Was this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live season finale the last time we’ll see Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump?
The parody of The Sopranos, which like the series finale of that show ended in a hard cut to black, would be a fitting end to Baldwin’s Emmy Award-winning run as Trump. The implication was that the president got “whacked” by Robert De Niro’s Robert Mueller, a fate that could well befall the real president before SNL returns for its 44th season this fall.
During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan on Friday morning, Baldwin officially replied “no comment” when presented with the rumors that he might be done. But pressed to go further than that, he seemed to admit that it could be the case.
“It does crash every weekend you have with your kids,” Baldwin, who has four young children with wife Hilaria, said. “I enjoy doing it, but what’s going to happen in the future? I don't know where I’m going to working, where I’m going to be.”
Baldwin said that The Sopranos ending “could be” foreshadowing, “but who knows what’s going to happen, if I do it again or don’t do it again.” Then he added a telling statement: “They should get somebody who can do it all the time.”
Dating back to 2008, when Lorne Michaels brought in Tina Fey as an outside ringer for Sarah Palin, SNL has increasingly relied on big celebrity cameos to play major political figures. It has been a boon for the show, with audiences going nuts over Baldwin as Trump or Larry David as Bernie Sanders. But even as De Niro’s Mueller and Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen returned for this past week’s cold open, Fey, who was hosting the show, mocked the trend during her monologue.
Taking questions from an audience filled with stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Anne Hathaway and more, Fey acknowledged ironically that yes, it does “hurt the show a little bit” to have “too many celebrity cameos” because it means the full-time cast members don’t “have a chance to grow.”
That was certainly true for former cast member Taran Killam who played Trump during the early GOP primaries, only to be replaced first by SNL alum Darrell Hammond and then by Baldwin once the general election began.
Appearing on a live taping of the progressive podcast Pod Save America at Radio City Music Hall this week, former SNL writer Seth Meyers said Baldwin’s impression was a “perfect impression for if [Trump] lost.” In other words, it was never meant to go on this long.
And despite the wide acclaim and adoration he has received for an impression that has not exactly aged well, Baldwin himself has never seemed entirely comfortable with his role as America’s Trump impersonator.
On Election Day 2016, as he prepared for a Hillary Clinton victory, Baldwin said in an interview that he “hoped” he would never have to play Trump again. A year and a half later, he’s still at it, despite publicly worrying that he is making the president “too cuddly” and arguing that celebrities who oppose Trump should do more than just “lampoon” him.
After a rocky and somewhat problematic preview episode this spring, Baldwin’s new longform interview show on ABC is set to have its official premiere in September, just before SNL comes back on the air. Assuming Trump is still in the Oval Office then, perhaps he will finally choose to step aside and give someone else a chance to define this next chapter on SNL.