The actor reveals he actually felt his satirical impression of Donald Trump would have impacted the election.
For all the wailing and temper tantrums over the Presidential election one operator on the left has to be happy with the result: Saturday Night Live’s producer Lorne Michaels. For eight years SNL was notably resistant to being critical of the Obama administration, and for eight years the show lagged throughout that tenure.
There has been a renaissance of sorts with the show following the election of Donald Trump — if not in quality then at least in the ratings. The emergence of Trump last year as a contender against Hillary gave the show some red meat for skits. Hillary’s loss, however briefly, stymied the resurgence.
Star Kate McKinnon, who won an Emmy largely on the back of her Clinton portrayal, saw her 4 year job security evaporate with Hillary’s loss. The first show after the election had her in character singing “Halleluiah”, in a self-serious maudlin display that had people laughing at the show, for all the wrong reasons.
However as the left felt bereft they latched onto anything approaching catharsis. Soon SNL’s portrayal of the new White House drew those seeking product that might tear down the new administration. Alec Baldwin, who appeared as Trump in a guest-starring position, found himself installed as a quasi-regular when Donnie took the big prize.
In a Q & A with USA Today we see that Baldwin has some partially delusional thoughts that his imitation would have had a direct adverse effect on the President. I am not sure how he looks back at SNL’s history of not bringing down Presidents and feels his portrayal would made a difference. The biggest influence the show had on politics was convincing the public Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house.
To wit, here’s just some of Baldwin’s more curious statements.
- Q: What do you like about President Trump? — Well, his children seem loyal to him, which I’ve got to give him credit for that. I don’t want to believe it’s all about their inheritance. I want to think that Trump’s children are very loyal to him. That must say something for him.
Alec probably does himself no favors mentioning children and family life, given his history of very questionable parenting.
- Q: How long will you act as Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’? — I don’t know. I can honestly say I don’t think much longer. Meaning this season, I would do it. I do think that people are, I could be wrong, but I do think that people are growing, not so much weary of it, where they think it’s funny, but they don’t know if it’s achieving any practical purposes.
Here is where the actor reveals his impression that wearing a wig, and making the duck-face, to replicate Trump was supposed to achieve something. But next we see, when he began playing the role before the election he earnestly felt it would have swayed voters.
- It’s a satire that’s not really leading to the effect you hope satire will have. You know, Trump, some people would say to me very pointedly, how do you feel that you helped Trump get elected? You humanized him. And you kind of trivialized him in a way that softened him to the public. That certainly wasn’t the point.
The ego is on full display now. Throughout 2016 the media complex fawned over Trump, using him for ratings and clicks. The news outlets ended up delivering the man free publicity to the tune of billions of dollars of free air time. But Baldwin thinks he was the one who “normalized” Trump.
Funnier still, his “Trump” is not even the biggest breakout on the show. Actress Melissa McCarthy has earned far more viral attention for her skits giving an overblown portrayal of Sean Spicer.
- Trump was someone who, regardless of whether he was parodied or not, regardless of who did the parody, and what was written, I thought Trump was someone who was completely disqualified to be the president. All of these things that surfaced about his misogyny and women and things like that. I thought, “Oh, God, this is just, dust off the Air Force One for Hillary Clinton.” And I thought there was just no way he could have won with all of those things that were out there about him. But, you know, it’s a historic about-face, if you will, of public opinion, so it’s interesting.
Note the obliviousness here, as Baldwin’s own words defy his consideration that he would have impacted public opinion. However, the actor is not done pretending he can influence the minds of Americans. He has plans now to write a parody memoir as Donald Trump.