Movies & TV

President-elect attacks SNL ... again

Kate McKinnon as Kellyanne Conway, left, and Alec Baldwin as Trump during "Saturday Night Live," Dec. 3. Will Heath/NBC via AP

NEW YORK: Donald Trump is bashing “Saturday Night Live” and impersonator Alec Baldwin again. The president-elect called the late-night institution unfunny and Baldwin’s portrayal of him mean-spirited, suggesting “SNL” wasn’t long for the world. Trump – who has guest-hosted “SNL” – has tweeted about the show three times since October, most recently last weekend after Baldwin and Kate McKinnon appeared in a skit about his Twitter habit.

Trump’s frequent tweeting was raised in a telephone interview on the “Today” show after Time magazine chose the president-elect as its Person of the Year.

NBC’s Matt Lauer suggested it would be better for Trump “to simply stop watching ‘SNL’ as opposed to watching and then complaining about it.”

“First of all, nothing to do with me, there’s nothing funny about it,” Trump said. “The skits are terrible. I like Alec, but his imitation of me is really mean-spirited and not very good. ... It’s very biased and I don’t like it. ...Who knows how long the show is going to be on? It’s a terrible show.”

“Saturday Night Live” is in its 42nd season and enjoying its best ratings since 1992, the Nielsen company said. Viewership is up 33 percent over 2015.

The show’s founding executive producer, Lorne Michaels, would not comment on Trump’s statement.

Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama two weeks ago, Michaels hasn’t reacted publicly to the criticism by the soon-to-be leader of the free world.

Baldwin, whose portrayal in a skit that satirized Trump’s tweets was dubbed “sad” by Trump in last weekend’s late-night tweet, responded via Twitter: “Release your tax returns and I’ll stop. Ha.”

“There are certain things that come with the presidency – the football with the [nuclear] codes, Air Force One and being parodied on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” said James Andrew Miller, co-author of “Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of ‘Saturday Night Live.’” “He should just relax and get used to it.”

The unprecedented high-level attention is nothing but good for the show, Miller said. It reminds Trump’s Twitter followers who might not be regular viewers that “SNL” is still around and relevant, he said. A rebellious reputation also can’t hurt a show that’s been alive for longer than most of its viewers, many of whom would find Trump criticism to be a thumbs-up.

Miller said he didn’t believe that the knowledge that Trump is keeping his eye on them would make the show and its writers self-conscious.

“Lorne has a laser focus on the fact that there should be no other agenda but to be funny,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to ... try to do any political messaging in response to what [Trump] is doing.”

Trump has a long history with NBC. His host appearance last fall was not welcomed by several cast members or Trump’s Republican primary opponents.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 09, 2016, on page 12.

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