Alec Baldwin made his debut as Donald Trump in last night's season premiere of Saturday Night Live, in a cold open devoted to the Trump/Hillary Clinton debate from last week (what else could it have been!).
And Baldwin immediately hit it out of the park with his impression, emphasizing Trump's monstrously-emphatic orange face and gesticulations in a sketch that did not have to stretch the humor much beyond what was actually said at the debate. That came across in moments like when he recounted Trump's story about telling Sean Hannity he was against the Iraq War: "I leaned in and whispered in his ear, ‘I’m against the war.’ He leaned in and said, ‘Me too,'" Baldwin-as-Trump said. "Next thing I know I was kissing Sean Hannity."
This was a marked upgrade from Darrell Hammond's performance last season as Trump, which had become pretty stale in the face of Trump's increasing lunacy. Baldwin definitely added an edge which is likely to make the next month's worth of shows leading up the election must-see-late-night-TV-on-the-weekends-assuming-you-don't-have-a-social-life, in-which-case-it's-more-like-must-see-Sunday-morning-clips.
Kate McKinnon, the de facto star of SNL now, perfected her Hillary impression last season, and showed no signs of boredom or complacency this episode, starting the sketch energetically with a pneumonia-laden Clinton performing a revitalizing Willy Wonka-esque tumble.
Check back for a full recap and clips from the rest of the very good season premiere in a bit!