Meet your new Donald Trump impressionist on “Saturday Night Live,” even though introductions are probably not necessary. With a little bit of Jack Donaghy from “30 Rock” and a lot of fake yellow hair from the “SNL” costume closet, Alec Baldwin . . .
He jutted out his lip, squinted those blue eyes, then said in his best basso Donald voice, “Good evening, America. I’m going to be so good tonight. So presidential and . . . [And expletive deleted. This is a family newspaper after all].”
Kate McKinnon, as Hillary Clinton, didn’t have all that much to do in the open, other than gloat, and smile and eventually ask, “can America vote right now?”
As Trump, Baldwin was as expected and the jokes — which wrote themselves — were, too. About his mic, which he claimed “she broke and took to Kenya, and now it’s broken.” He sniffed quite a bit, too, and interjected “wrong” as well, when Hillary/McKinnon spoke, or in one sequence, “wrong, wrong, wronger . . . ”
And that curious moment during the real debate, when the real Trump said he had told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he was against the war in Iraq? That was rendered this way by Baldwin/Trump: “I told him in private and leaned over and whispered in his ear. The next thing I knew I was kissing Sean Hannity . . . ”
Besides strange — obviously — was it good? Well, in parts certainly. Otherwise, work is needed.
One problem for “SNL” is that everyone has a Trump impression, even your next door neighbor. They’re so ubiquitous that they’ve lost their edge — to entertain or satirize or demolish, which is probably “SNL’s” intention, particularly after the network has been accused of coddling him. (See: Matt Lauer.)
Jimmy Fallon, also accused by critics of being too nice to Trump recently (See: Hair tousling), has a decent impression. Dana Carvey certainly does, too, but he hasn’t been here in 23 years. Anthony Atamanuik, of Upright Citizen’s Brigade — also star of Comedy Central’s occasional “debate” series, “Trump vs. Bernie” — has one of the best. He doesn’t work here at all.
That leaves Lorne Michaels’ friend and host of sixteen “SNL” editions, who also does a near-perfect Tracy Morgan.
Baldwin told The Washington Post’s David Weigel last week, “The more you descend into [Trump’s] kind of incoherent sensibility, the closer you get to the truth of who he is,” adding — no doubt ruefully and pragmatically: “No one’s mind is being changed . . . The people who love Trump hate my guts already.”