Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live on November 7, 2015, a year before he was elected president. Way back then, now-former castmember Taran Killam portrayed Trump in sketches. And having the guy you parody actually host the show means things get a bit weird when they actually show up on set.
Killam recently appeared on Earwolf’s I Was There Too, hosted by Matt Gourley. During the appearance Killam complained about Lorne Michaels forcing the cast and writers to go easy on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump because of the appearance. Here’s the pertinent part of the conversation as transcribed by Vulture.
“Lorne was being so specific about what we could and couldn’t say about him, and he was dictating a lot of the settings,” Killam said. “At that point — the first CNN interview he was doing — and that was sort of looking like what we thought we were going to do, and Lorne’s like, ‘It’ll be too old news by then, and you know, you don’t want to vilify him. You know, he’s like any New York taxi driver. I know him, I’ve seen him around at parties for years and years, and he just says whatever it is he’s thinking, and that’s his thing. But you know, you have to find a way in that makes him likable.’”
As far as business and personal decisions go, this was probably the right one for Lorne Michaels. But was it the right decision for his viewers or employees or America? That’s up for debate. A debate that Michaels has probably had with the guy who currently plays Trump on SNL, Alec Baldwin. And in the case of a tie, Darrell Hammond should cast the deciding vote.