Re­view­ing Alec Bald­win’s take on Don­ald Trump

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

FROM the voice and the fa­cial ex­pres­sions to the tan and the poorly tai­lored suit, Alec Bald­win rock­eted to the top of the Don­ald Trump im­per­son­ators list on Satur­day Night Live this week­end. The co­me­dian flat-out nailed Trump’s many idio­syn­cra­sies.

But Bald­win’s im­pres­sion of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee re­mained safely in the realm of ab­sur­dist hu­mor, never ven­tur­ing into the ter­ri­tory of truly bit­ing satire. An ar­ti­cle by The Wash­ing­ton Post’s David Weigel asked on Septem­ber 30, “Can ‘SNL’ take down Don­ald Trump? Is it go­ing to try?” The an­swer, at least for now, ap­pears to be no.

As ex­pected, the open­ing sketch on Oc­to­ber 1 par­o­died last week’s pres­i­den­tial de­bate be­tween Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton. “Good evening, Amer­ica,” Bald­win-as-Trump said in his open­ing state­ment. “I am go­ing to be so good tonight. I am go­ing to be so calm and so pres­i­den­tial.”

With a boast and a locker-room joke, Bald­win im­me­di­ately cap­tured Trump’s style. Later, Bald­win hit on three other Trump habits – re­peat­ing phrases, mak­ing ex­cuses and ped­dling con­spir­acy the­o­ries: “My mi­cro­phone is bro­ken. She broke it. With Obama. She and Obama stole my mi­cro­phone. They took it to Kenya. They took my mi­cro­phone to Kenya, and they broke it, and now it’s bro­ken.”

Other jokes cen­tred on Trump’s hair, his pro­nun­ci­a­tion of “China” and his de­bate-night snif­fles. It was funny stuff, but it is un­likely to sat­isfy crit­ics such as co­me­dian Sa­man­tha Bee, who a cou­ple weeks ago shred­ded NBC for nor­mal­is­ing Trump through shows like Satur­day Night Live.

“To its credit,” Bee said on her weekly TBS show, “NBC did sever ties with Trump af­ter he called Mex­i­cans rapists – if by sev­er­ing ties you mean invit­ing him on their flag­ship com­edy pro­grams to show mil­lions of Amer­i­cans what a fun guy he is.”

Last June, NBC said it was end­ing its busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with Trump, who had been the long­time host of The Ap­pren­tice and the net­work’s part­ner on tele­casts of the Miss USA and Miss Uni­verse pageants. Five months later, how­ever, the net­work in­vited Trump to host Satur­day Night Live, and the real es­tate mogul has ap­peared with Jimmy Fal­lon on The Tonight Show three times since Septem­ber 2015.

Some late-night shows, in­clud­ing Bee’s Full Frontal, have taken an op­po­si­tional, hard-edge ap­proach to Trump com­edy. Even on NBC, Seth Mey­ers – a for­mer SNL cast mem­ber – has de­scribed Trump as “a race-bait­ing, xeno­pho­bic se­rial liar who ped­dles con­spir­acy the­o­ries and thinks the Na­tional En­quirer is a real news­pa­per”.

As it be­gins a new sea­son with barely a month to go be­fore Elec­tion Day, Satur­day Night Live looks like it will avoid such com­men­tary and stick to more light­hearted laughs.

Photo: AFP

Don­ald Trump cama­paigns on Septem­ber 30, a day be­fore Bald­win’s im­per­son­ation skew­ered him lightly on live TV.

Photo: Face­book/Boom 99.7

Alec Bald­win plays Don­ald Trump in a Satur­day Night Live sketch on Oc­to­ber 1.

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