Saturday Night Live made headlines last week when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted the show. The episode simultaneously brought in monster ratings and scathing reviews. Cast member Taran Killam, who had previously been in charge of SNL’s Trump impression, said the cast tried to close themselves off from outside feedback.
“Nobody knows what it takes to make the show unless you’re involved. So the feedback I look for [is from] my peers, the people I work with and the people I respect, and the rest of that is completely out of your control,” Killam tells EW. “If people hate things, there’s nothing you can do about that, and if people love things there’s nothing you can do about that. So I try to steer away from all outside opinion as much as possible.”
The build-up to Trump’s hosting gig featured some controversies — not just over the planned boycotts and protests, but also because of rumors that Trump nixed skits for political motives. Killam clarified the latter a bit, saying that final authority still rested with SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
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“Lorne won’t pressure people to do things that make them very uncomfortable, but at the same time Lorne is really the one who decides what does and doesn’t make it in the show,” Killam says. “Lorne’s philosophy is if someone’s willing to come and do the show, they’re a guest in our house and we should treat them as such. And I fully subscribe to that.”
Killam also revealed his favorite behind-the-scenes Trump moment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it involved the “Hotline Bling” parody, in which Trump danced and sang like Drake.
“We had to get his dialogue on a wild track and record it on the boom with no music,” Killam says. “So seeing Trump dressed as an accountant singing [impression voice], “You used to call me on the cellphooone” to absolute silence, and then looking over and seeing the head of his security losing his mind laughing, was a really special moment.”