‘SNL’ is tougher on Trump than past presidents, but NBC won’t let up anytime soon, experts say

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has satirized presidents and political figures for decades, but the White House's current tenant thinks the show is too one-note, and nothing more than a Democrat-funded TV commercial. “A REAL scandal is the one-sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It … Continue reading “‘SNL’ is tougher on Trump than past presidents, but NBC won’t let up anytime soon, experts say”

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has satirized presidents and political figures for decades, but the White House's current tenant thinks the show is too one-note, and nothing more than a Democrat-funded TV commercial.

“A REAL scandal is the one-sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials," Trump tweeted after Saturday night's season finale. "Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?”

Some critics agree about the one-sided part, at least. DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that “SNL” is “clearly designed as much as a political commentary show as it is a comedy, entertainment show,” but he doesn’t think NBC honchos seem to mind.

“The left-leaning bits are designed to appeal to a certain audience segment and it has been successful in reaching that audience. This sort of political satire has long roots in American culture, of course,” McCall said. “The one-sided nature of the comedy does mean that the show will have trouble finding broad appeal, but ‘SNL’ has a loyal niche following and the support of most socio-cultural critics. Thus, NBC is hardly worried that Trump supporters might be offended or tune out.”

The 2018 finale seemingly infuriated Trump with a sketch featuring returning guest stars Alec Baldwin as Trump, Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen, Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller and Matt Damon as Brett Kavanaugh. The “It’s a Wonderful Life” parody featured a world wherein Baldwin’s Trump was never elected president of the United States.

As each person from his administration approaches, Trump learns that him not being president worked out for the benefit of everyone. For example, the sketch suggested that he and Melania got a divorce and remarried others, Kavanaugh never made it onto the Supreme Court and Mueller was able to spend more time with his kids instead of having to “investigate some idiot for treason.” The sketch also envisioned a Muslim immigrant from Syria discovering a cure for baldness and transgender Navy SEALs stopping terrorism.

McCall says Trump is an easy target and mocking him fits the “political objectives of the ‘SNL’ hierarchy,” so viewers shouldn’t expect the NBC program to tone it down anytime soon since it's not illegal to lampoon the president. But he also noted the late-night fixture has seriously sharpened its knives for the sitting commander in chief compared to big Democratic political fish.

“Surely, ‘SNL’ has had fun with content about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the tone has not been nearly as charged as with the attacks on Trump,” McCall said. “’SNL’ is exercising its comedic and political free speech license to take on political personalities and issues as it sees fit, so Trump and his supporters should not expect any sort of balance. If anything, expect ‘SNL’ to give Trump a very rough time heading into the 2020 election season.”

"Surely, ‘SNL’ has had fun with content about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the tone has not been nearly as charged as with the attacks on Trump"

— Jeffrey McCall

“Saturday Night Live” has featured everything from Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford, Dan Aykroyd as Jimmy Carter, Joe Piscopo and Phil Hartman playing Ronald Reagan, Dana Carvey’s legendary portrayal of George H.W. Bush, Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton, Will Ferrell as George W. Bush and Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama – but none of the past POTUS impressions were seen as mean-spirited as Baldwin’s Trump.

Comedian Tim Young told Fox News that “SNL” treated both Obama and Clinton with reverence and admiration, as opposed to the current treatment of Trump.

“Their satirizing of Obama was lighthearted and fun, and came from a place of respect for the man. I can’t recall an episode where they belittled him, his family or his career,” Young said. “In Hillary's case, I think they jumped the shark and nearly granted her sainthood.”

Young criticized the show’s decision to open the first episode after Trump’s 2016 election victory with Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton singing “Hallelujah.”

“Their satirizing of Obama was lighthearted and fun, and came from a place of respect for the man"

— Tim Young

“It wasn’t funny and it actually made no sense for the comedy show to have a 'sad that she lost' cold open,” Young said.

Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor agrees with Trump that “SNL” has been a “Democrat spin machine,” for decades but likens it more with to “a garbage disposal.”

“’SNL’ mocked Obama occasionally, including taking digs at Obamacare and his Ebola Czar. But, when they fired cast member Jay Pharoah, who did the Obama impersonation, he noted they didn’t care about making fun of [Obama],” Gainor said. “Now contrast that with SNL’s anti-Trump insanity where they brought in an A-list actor, Alec Baldwin, to mock Trump and the show is constantly running skits attacking the president. Calling it a spin machine is being nice.”

