Last week, Donald Trump took time out of his “busy” schedule in order to host Saturday Night Live. While some find it to be a great ratings boost for the show, this is an act of complete disrespect to the presidential campaign.
When people host SNL it’s usually right before a big entertainment release, like Elizabeth Banks hosting before the release of Mockingjay or Scarlett Johansson for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
And when it’s a musician, they usually host around the release of their album. Miley Cyrus has her Dead Petz and Blake Shelton had Bringing Back the Sunshine.
So what does Trump bring? These other people are entertainers hosting for their projects. Is the presidency a “project”? Trump hosting SNL implies that the presidential campaign is just another form of entertainment, lessening the importance of the presidency, and that’s where the problem lies. Being the president is not something that should be taken lightly and to have Trump host doesn’t just lessen importance, it demeans the whole process of campaigning.
Yes, Trump hosted SNL in 2004, but that was a different time. There’s a difference between a television celebrity and a presidential candidate. There’s a sense of respect one has to garner in order to prove themselves the runner of this nation. Granted, candidates and presidents alike have made guest appearances not only on SNL but in a wide variety of shows, but these were just guest spots. Poking fun at oneself is not the same as essentially letting the campaign be a roast.
In addition, the first sketch wasn’t comedy; it was essentially a political ad. The players act like Trump winning would result in a perfect world. Sure there were some tongue and cheek moments, but honestly there was no real punchline. A bizarre twist was expected, like it was Hillary Clinton’s dream, or maybe the people in the sketch were actually aliens, or SOMETHING. What’s even worse is this was perhaps the only semi-comedic sketch of the night. Everything else just didn’t play out well. Perhaps, this is due to having to constantly keep Trump in the best light possible.
The bashes on his part were already well known too. For the thousandth time a joke on Trump and his disbelief in Obama’s birth certificate surfaced, and that was the most “hard hitting” when it came to Trump’s character. It was a huge game of “Don’t Piss off the Billionaire Because He’ll Give us Good Ratings,” and that in itself is disgusting. SNL is a groundbreaking show, so does it really need to rely on some rich kooky character to try and further itself?
And that’s what it comes down to. SNL doesn’t need to whore itself out in order to prove its worth. While it may seem like the best marketing strategy in the world, if it lessens the art to a degree where it isn’t enjoyable, then it just isn’t worth it.
The presidency has become some a weird popularity game, this time more than others. And that is an especially concerning thought after watching what’s meant to be a comedy.