The election is over, Donald Trump lost, and Alec Baldwin can put his labored presidential impersonation to rest. This past weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live might have been his swan song, and it culminated in a typically Baldwinian gesture, with the veteran actor holding up a sign exclaiming “YOU’RE WELCOME!!!”
There are factors that make the signage both more and less obnoxious. To Baldwin’s credit, it seems to have originated with the Trump schtick. After the show, he shared a picture of himself dressed as Trump and brandishing the sign while apparently haranguing visitors to NBC studios. The caption read, “It’s been fun.”
But on the other hand, he also held up the message on-air while out of costume, wearing a smile that oozed smugness. It was a moment that practically begged the audience to scream, “Thank you!” In the process, he upstaged co-star Maya Rudolph, who had hoisted her own sign wishing her daughter a happy birthday. And so Baldwin’s Trump run died as it lived: boldly, memorably, and with more enthusiasm than good taste.
We don’t mean to be too hard on Baldwin, whose only crime was being famous enough to get a job for which he was unqualified. His tightly-pursed lips and odd voice — a voice that sounded like the asthmatic love child of Yogi Bear and Eric Cartman — would have made a passable lampoon for any Zoom cocktail party. But SNL tries to employ the funniest mimics in the world, and it’s not hard to imagine a much, much better rendition. That’s true of Baldwin, too. In 2019 he named actors with superior Trump impressions, especially Darrell Hammond and Anthony Atamanuik.
Regardless, his crack comic timing at least helped sell the jokes, and his natural charm papered over many of his impersonation’s rough spots. He even won a 2017 Primetime Emmy for the role, which is a testament to a performance that was always more funny than faithful. Who knows? We might even miss him once he’s gone — though, like Trump, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him linger for a while. After all, he’s already tried to quit twice before, telling Extra in 2017 that “I’m not going to do it much longer,” and calling himself, “so done” with SNL in 2019.
But even if he returns next week or next month, the nation has a new president and the writing’s on the wall. As Baldwin tweeted after the election had been called for Biden, “I don’t believe I’ve ever been this overjoyed to lose a job before!”
This first post-election episode was hosted by Dave Chappelle. In a memorable opening monologue, he addressed Trump supporters, saying, “You have no problem wearing them at the Klan rally, wear them to Walmart, too.” As Jesse Hassenger noted for Consequence of Sound, Chappelle was just the latest stand-up comic to bring some much-needed edge to SNL. And all of those election-season eyeballs have attracted a starry crop of musical guests, most recently, Foo Fighters. On Saturday, Dave Grohl and friends debuted the new song “Shame Shame” and dusted off “Times Like These”.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) November 8, 2020
I don’t believe I’ve ever been this overjoyed to lose a job before!
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 7, 2020
It’s been fun. pic.twitter.com/iodKjbm2ie
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 8, 2020