Rob Schneider: Alec Baldwin’s angry Trump impression is hurting SNL
Former Saturday Night Live regular Rob Schneider has some pointed criticism of the NBC hit’s anti-Trump politics.
In a New York Daily News interview, Schneider lamented that the show used to be more politically ambiguous. “You kind of assumed they would lean more left and liberal, but now the cat’s out of the bag they are completely against Trump, which I think makes it less interesting because you know the direction the piece is going.”
Schneider, who was part of the regular cast from 1990-94, had particularly strong words about Alec Baldwin’s take on Donald Trump, calling it “hard to watch” due to Baldwin’s obvious dislike of the president.
“Alec Baldwin is a brilliant actor… he’s not a comedian,” Schneider said. “I don’t find his impression to be comical. Because, like I said, I know the way his politics lean, and it spoils any surprise. There’s no possible surprise. He so clearly hates the man he’s playing. … To me, the genius of Dana Carvey [playing George Bush on SNL] was Dana always had empathy for the people he played, and Alec Baldwin has nothing but a fuming, seething anger toward the person he plays.”
Ratings-wise, however, SNL has flourished in the Trump era. While NBC can’t attribute the show’s ratings to any particular performer, the first full season that featured Baldwin as Trump (2016-17) averaged 11.1 million viewers — the highest average viewership for SNL in 23 years, which is rather incredible in this day and age for a show to beat its performance from decades ago. The current season has fallen off a bit, but the show is still pulling 9.4 million viewers, the best for SNL at this point in the year since 1994.
The Daily News story noted that Schneider was longtime Democrat who has since shifted to being registered Independent and says he finds today’s “PC culture” too restrictive. “Literally if you don’t go the party line — you’re out. There’s a real ugliness to it.”