When Alec Baldwin is after you, it seems there is little you can do to stop him from making fun of the very idea that you exist. In the case of Donald Trump, however, you can tell there’s something far more personal going on, a vendetta of sorts that Baldwin isn’t shy about discussing. It’s what makes his take on the President on SNL so easy to enjoy: you can tell there are stakes in this for him, that he’s not just going through the motions to make his bread. No one will be able to touch Melissa McCarthy‘s sensational take on poor Sean Spicer, but unlike, say, Kate McKinnon‘s dopey Jeff Sessions, Baldwin’s Trump feels unique to him and his oft-discussed political perspective.
On the other hand, there is a sense of pestering repetition going on here and the writers haven’t really figured out a way to expand the character alongside Baldwin. This was hugely – sorry, yugely – apparent in last night “Coal Country” cold open, as well as the recent Independence Day parody that they cooked up. An exception, however, must be made for last night’s parody of The O’Reilly Factor, the most popular show on America’s foremost propaganda network.
The real treat in the sketch, which you can take a gander at below, is Baldwin taking on the role of Bill O’Reilly, an untalented newsman and unrepentant harasser of women, who saw advertisers run screaming from his show last week after word of a series of settled sexual harassment suits filed against him came out. As O’Reilly, Baldwin gets the self-excusing and false professionalism that the host oozes nightly spot-on, though he doesn’t quite get at the risible self-aggrandizement and devoted love for the Fox News brand that has made O’Reilly a kind of alpha-dog amongst the conservative pundits…for now. Nevertheless, Baldwin shows skill at differentiating the characters through body language and delivery – he’s got O’Reilly’s nauseating smirk down to a T. I’m hoping that the show gives more of these big roles to its actual cast in the coming weeks but for now, it’s good to have Baldwin back in the hideous hairpiece and orange-brown face-smear.
Here’s the sketch from last night’s Saturday Night Live: