“It’s great to be here at Saturday Night Live, but I’ll be completely honest,” Donald Trump said when he first hosted SNL in 2004, during the smash first season of The Apprentice. “It’s even better for Saturday Night Live that I’m here.… I’m a ratings machine.”
That machine will be in overdrive when Trump again hosts SNL, on November 7. But this time, it will surely be better for the GOP presidential front-runner than for SNL. No matter how much he jacks up their ratings, no matter how much the SNL writers wave Sarah Palin’s scalp at the man who cannot be scalped, it’s Donald Trump who stands to benefit.
It was only in June that NBC and parent company Comcast (as well as Macy’s, ESPN, NASCAR, and other companies) took the bold step of cutting ties with Trump for, essentially, calling Mexicans rapists, criminals and drug dealers. Just appearing on NBC’s liberalish SNL will vet him as, if nothing else, Not Too Racist for Prime Time.
Letting Trump host “will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments,” the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40 Hispanic organizations, wrote in letter to SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels and NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke on Oct. 15. “NHLA had praised NBCUniversal, when it severed its ties with Donald Trump,” it read. “We are appalled that you would enable Trump’s hateful speech for nothing less than a ratings ploy and ask that you rescind the SNL invitation.”
Even Shep Smith on Fox News got into it. “Nice job, NBC,” Smith said. “You made a stand! You stood for your values! You did what you must! Forget the money, no more Trump, except… more Trump! You did a great job. We’re all proud of you, NBC.”
To make matters worse, SNL‘s commitment to diversity has always been laughable. In its 41 years on the air, the show has had only two Latino cast members—Horatio Sans and Fred Armisen (whose mother is Venezuelan)—and not one Latina. In 2014, SNL was shamed into hiring its first black female cast member since 2007. They now have two. As for Asian Americans, Margaret Cho says, “People come at me and say, ‘Oh, Fred Armisen is a quarter Japanese, Rob Schneider is half Filipino.’ Yeah, that makes three-quarters of an Asian American” in 41 years.