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SNL’s Love-Affair With Donald Trump

Before he was president, Trump was regularly parodied on the show, and he served as guest host in 2004 and 2015


 | May 13, 2021

May 13 2021

The recent flap over tech billionaire Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live is not the first time cast members objected to the choice of a guest host.

RELATED: SNL cast members throwing a hissy fit over Elon Musk

Some complained about Donald Trump hosting the show in 2015 when he was running for president, even though that was his second time hosting the show. He also made an unwitting cameo appearance much earlier in the show’s history, and he was parodied by impersonators for decades.

Here’s a look back at SNL’s long-running love affair with Trump.

Five SNL cast members played Trump:

The late Phil Hartman played Trump from 1988 to 1990. One of the earliest sketches skewered Trump’s opulent wealth in a “Gift of the Magi” Christmas parody. Another took aim at his divorce from his first wife Ivana, in which Hartman-as-Trump told Ivana that according to their pre-nuptial agreement, her divorce settlement would “be paid in the giant stone coins of the Yap Islanders.” 

Darrell Hammond played Trump the longest, from 1999 to 2011. In 2004, he joined Trump on-stage when then-businessman Trump hosted SNL for the first time. Hammond also came back to join Trump on-stage when presidential candidate Trump hosted SNL in 2015. 

Trump has repeatedly said that his favorite SNL impression of himself was by Hammond. Hammond (who was also famous for his impressions of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore) later told the Washington post that he started crying when he was told that he would no longer play Trump.

Jason Sudeikis briefly played Trump in 2012. He later played Joe Biden during the early part of the Trump admin, before Jim Carrey got the job playing Biden during the 2020 campaign. 

RELATED: Comedian Bill Burr uses SNL monologue to mock Woke white women 

Taran Killiam played Trump for just a few episodes in 2015, before Alec Baldwin took over in 2016. On Trump hosting SNL, Killiam later told NPR that, “It was not enjoyable at the time and something that only grows more embarrassing and shameful as time goes on.”

Alec Baldwin played Trump during the 2016 campaign, and throughout his term as president. The most memorable sketches were the parodies of the three presidential debates against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race. The sketches were funny when they aired, but they seem to have been written with the presumption that Clinton would easily win. That adds an unintentional (and ironic) layer upon re-watch, knowing the eventual outcome of the race. 

WATCH SNL’s parody of the first 2016 presidential debate: 

WATCH SNL’s parody of the second 2016 presidential debate: 

WATCH SNL’s parody of the third 2016 presidential debate: 

SNL alum Jimmy Fallon also did an impression of Trump on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” starting in 2016, but he never performed it on Saturday Night Live. 

Chevy Chase dumped popcorn on Trump’s head

New York businessman Donald Trump was an audience member during the 1989 taping of Saturday Night Live’s 15th anniversary special. when Chevy Chase, stumbling his way through the audience to take his seat, dumped popcorn on Trump’s head.  

WATCH Chevy Chase dump popcorn on Trump’s head:

Trump hosted SNL – twice

The first time Trump hosted SNL was in April 2004, when “The Apprentice” was a ratings hit for NBC. 

“It’s great to be here at Saturday Night Live, but I’ll be completely honest, it’s even better for Saturday Night Live that I’m here,” Trump said during his opening monologue. 

Trump then hosted again in November 2015. At the time, many considered him a joke who would never win. Little did they know, Trump was just a few months away from securing the Republican nomination. 

WATCH Trump’s 2015 SNL monologue:

More than a dozen presidential candidates have appeared on Saturday Night Live, but Trump is the only president to have ever hosted the show. 

The missing segment

When the 2004 episode was put on DVD, one segment was mysteriously missing.

The sketch is a fake commercial for “Trump’s House of Wings” that spoofs Trump’s reputation for selling anything with his name on it. In the commercial, Trump is wearing a light yellow suit with a bright yellow shirt and tie, surrounded by cast members Kenan Thompson, Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, and Maya Rudolph dressed as newly-hatched chickens who dance while singing a song about Trump’s chicken wings to the tune of the Pointer’s Sisters’ 1984 song “Jump” as Trump also danced. 
You can watch the full, hard-to-find segment here.

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