Presidential parodies are an inevitable element of the typical Saturday Night Live episode. Rather than a regular cast member stepping into the president's shoes during the ongoing administration, Alec Baldwin has played Donald Trump since the 2016 presidential election campaign. He doesn't emerge in full wig and suit as often as he did ahead of the election, but will Alec Baldwin play Trump on SNL Season 45? The star is apparently over playing the role, so what does that mean for Studio 8H's Oval Office?
Baldwin teased the retirement of his Trump impersonation in an interview with USA Today, saying, "I can't imagine I would do it again. I just can't. They should find somebody who wants to do it. They're all my dear friends and I love going there, but the other thing is that I'm going to go to work this fall in a way I haven't done in a while ... SNL just crushes my weekends, and now weekends are going to become much more precious to me because that's time with my kids."
Baldwin first played Trump on the sketch variety show in September 2016 after cast member Taran Killam and former SNL actor Darrell Hammond had portrayed the presidential candidate in earlier stages of his campaign. In 2017, he won an Emmy Award for his impression while SNL star Kate McKinnon also scooped up a prize after a season of playing Hillary Clinton opposite Baldwin's Trump. Baldwin last appeared on SNL in its May 18 season finale, but his cold open sketch featuring a parody of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" didn't exactly allude to being the equivalent of his SNL farewell.
In the interview, Baldwin also talked about who could replace him in the position, singling out Hammond's long-running, acclaimed Trump imitation and The President Show's Anthony Atamanuik. In Baldwin's eyes, it seems that because he has little invested in his SNL imitation and how it affects his career, someone worthier should take over. He told USA Today:
It also was something I thought to myself: 'I really don't have a lot invested in my Trump impersonation, so please find someone and convince Lorne [Michaels] to replace me.' I'm completely down with that. Winning the Emmy for that show aside, it was not some career goal of mine. So if [Atamanuik] wants the job, it's his. He can have it. I've done that. I mean, I had a lot of fun with [the cast], and when Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider wrote [Trump sketches in 2016 and 2017], that was new, it was fresh and the ratings were good. But I feel like I'm done with that now. I'm so done with that.
So, nothing's official, but it definitely sounds like Baldwin won't have the time or the desire to stop by every now and then to deliver faux presidential messages. SNL cast member Pete Davidson once revealed that every male cast member had to audition to play Donald Trump in 2015. Clearly, those didn't go so well, but with several new additions to the cast since then, perhaps SNL will stick to one of its own actors to replace Baldwin. Plus, devout fans know that Leslie Jones is up for the gig any time.
They'll have to wait and see if Baldwin's exit is confirmed, but I'm up for an official handing over of the Trump wig if he ends up passing the role to someone else. Season 45 of Saturday Night Live premieres on NBC this fall.