Here at The Renaissance Fan we try very hard to avoid politics. Our site is devoted to sports, movies, and TV fandom. But there are rare moments when politics and entertainment intersect and we are called to action. We try to remain non-partisan in these instances and simply report the facts. And in this case the fact of the matter is this: if Donald Trump wins the presidency, we will have elected one of the worst hosts in the history of Saturday Night Live.
Does it matter if a president is not funny and is a bad SNL host? Probably not. But in the interest of democracy and having a fully-informed electorate, allow us to describe to you just how historically bad Donald Trump was at hosting SNL. And this will not be an arbitrary assessment. Prepare to be scienced.
There have been 809 episodes of Saturday Night Live leading up to this current season and 550 different people have been lucky enough to host the show. These are mostly actors and comedians, but occasionally politicians or celebrities are asked to host as well. The “celebrity/politician” group is perhaps the best category to put Trump into. In November of 2015, when his bid to be the Republican Party presidential nominee still seemed like a novelty, Trump was asked to host SNL. By inviting Trump, who was fresh off of calling Mexicans rapists and spending years pushing birtherism, NBC took a tremendous amount of crap. Trump’s reputation for spectacle created a ratings win for SNL but the on-stage product was a historical stinker for the show. “The Donald’s” turn at hosting ranked among the worst of all time based on IMDb ratings of individual episodes. Here’s the list of the 10 worst hosts in SNL history:
(out of 10)
|Rosie O’Donnell||19 and 22||3.9 and 3.8|
|Cuba Gooding Jr.||24||3.5|
You’ll notice that most of the hosts joining Trump on the worst-ever list appeared in seasons 28-30, which was a time of transition for the cast (from the Will Ferrell led years into the Fred Armison/Kristen Wiig years) that had lower overall ratings. What makes Trump’s accomplishment all the more impressive is that he was supported by a strong cast when he hosted; Trump’s episode excluded, Season 41 had an average IMDB rating of 7.0/10, nearly double that of the Trump episode.
If you need proof that human existence is all just some cosmic joke, reexamine the above list one more time, paying special attention to who ranked just above Donald Trump. That’s right, of all the possible celebrities that have hosted the show over the last 4 decades it is Donald Trump’s inexplicable arch-nemesis Rosie O’Donnell who holds a spot that is just a bit higher than The Donald (she actually has two episodes that rank very closely together on the all-time worst list). Meaning that when it comes to hosting SNL, people do not like Rosie O’Donnell… but they like Trump less. Other notables in the list include the ever-popular Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton.
Why does the Trump episode rate so low? Well, almost all the reasons point back to the man himself in one way or another. First, he is not a trained entertainer, though he seems to have a strong interest in being liked and having an audience despite that fact. Second, he is a politician now, meaning that in our ultra-partisan society half the country is going to dislike whatever he does regardless of if it is actually good or not. But, we know it’s not just politics that led to Trump’s low rating, and here’s how: Trump hosted another episode back in 2004, long before he ran for political office, and that episode was terrible too! It got an IMDb rating of 4.9, good for the 30th lowest rating of all time. Which leads to the conclusion that Donald Trump is just not that funny. And a large part of that may be because much of the image Donald Trump has built for himself is inherently not funny. He is seen as self-conscious, vain, litigious, aggressive, and ignorant. None of these are qualities of a great comedian. And politicians can be funny, like him or not, Barack Obama knows how to deliver a joke (even though he does not write his own material). His White House Correspondence Dinner speeches from over the years are genuinely funny and refreshingly self-deprecating (fair warning, in this clip they happen to be at Trump’s expense, just to bring this all full circle). With this experience Obama would probably make for a decent SNL host, and with his impending retirement he will certainly have the time to do it.
This has been a public service announcement from The Renaissance Fan. Consider yourself to now be an informed voter.