Live from New York, it’s… Donald J. Trump.
The Republican presidential hopeful hosted Saturday Night Live last night, defying protestors who sought to keep him off of the show. This followed an appearance by Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton’s appearance on the season opener, and Clinton said in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday that she might very well watch Trump.
This wasn’t Trump’s first appearance on SNL; he previously hosted on April 3, 2004, shortly after The Apprentice debuted. He’s also been portrayed in a number of skits over the years, most notably played by Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond (including an appearance by Hammond on the episode Trump hosted, in a skit that saw Trump playing a janitor.) So how did things go for Trump this time around?
The opener: A monologue can make or break an SNL host, and Trump started off his hosting gig fairly strong. His opener played up his reputation, his spat with Rosie O’Donnell, and even featured not one but two Donald Trump impersonators (including Darrell Hammond.) He ended with a guest appearance by Larry David, calling Trump a racist in an attempt to cash in on a “bounty” to heckle Trump’s monologue. Stuffed with exaggerated arrogance, the beginning of the show was a lot better than some were expecting.
Hotline Bling: Any sketch featuring Ed Grimley can’t be bad. This remake of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video, complete with new lyrics defending the rapper’s dancing, was probably the high point of the episode. Donald Trump dancing as the “tax guy” and singing along was the portion of the skit that drew the most laughs from the audience, but honestly the entire thing was great.
Live Tweeting: The fourth-wall-breaking humor of this sketch really made it work. The “real” sketch was lackluster, obviously setting up the Trump jokes, but the looks and reactions of the cast members when the audience laughed is what made this one go over so well.
White House 2018: This was probably one of the weaker sketches in the show. There were few laughs, the delivery was a bit flat, and the whole “sketch turned into a political ad” gimmick just didn’t come across as very funny. Even the twist at the end where the ad was for the First Lady instead of the President did little to draw laughs.
Bad Girls: This sketch had a catchy beat and started off decently, but it just seemed to go on a bit too long. Some of the “bad girl” scenarios drug it down, though it was somewhat redeemed by the ending joke. It definitely wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t one of the funnier moments on the show.
In all honesty, there weren’t any downright horrible moments to the show. Despite the polarizing political environment that Trump is usually seen in, he managed to carry his sense of humor with him to the set and it worked well for his appearance. Some of the more risqué skits that he vetoed might have fallen flat, but the skits that made it to air were all at least somewhat amusing.
Of course, there were certainly some viewers who didn’t like the show and hated Trump’s appearance on it. It was by no means the best show that SNL has ever aired, though it’s also far from the worst. The fact that it’s the first episode ever hosted by an actively running presidential candidate likely makes it more noteworthy than its humor, regardless.
Saturday Night Live airs on Saturday nights on NBC.