Donald Trump said this morning his appearance on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live as guest host originally was envisioned as a skit only. That would have given the GOP presidential race frontrunner about the same air time on the show as it had afforded to Dem frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“It started off as a skit, and I said ‘Alright, I’ll do it’,” Trump told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day. “When they took it up to Lorne Michaels – who’s an amazing guy, he’s run Saturday Night Live brilliantly for many years and hes’ a friend of mine – he said, ‘Well wait a minute, he’ll do the skit. Will he do the whole thing?'” And he called me and said, ‘Will you host Saturday Night Live‘ and I said, ‘It’s an honor.’
Some critics of the booking have chastized SNL and NBC over the disparity between how much air time Trump will get on the important late-night franchise and how much screen time was given to Clinton when she was a guest on the show’s season opener. Cuomo did not get into that, instead focusing on how surprised he had been that Trump got any SNL time at all, since Trump was “at war” with NBC.
“You’re never at war when you get great ratings with a network,’ Trump shot back. “Nobody gets ratings like me. Do you think you would have had 24 and 25 million people watching CNN and watching Fox? Do you think – if Rubio was there you would have had two people watching,” Trump added of CNN’s GOP debate.
“I did 60 Minutes a few weeks ago where they had Putin with me – great stablemates – and they got tremendous ratings on that show, among their the highest ratings, they did really well. And then Lorne called and he wanted me to do it. To me, hosting Saturday Night Live, getting 60 Minutes with the really good piece they gave, I think they’re iconic things.”
Cuomo noted Trump’s rival Ben Carson, who is leading him in some polls, said that he would never do SNL because being president is too serious to do a late night comedy show. Guess how Trump reacted?
“Ben Carson would have done it in two seconds if they asked him!” he began. “But if they asked him, nobody would watch. So they wouldn’t ask him! Because they are about ratings and they are about current culture. I saw that, where Ben Carson said, ‘Oh! I’m too serious to do Saturday Night Live. I would never do it.’ Give me a break! He would have done it in 2 seconds! He wouldn’t do 60 Minutes either because it’s not serious enough !” Trump snarked, continued as viewers mourned the fact it was a phone interview and they could not see the look on Trump’s face as he hissed out that line.
But Trump wasn’t done.
“If you look at Saturday Night Live, probably every president we’ve had for many years has done Saturday Night Live. So what Ben Carson said is a lot of bunk – and you know it!” Trump fumed.
“I’ll take your criticism on it,” Cuomo said dismissively. Mistake.
“No, you don’t have to take my criticism. You know it’s true,” Trump shot back. “Every single major politician in this country probably for 30 years has done Saturday Night Live — if they’re invited. But to do it, you have to be invited. And to the best of my knowledge Ben Carson has not been invited and probably won’t.”