The chance to host “Saturday Night Live” last night (Nov. 7) should have been a golden opportunity for Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and US presidential hopeful.
Ben Carson, a rival for the GOP nomination, has surged past him in the polls recently and sucked up all the oxygen in the news cycle with his bizarre belief about the pyramids and allegations that he has lied about his past.
But SNL was a perfect opportunity for Trump to yank back the spotlight, offering him the opportunity to capture millions of eyeballs as well as a venue to freely engage in his crude brand of politics under the guise of comedy.
The show, however, was most notable for how boring it was. And for a candidate who has built his campaign around showmanship, shock factor, and reaping the free media that always follows with it, boring could be the one thing Trump can’t afford right now.
From Trump’s opening monologue through the close of the show, it was all bland. “You’re brilliant, you’re handsome, you’re rich, you have everything going for you,” Trump said to the camera. “The world is waiting for you to be president. So, why are you hosting Saturday Night Live? The answer is I have really nothing better to do.” It felt like the real punchline was still to come, but no, that was all there was.
Among the other comedic flops: A lame jab at comedian Rosie O’Donnell, with whom he has a longstanding yet irrelevant feud; a fake TV spot about his wife campaigning to be first lady; and some goofy dancing in a parody of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video.
The funniest skit involving Trump didn’t even feature him: It centered on him live tweeting criticism of a skit. The bit could have run whether Trump was there or not.
Voters love Donald Trump’s mouth. It’s undoubtedly his biggest asset. His blunt, often offensive remarks about immigrants, Democrats, Republican rivals, and anyone or anything he dislikes have been a key ingredient in his widespread appeal.
And Trump’s mouth has also kept him at the top of the news cycle consistently. It has offered, if nothing else, controversy that the media can’t ignore—and doesn’t want to. But Trump’s mouth is also something of a trap, in that his campaign simply can’t survive if he shows signs of shutting it.