“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they are rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Donald Trump said these words about Mexican immigrants back in June. This Saturday, he’s hosting Saturday Night Live.
For the life of me, I’ve been trying to look at this from SNL’s perspective. I consider SNL to still be one of the most shrewdly run television properties going – you don’t last 41 seasons without being shrewd – so often I tend to defer to the powers that be that they know what they’re doing. Take Miley Cyrus, a person who has never been a traditionally good SNL host, but she brings in crazy ratings and appeals to a younger demographic. That’s shrewd.
But, every time I work out in my head why Donald Trump should be hosting – which is mostly: ratings, ratings, ratings — I keep coming back to that above quote… and then it becomes impossible for me to justify.
But let’s back up.
On November 1, 2008, John McCain appeared on a Ben Affleck-hosted Saturday Night Live alongside former cast member Tina Fey, who was portraying McCain’s vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. There’s the real John McCain, actively participating in a comedy sketch that lampoons his vice presidential candidate. Which, on its own, is noteworthy. What makes it remarkable is that the following Tuesday, Barack Obama would be voted in as the 44th President of the United States. McCain did this just three days before the election. This is good television.
And SNL has a rich history with politicians. Even in its first season, Gerald Ford, who Chevy Chase eviscerated on a routine basis, made a cameo on the show. It’s not unique for SNL, which is seen as a liberal entity, to have a Republican on the show. (John McCain actually hosted back in 2002.) This isn’t the issue. If the anti-establishment first season SNL can have Ford, the current, very much the establishment 41st season SNL can have a Republican candidate. It makes SNL look somewhat “fair.”