Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Credit: Will Heath/NBC
Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Saturday Night Live went through several different Donald Trump impersonators over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign. Taran Killam and Darrell Hammond gave it their best, but SNL‘s Trump parody only really seemed to click once Alec Baldwin took over in time to mock Trump’s presidential debates with Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon). In a recent interview with the New York Times, Baldwin finally revealed the secret to a pitch-perfect Trump impression. It has a lot to do with frequent pauses, or as Baldwin calls them, “puffs.”

“I see a guy who seems to pause and dig for the more precise and better language he wants to use, and never finds it,” Baldwin told the New York Times. “It’s the same dish — it’s a grilled cheese sandwich rhetorically over and over again.”

For Baldwin, the key to doing Trump isn’t thinking about the president-elect’s internal machinations but simply copying his physical performance: The puffs, the hand motions, the permanent frown. Baldwin has come under some fire for “normalizing” Trump’s behavior. But now that Trump is set to officially assume the presidency, Baldwin (an outspoken liberal who has made clear his personal opposition to Trump’s politics) thinks it’s more important than ever to mock him at high volume.

“I do recognize that that is a possibility,” Baldwin said. “But I think that now that he is the president, we have an obligation — as we would if it was him or her — to dial it up as much as we can.”

Read the full story here. Keep an eye out for Baldwin’s Trump when SNL returns on Jan. 14.

Episode Recaps

Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

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  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
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