The Washington Post recently examined at how past presidents have handled being parodied by “SNL,” which noted that Ford didn’t appreciate being portrayed as a klutz but “embraced the shtick” for the most part – which is the strategy of most presidents.

“It was a strategy that most media-age image consultants would hail as a no-brainer: Hide your pique, show you can take a joke, don’t let your bruised feelings become the next story. It was more or less the way every subsequent president has handled his NBC doppelganger. Until now. President Trump doesn’t laugh,” Post feature writer Steve Hendrix said.

"Yes, the media deliberately misleads and spins. It’s legal, and it needs to remain legal. The 1st Amendment is the backbone of American exceptionalism"

— Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw

Hendrix pointed out that while Carter’s portrayal was less-than-flattering and Reagan largely ignored the show, Carvey and H.W. Bush became close friends and Clinton “seemed at ease” with the show. Meanwhile, George W. embraced the show and the Post admitted that Obama “may have never felt much need to push back on the comparatively calm, drama-free renditions” of his presidency.

A plethora of public figures on both sides of the aisle poked fun at Trump for appearing bothered by the show.

Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) wrote, “Yes, the media deliberately misleads and spins. It’s legal, and it needs to remain legal. The 1st Amendment is the backbone of American exceptionalism.”

"Every analysis and study around coverage of the president is overwhelmingly negative, but this is ridiculous. Particularly the SNL part,” The Hill media reporter Joe Concha responded to Trump’s tweet.

Meanwhile, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel agreed with the president and tweeted a clip to the “SNL” segment along with a pro-Trump message.

“Will liberals in Hollywood ever recognize that life is better for millions of Americans under @realDonaldTrump? Wages are up, unemployment is down, and industries like manufacturing are booming after years of decline,” Romney McDaniel wrote.

Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

Bryan Cranston urges people to ‘get mad’ if they want social change

On Monday night, Bryan Cranston appeared on “The Late Show” and spoke about what makes him “mad as hell.”

Cranston, who is currently starring in a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1976 film “Network,” described how prevalent the 40-year-old script from screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky is today.

“It is something that brings you back to the 1970s and ships you back into 2018 quickly,” Cranston told host Stephen Colbert. “So a lot of things that we discuss, you know, in the show about being addicted to whatever the modern technology is at the time… or how about ‘fake news,’ that’s an element we deal with. And the manipulation of audiences by having a news outlet having an agenda of what their audience [listens] to. It’s really, very prescient from what he was writing.”

The Emmy and Tony award-winning actor revealed that the line “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” made famous by Peter Finch, who went on to win the Oscar, wasn’t actually the line as written by Chayefsky. In fact, it was originally, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” and Finch was so exhausted that director Sidney Lumet used what he had in the film, which frustrated Chayefsky because Finch forgot to say the first “as.” Now Cranston bellows that line on a weekly basis as Finch’s character, Howard Beale.

“As an actor who has to call upon his own emotional truth for that moment, what are you mad as hell about and will not take any more, Bryan Cranston?” Colbert asked.

“I think what makes me angry is people accepting duplicity and the diminishment of integrity and lack of accountability that we’re finding now in our society,” Cranston responded.

The “Breaking Bad” star went on to express his frustration with how “anger” is not socially accepted.

“I think there’s a lot of discoveries an actor makes when developing a character, but one of the things that I didn’t quite pick up on in London but I’m really keening in now is the social non-acceptance of the emotion of anger. To be mad,” Cranston elaborated. “We accept intolerance, we accept irritability, we accept irascibility and things like that, but anger, true anger, displayed socially is not acceptable.

"And perhaps what we do need, as Howard Beale says, 'First, you’ve got to get mad. And when you’re mad enough, then we’ll figure out what to do with it.' Then social change can actually take place is when you get mad. And perhaps when you see injustice like we do often these days, you don’t want to be tolerant. You don’t want to be acceptant of that. You want to say, ‘No, this makes me angry, it is wrong, and we have to stand up and do something about it.’”

Cranston later described how our “knee-jerk” reaction in society is to smile instead of just “be there” and being “honest” with ourselves.

