Will We See Presidential Candidate Cameos on SNL in 2016?

The 2016 Presidential Election has been unconventional to say the least. Many of the usual customs have been abandoned including releasing tax returns, shaking hands before debates, and oh you know, agreeing to accept the results of the election. But there is another tradition that is in jeopardy too: presidential candidate cameos on SNL leading up to the election. SNL is three episodes into season 42, and while they have had plenty of material provided to them by the election, neither candidate has appeared in person this season (though both have appeared on it in the past). And time is running out for them to make another appearance with just 3 episodes left before election day.

Presidential candidate cameos on SNL have been a mixed bag. At times they have allowed candidates to poke fun at themselves (Al Gore saying ‘lock box’ in 2000, for example). At other times the appearance of the candidate effectively ends the show’s run of joking about them (Sarah Palin in 2008). Very often the cameos are not particularly funny and sound more like a stump speech than a joke, which may suit the candidates but is not necessarily popular with the audience. Regardless of the quality of these cameos they have become something we expect to see in the fall of a normal election year. But this being an abnormal election year the possibility of the presidential candidates doing cameos does not seem like a certainty.

The typical protocol for SNL in recent years is to give each candidate a shot to do a cameo, though not always during the same episode. However, given the blowback the show faced for having Donald Trump host during the Republican primary and the revelations since that time of his horrendous comments about women it seems less likely that Trump will be given an invite (even if he may be the one who would want it more).

Tonight’s episode will have Tom Hanks as the host, and like most actors he is a democrat and openly supports Hillary Clinton. This might make a Clinton cameo more likely tonight than one from Trump. The host for next week has not yet been announced by the show. Reading the political and entertainment tea leaves, we predict that Hillary Clinton will have a cameo sometime in the next two weeks and Donald Trump will not be invited back to the show.

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