"Dread" was the best way to describe my feelings heading into Donald Trump's Saturday Night Live monologue. Did we really need to give him another 90 minutes of free publicity? It's not totally out of character for the show to feature a political figure. Lots of politicians who have become presidential hopefuls have hosted the show before: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and even Ralph Nader have been hosts. And, lots of presidential candidates have stopped by for a sketch, as Hillary Clinton did in the episode hosted by Miley Cyrus earlier in the season. But Trump is the first presidential candidate to get all 90 minutes of Saturday Night Live to himself, giving him a level of exposure that, frankly, I don't think he needs.
According to The Washington Post, as of October 6, Trump has only spent $2 million on his entire campaign so far — peanuts as far as presidential campaigns go. And, it's because he doesn't need to. All he needs to do is say something horrible and offensive in a tweet, and he's back in the news, getting all the free coverage that he needs. And, frankly, it's lame of Saturday Night Live and NBC to give him another platform. Earlier this summer, NBC said it would no longer carry the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants because of derogatory remarks Trump made about Mexican immigrants. Not only is the network not sticking to its guns, it's giving him some primetime airtime.
So, what did Trump use his monologue time for? "I have really nothing better to do," he said.
That's how the rest of the monologue went — Trump trying to prove that he has a sense of humor about the way he's been presented on the show. Taran Killam showed off his Trump impression. Darrell Hammond showed off an even better one. (I love it when Hammond does one of his impressions.) There was a weak stab at a joke where Trump pretended not to be able to tell the difference between Aidy Bryant and Rosie O'Donnell. Then came the epic moment when Larry David fake called-out Trump for being a racist. David called from the side of the stage, "You're a racist!" But it was all a planned joke. He wasn't really heckling Trump. Damn.
For someone who's traded on controversy for his whole campaign, Trump's SNL monologue was decidedly non-controversial. He didn't poke fun at the other presidential candidates the way he did in the promos for his episode. He didn't address any of his inflammatory remarks, like the one about Mexican immigrants, which caused protests outside the show. He didn't even get many of the punchlines. The Trump monologue is a lot like the Trump presidential campaign: A lot of bluster and a huge lead up to something of no substance.
Watch the full video below:
Image: Dana Edelson/NBC