“In this society, we always want to show things that are positive. Be good, be happy, smile,” Cranston continued. “You know, when people see someone crying, often you’ll hear, ‘Oh, don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.’ And it’s like, ‘No, they should cry.’ They’re suffering a loss or sadness or something as opposed to just putting your arm around them allowing them to feel what they’re feeling at that moment.”

“Maybe cry with them,” Colbert suggested.

“Cry with them,” Cranston agreed. “Or be angry with them.”

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Democrats for having ‘old men’ Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders as 2020 front-runners

On Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel had some fun at the expense of the crop of potential Democratic candidates who are currently weighing a presidential run in 2020.

A new Harvard/Harris poll released Monday showed former Vice President Joe Biden leading the pack with 28 percent of support among Democrat and independent voters. Former 2016 presidential candidate and Sen. Bernie Sanders came in second with 21 percent, while Rep. Beto O’Rourke, fresh from his defeat against Sen. Ted Cruz in last month’s midterms, placed third with 7 percent of the vote.

Kimmel shared the results of the poll with his audience, noting that “everyone is trying to figure out” who the Democrats will nominate to face off against President Trump.

“The top choices right now are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke; two old men and a baby,” Kimmel quipped. “Biden, Bernie and Beto are the front-runners in that order. Biden, Bernie and Beto sounds like the law firm that would represent Kermit the Frog in his divorce from Miss Piggy.”

The ABC late-night star joked that Biden and Sanders have “huge support” from one of the left’s key demographics: “Old men who fall asleep at movie theaters.”

Kimmel even mocked the former vice president, who this week boasted that he was the “most qualified person in the country to be president.”

“Joe Biden said yesterday he considers himself the most qualified person in the country to be president, which is cute that he thinks that matters to us,” Kimmel told his audience.

Kimmel then brought on “political correspondent” Mort Haskell (played by comedic actor Fred Willard) to weigh in on the deep bench of possible Democratic candidates.

"Heck of a field,” Haskell began. “Bernie, Biden, it energizes the party when young people have fresh ideas.”

“And by young people, you mean Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden?” Kimmel asked.

“Absolutely,” Haskell responded. “Those kids are just what the Democrats need to get the base fired up.”

Haskell shared his “dark horse” 2020 picks, which he said were published in last month’s edition of “Landline Enthusiasts.” His suggestions included former Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Wilford Brimley, who Kimmel notes is best known from “diabetes commercials.”

“If Wilford Brimley can balance our blood sugar, he could also balance the budget,” Haskell added.

While it remains uncertain how many candidates will truly run for the Democratic nomination, the race is already narrowing even before it began. Outspoken anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti announced this week that he was not going to seek the Democratic nomination, citing his decision was “out of respect for my family” and that he will continue to represent his client Stormy Daniels.

It has also been reported that former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will make an official announcement as early as this week that he will not run for president in 2020 either.

Trevor Noah would have advised Trump to keep his business going during campaign, calls Cohen ‘human Eeyore’

“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah gave a backhanded defense of President Donald Trump Thursday night in the wake of the latest reports of the Russia investigation.

In a new segment called “Mo Mueller, Mo Problems,” Noah addressed the latest bombshell from former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty for lying to Congress about the business dealings that took place between the Trump Organization and the Russian government on potentially developing a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election.

Noah began by comparing the Mueller investigation to the HBO drama “The Wire,” invoking the “long winding plot, a huge list of shady characters, wiretaps, secret phone calls” adding that the only thing “The Wire” has that the Mueller probe doesn’t is “black people."

He mocked “human Eeyore” Cohen and stressed how “important” his lie to Congress was.

Michael Cohen walks out of federal court, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in New York. (AP)

“This lie was way more important because it puts Trump’s contact with Russia much closer to him being president, alright?” Noah said to his audience. “In January 2016, Trump was just one of 17 possible morons who could become the GOP nominee. But by June, he was the only moron who could become the nominee.”

The Comedy Central star pointed out how Michael Cohen is the latest from Trump’s orbit to be charged for lying to investigators like Paul Manafort, Gen. Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos, but asked if they weren’t trying to “cover up any nefarious activities, why does everyone keep lying?”

He then pivoted to President Trump’s “explanation” to reporters, where he also called his former attorney a “weak person” and accused him of lying.

“I didn’t do the project. I decided not to do the project. So I didn’t do it.  So we’re not talking about doing a project. We’re talking about not doing a project,” Trump said about the 2016 discussions of Trump Tower Moscow. “Now here’s the thing. Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted to do during the campaign.”

