a move that would not have been out of place in an acrobatics exhibition. Oscar Wilde, a satirist himself, wrote in “The Importance Of Being Earnest”: “To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” McKinnon has been taking notes.

I think partly that’s because the threat is too real: Trump is a xenophobic, rabble-rousing racist who panders to an angry conservative base, and he is currently leading the New Hampshire primary polls by 13.7 points. Bobby Moynihan played a rabid Trump supporter—“drunk uncle”—and though it was perhaps the hardest hitting satire of the evening, it was also the most anger-provoking. Moynihan’s character said a lot of really awful things, under the guise of irony and distance, and with Trump as a guest, it didn’t really feel like those sentiments were being mocked. (Among other things, Drunk Uncle weighed in on Caitlyn Jenner with the highly original “Her name is Bruce.”) To me, what was so off-putting about Trump directly addressing the camera is that it hewed the closest to presidential behavior than anything else in the evening—including the sketch that took place in Trump’s White House, in 2018. Because in that moment, Trump was addressing the audience—“my fellow Americans” could have easily rolled off his tongue—and attempting some level of sincere conversation.

And he can’t even do it, sitting in that velveteen studio prop, when talking about the upcoming sketch; he makes excuses, he quibbles, he fumbles through lines. Trump was more convincing as an aviator-wearing skeezy music producer, or the scenery-chewing laser-harp soloist, than he was in the even slightly presidential capacity the show allowed him. Here was an enactment of the scene Trump has promised and campaigned on, dozens if not hundreds of times—that a wall would be built between the U.S. and Mexico, and Mexico would pay for it.

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