Entertainment

Live from New York, Donald Trump hosts SNL amid protests

Amid high anticipation, sharp criticism and calls for Donald Trump to be dumped, the Republican presidential candidate hosted Saturday's SNL as scheduled.

Comedy show's decision to book a presidential candidate as host is almost unprecedented

During Donald Trump's opening Saturday Night Live monologue, he was heckled by someone offstage calling him a racist.

But it was comedian Larry David, who moments earlier had performed his own impersonation of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

"Larry, what are you doing?" Trump asked.

"I heard if I did that I would get $5,000," said David with a shrug, echoing an offer reportedly made by pro-Hispanic groups protesting Trump's appearance.

"As a businessman, I can fully respect that," Trump said.

Donald Trump hosts SNL amid protests

6 years ago
4:02
Controversial Republican presidential candidate had some hilarious moments on Saturday Night Live, CBC's Tashauna Reid reports 4:02

Amid high anticipation, sharp criticism and calls for Trump to be dumped, the Republican presidential candidate hosted Saturday's SNL as scheduled.

Despite a 40-year history of lampooning politicians while inviting some to mock themselves as on-air guests, booking a presidential candidate to host the NBC sketch-comedy show was almost unprecedented.

Previously, only eight politicians had served as guest hosts. Only one of those — the Rev. Al Sharpton, in 2003 — was actively involved in a presidential bid at the time. (Hillary Clinton appeared in last month's season premiere, but not as the host.)

The Saturday TV platform granted Trump fanned the flames of outrage sparked in June when he announced his Republican candidacy for president and described some Mexicans who are in the United States illegally as criminals and rapists.

NBC faced mounting pressure from a coalition of advocacy groups calling for Trump to be dropped from SNL for what one spokesman termed his "racist demagoguery."

This Nov. 3, 2015 photo provided by NBC shows, "Saturday Night Live" cast member Cecily Strong, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York. Trump hosted the show despite protests. (Dana Edelson/NBC via AP/Associated Press)

Hours before the show aired, dozens of protesters marched from Trump Tower to NBC's studio in Rockefeller Plaza, chanting in both English and Spanish and carrying signs. In Spanish, they chanted: "The people united shall never be defeated" and signs declared SNL racist.

"I feel like they're giving him a platform," said Hazel Hernandez, 26, who emigrated from El Salvador and now lives in Brooklyn. "I'm an immigrant myself, so I'm pretty outraged. I've been in this country for many years, and I'm outraged that they would let him host SNL. It's upsetting."

Trump's comments last summer spurred NBC to sever its Miss Universe ties with him while declaring he would never return to his Apprentice role.

Protesting Trump's SNL appearance

6 years ago
1:51
Activists demonstrate against Donald Trump as host of Saturday Night Live outside NBC Studios in New York City 1:51

But leading up to Saturday's broadcast, NBC did not respond to the outcry.

It wasn't Trump's first turn as guest host. The billionaire developer and media personality presided in April 2004, a few weeks after he debuted as host of NBC's The Apprentice.

Typically outspoken, Trump welcomed the controversy, predicting it would only boost his audience.

For candidate Trump, whose many interview and debate appearances have drawn large viewerships, a spike in this week's SNL ratings seemed assured.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now