“So according to the president, Cohen is lying and also not lying. Somehow it’s both,” Noah reacted. “And here, Trump’s the only person whose explanations include every possible outcome. It’s like one of those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books.”

Noah added that no president in modern history has “run for office while also working a side hustle.” (AP)

However, Noah did offer a lukewarm defense of the president when he acknowledged that there was a “good chance” that he wasn’t going to win the 2016 election, which was the reasoning behind his ongoing business dealings.

“I agree with him now!” Noah exclaimed. “In Trump’s defense, I understand why he did it. Like I would have told him to do the same thing. If in 2016 Trump came up to me and he’s like, ‘Trevor, do you think I should shut down my business in case I become president?’ I’d be like, ‘Donald, there’s no danger in that happening, my friend.’”

Noah added that this still looks “shady” and that no president in modern history has “run for office while also working a side hustle.”

Noah has been a frequent critic of Trump and his administration, going so far as to compare him to Hitler. Last week, he said "Trump lies so hard it gives my brain whiplash" and in October he placed on him part of the blame for the homemade bombs allegedly sent by Cesar Sayoc to Trump critics, reasoning that “if the President of the United States calls someone the enemy of the people, don’t be shocked when the people go after that enemy.”

Al Gore calls Donald Trump the ‘face of climate denial,’ says Americans are tired of president’s ‘constant craziness’

Former Vice President Al Gore called President Trump the "face of climate denial" during his appearance on “The Daily Show” Wednesday night.

Host Trevor Noah mocked Trump, joking about an interview Trump gave to the Washington Post in which the president said about climate change: “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself – we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”

Gore did not find Trump’s remarks a laughing matter.

“You know, it’s really significant, Trevor, that Donald J. Trump is now the face of climate denial,” Gore said. “And there are those who are still giving him their loyalty and trust, and I get that, believe me. But the vast majority of Americans, not to mention all around the world, are really kind of, they’ve had it with the constant craziness, if you want to call it that way.”

“I think we do want to call it that way,” Noah responded.

(AP)

“And when he’s the principle global face of climate denial, I think that’s a cue,” Gore continued. “You know, in physics, there’s this well-known principle, ‘For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.’ I think that some of the mobilization that is really building. We saw it in the election three weeks ago with the blue wave, I think part of that is a reaction to what Donald Trump is saying and doing.”

After leaving politics, Gore became well-known for his work to educate people on climate issues, and wrote and starred in the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" about global warming.

Earlier in the show, Noah had ripped the president’s “record clean” remark.

“Clearly, the president doesn’t believe in the science or the English because if you’re trying to say you’re too smart to believe in climate change, it doesn’t help when your argument ends with ‘It’s right now at a record clean,’” Noah told his audience. “Like, it makes him sound super dumb.”

(AP)

The Comedy Central star theorized that Trump was “so intelligent” that he’s “leaving English behind.” He went on to compare his newly-developed language to the aliens Amy Adams communicated in the 2016 sci-fi drama “Arrival.”

Gore is no stranger to late-night mockery himself, having been repeatedly skewered over the years for claiming during his own presidential campaign that he helped invent the Internet, something the Internet's early proponents Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf actually backed him up on in 2000, noting that Gore was indeed “the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development."

Jon Stewart calls Trump a ‘giant turd asteroid,’ says he’s glad he’s out of the ‘turd business’

On Tuesday night, liberal comedian Jon Stewart returned to TV in a pre-recorded “Late Show” special with his friend and former colleague, Stephen Colbert.

After jokingly asking Colbert if he thought Donald Trump was a “great president” or the “greatest president,” Stewart expressed that he doesn’t think Trump “likes the job” of being the leader of the free world but instead likes the “trappings of power.”

Colbert then spoke about the time he met Trump backstage on a late night show years ago, noting that he was just “a guy” then and not a candidate for president.

“Did the bluster seem charming in a sort of a ‘Music Man’ kind of a way?” Stewart asked.

“He wasn’t blustering at all,” Colbert responded. “He was just like, ‘Hey, nice to meet ya. Congratulations on the show.’ He wasn’t blustering at all… He’s got that gear of like just some guy you’d see someplace. That’s what he seemed like. Just some guy. And he was like, ‘Let’s take a picture.’ He was like all ready to take a picture. And orange like you couldn’t believe.”

