Baldwin to stop playing Trump

Actor Alec Baldwin had been playing United States President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
Actor Alec Baldwin had been playing United States President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • It is an impersonation so biting that United States President Donald Trump himself has publicly, and repeatedly, criticised it - and one that has coincided with a ratings revival for Saturday Night Live (SNL).

But Alec Baldwin says he would not don that blond wig and giant red tie much longer.

Baldwin, who debuted his Trump impersonation in October during the US general election, signalled that his time as the commander-in-chief will be coming to an end soon.

"The maliciousness of this White House has people very worried, which is why I'm not going to do it much longer by the way, the impersonation," he told Extra on Monday. "I don't know how much more people can take it, you know."

The last time he played Mr Trump on SNL was on Feb 11, when he was guest host. As candidate, Mr Trump tweeted that Baldwin's impersonation "stinks". Even after winning, he could not stop complaining about it, telling television journalist Matt Lauer that he likes Baldwin, but "I don't think that his imitation of me gets me at all and it's meant to be very mean-spirited, which is very biased, and I don't like it".

For his part, Baldwin is also no fan of Mr Trump's performance as President and has previously offered to stop his impersonation if Mr Trump releases his tax returns.

"Trump just overwhelmingly lacks any sportsmanship. He remains bitter and angry," the actor said on Extra. "And you want to look at him and go, 'You won.' His policies aside, which you can hate, I thought he would have just relaxed and said, hey man, there's a style the President has to have."

If Baldwin steps down as Mr Trump, that may put NBC's late- night comedy show in a bit of a bind.

Taran Killam used to play Mr Trump, but the show did not renew his contract for its 42nd season. And SNL veteran Darrell Hammond, who revived his nearly 20-year-old impersonation of the Republican beginning in 2015, is now the show's announcer.

More recent episodes have also shown how the show is relying on pinch hitters such as actress Melissa McCarthy and focusing on a broader cast of characters to tackle the political headlines of the week.

There is another potential gig for Baldwin's Mr Trump: the White House correspondents' dinner.

Last week, the actor told talk- show host Jimmy Kimmel he was not "not lobbying" to play Mr Trump at the event, teasing that something like that could be in the works. But on Monday, he tampered down speculation that he would show up, telling Extra he would "probably do it" if the association asked, but he did not "think it's going to happen".

"I don't think they want that, for their prestige and integrity," he said. "A lot of people are thinking if Trump himself doesn't come and face the music, as it were... I don't know what kind of programme they're going to have."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Baldwin to stop playing Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe