Last summer, before Baldwin had started playing Trump, author Malcolm Gladwell used another iconic SNL impression—Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin—to denounce what he viewed as the show’s “toothless” satire problem. Like Baldwin, Fey would often just repeat what Palin had actually said for comic effect. “They want the laugh, so they make fun of the way she talks,” Gladwell said on his podcast. “But the way she talks is not the problem.” The same could be said for Baldwin’s Trump.
And that’s the same critique that John Oliver levied this week on Late Night with Seth Meyers, albeit without naming Baldwin or SNL. “It’s easy to do bad comedy, because you just need to repeat what he says,” Oliver said. “And that’s not a joke, that’s repetition. Whereas comedy, especially if you want to try to do something that’s not just happening online all the time, is an effort.”