One of the few highlights of the 2016 president election were the jokes that came out of it, including Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of President-elect Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” But while many found Baldwin’s impression on the NBC series to be funny, singer Michael Stipe believes it may have had a negative effect.
The former lead singer of rock group R.E.M. appeared on Baldwin’s talk show, “Here’s the Thing,” on Tuesday ahead of the election results reveal and discussed Trump’s presidential candidacy and the role the media played in it.
“It is so sad that we have allowed ourselves to sink to this level of, really entertainment, that’s what it is. I blame the media completely for it, including ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Stipe said, taking some of his anger out on Baldwin.
Stipe then proceed to ask Baldwin what it was like to portray Trump on the show. “What does it feel like from inside? What does it feel like playing that character?” Stipe asked. “It’s satire, it’s brilliantly done but it’s still adding to the push of… Warhol said, ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity.’ How have we created this monster?”
The singer and activist went on to ask if Americans created “this monster” and if they played a role in putting their “particular American brand on this thing.” Baldwin revealed that when he was first approached by “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels to play the role, he turned it down. “Because in order to do that effectively, you need to have at least some appreciation of the person,” he said. “For which Trump I have none.”
Although Baldwin didn’t want to take the role, he revealed that after portraying Trump, many people came up to him and thanked him for giving them a laugh. “I have had a wave of people… it’s kind of unsettling to me actually how many people come up to me all day long and they thank me because they needed something to laugh about. They needed a release.”