The many faces of Donald Trump (on ‘Saturday Night Live’)
NBC and “Saturday Night Live” announced Wednesday that they would be turning to a new talent, albeit a familiar face, to play Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the upcoming 42nd season of the show, which premieres Saturday.
That face? Alec Baldwin.
Baldwin, who has hosted the late-night sketch comedy staple a record 16 times since first hosting in 1990, has reportedly agreed to play Trump for the entirety of the season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But one of the few individuals whose involvement in “SNL” has actually been longer-running than Baldwin’s is that of Donald Trump.
Trump, or at least, Trump the “Saturday Night Live” caricature, has existed since 1988, when the real estate magnate was just a very rich man with a very blonde wife named Ivana.
Through the years— and the wives and the reality shows— the “SNL” version of Trump has changed and so have the men who have played him. Here’s a look at those who’ve been brave enough to don the Trump coif.
Phil Hartman — Trump, the lover
The first member of the “SNL” crew to take on Trump, Hartman embodied the businessman in a December 1988 sketch that had Trump and then wife Ivana (Jan Hooks) re-enacting an extreme version of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”
Hartman would portray Trump several more times as the entrepreneur made headlines with his reportedly torrid affair with eventual second wife Marla Maples (also played by Hooks).
Darrell Hammond — Trump, the reality
Generally considered the gold standard for “SNL” Trumps, in large part because the comedian had the benefit of honing his Trump impression over the last 17 years. Hammond first appeared as “The Donald” in an October 1999 episode.
The sketch featured Ross Perot (Cheri Oteri) attempting to find a worthy successor to run the Reform Party and being forced to choose from Pat Buchanan (Chris Parnell), Trump (Hammond) and a late-arriving Jesse Ventura (Will Ferrell).
Hammond originally played Trump with a generic Jersey accent but was given plenty of opportunity to refine his performance as Trump transformed from a tabloid headline to a would-be politician to a reality show star to an actual politician.
The best of Hammond’s work came during the reign of “The Apprentice,” when Trump’s mannerisms were just familiar enough to be aped but not so much that they seem overtly cartoonish.
Jason Sudeikis — Trump, the one-off
Sudeikis only graced “SNL” with his Trump impression a single time, during a November 2012 episode hosted by Louis C.K. The sketch is a segment on “Fox & Friends” addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and features Sudeikis’ Trump assuring the audience that the hurricane would not affect filming of the latest season of “Celebrity Apprentice” and moving on to address Trump’s quest for President Obama’s birth certificate.
Taran Killam — Trump, the candidate
Despite Hammond’s repeated return appearances to portray Trump after his 2009 departure from “SNL” and return to the series to serve as the announcer after Don Pardo’s death in 2014, it was announced before the debut of Season 41 that Taran Killam would be taking over the impression.
But for whatever reason, Killam’s Trump was not long for this world. After portraying the candidate during the cold open for the Oct. 13, 2015, episode, Killam would only appear as Trump on two other occasions. Once, a few weeks later when Trump himself would host and again for an opening segment in December.
After that point, Hammond again stepped in as Trump, taking over during the “SNL” sketches featuring the Republican debates, during which time Killam would portray Ted Cruz instead.
Killam’s “SNL” contract was not renewed for Season 42, thus putting an official end to his brief run as Donald Trump.
Donald Trump — Trump, the actual
Trump himself has hosted “Saturday Night Live” on two different occasions. Once, during the height of the success of “The Apprentice” in 2004 and again in 2015 during the heart of his battle to win the GOP nomination for president.
NBC got criticism for featuring the politician during his latest stint hosting, but if they hadn’t welcomed Trump back to the show, we never would have gotten to see whose Trump impression is more realistic: Killam’s, Hammond’s or Trump’s.
Alec Baldwin — Trump, the ???
America won’t see Baldwin’s take on Trump until Saturday night, but judging from his highly successful portrayal of corporate honcho Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” Baldwin will almost certainly have Trump’s swaggering machismo and braggadocio down pat.
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