The “Late Show” host then turned the tables on the former “Daily Show” host, asking him if he ever missed having a show that joked about politics on a constant basis now that Trump is president. Stewart responded by giving an elaborate analogy involving fecal matter.

“You and I both famously know — we were turd miners. We toiled in the turd mines… and we both lost many people close to us to turd lung,” Stewart said. “So working at ‘The Daily Show,’ I felt as though I was always toiling in the turd mines and then I finally quit and a giant turd asteroid heads towards the planet.”

Trevor Noah: ‘The Second Amendment was not made for black folks’

The “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah got serious Tuesday night on the subjects of guns, police and race.

During the program's “Unplugged” segment, Noah addressed the recent shooting at a mall in Hoover, Ala. that left one dead and two wounded on Thanksgiving night. The person killed by police, 21-year-old black Army veteran Emantic Bradford Jr., who was legally carrying a gun, was mistaken for the shooter and the real shooter could still be at large.

“The question I ask myself is how does this s**t keep happening? Cops are called into a situation, they see a black person, and then immediately they shoot,” Noah told his audience. “That’s what they did here. They ran in, they shot the guy, and then they were like ‘We got him.’”

"How many times have we seen a shooter who is white and a man get talked down?” he asked, citing the shooters in Aurora and Charleston. While noting other shooters have killed themselves, Noah said when it comes to black men, it’s “shoot immediately” and “ask questions later.”

‘If you’re a black man, you have no business bearing arms at all’

— Trevor Noah

“There are so many things that bug me about this story. Because by the looks of it, it sounds like this was a good guy with a gun. That’s what they always say, a ‘good guy with a gun stops the crime,’” Noah continued. “But if the good guy with a gun happens to be a black good guy with a gun, they don’t get any of the benefits.”

The late-night comedian slammed the Hoover Police Department for their statement declaring they got the shooter, a statement they later apologized for, and how multiple people had reportedly pulled out their guns but that the “only person who was shot by police was a black guy.”

Trevor Noah: Trump's 'superhuman stupidity' led president to discount his own administration's climate report

“At this point, you start to realize that really the Second Amendment is not intended for black people,” Noah said. “It’s an uncomfortable thing to say, but it’s the truth. Like people will be like ‘the right to bear arms.’ Yes, the right to bear arms if you’re not a black man. If you’re a black man, you have no business bearing arms at all."

The “Daily Show” host also cited a recent incident involving a black security guard who was shot and killed after being mistaken for an armed assailant.

“If you’re black and you’re a man in America, gun rights are not for you,” Noah reiterated. “If you’re a black person in America, gun rights are not for you. It’s as simple as that. In fact, the safest way to sell a black person a gun in America is to say that when you buy a gun you should buy a white person with it and they hold the gun for you.”

“Some bulls**t, but it’s the truth,” he added. “Second Amendment was not made for black folks. “

Stephen Colbert says he’d put on MAGA hat if Trump had ‘sensible fix’ to Obamacare

"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert revealed what it would take for him to put on a Make America Great Again hat.

The tables were turned on Colbert during Tuesday night's pre-taped special of his show where various “Late Show” guests including former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, actress Kerry Washington and CNN anchor Jake Tapper interviewed the host on his own show.

Colbert was asked by Charlamagne Tha God Colbert about Kanye West’s vocal support for President Donald Trump and "what would you wear the MAGA hat for?”

The question sent the CBS late-night star into deep thought as he squeezed a stress ball Charlamagne Tha God found in the drawer of Colbert’s desk.

Video

“A sensible fix to Obamacare,” Colbert eventually responded. “If he would support a sensible fix to Obamacare, because I think that’s the way that you could most improve the lives of the most Americans, is to give them Medicare for All. Medicare for All.”

Although Colbert is known for his animus towards this president, this isn’t the first time the liberal star was willing to offer an olive branch of sorts to Trump. He has repeatedly dismissed calls for Trump’s impeachment, saying that it wouldn’t be a “great idea” for Democrats to support despite his constant jokes about his impeachment during his opening monologues.

Earlier in the special episode, Colbert shared his experience meeting with Trump backstage on a late night show years ago, saying he was just “a guy” who didn’t bluster, something that took Jon Stewart by surprise during their interview.