Saturday Night Live has been a hotbed of political satire for years and in this season has had a huge amount of material available to it from one of the most unorthodox and controversial White Houses for years. But news this week may show that there are times when satire may not be enough to overcome reality.


This season Alec Baldwin has won rave reviews for his impersonation of President #Donald Trump. Although the businessman become politician has not hidden his disdain and at times anger at the impersonation the ratings for the actor’s sketches have shown that the public have appreciated and understood its underlying messages and concerns.

Yesterday Baldwin told the Press Association that it was probably time to retire the successful routine. Part of an actor’s job is to know the limits of routines and when is the right time to stop; that moment may have come for Baldwin on Saturday Night Live. He will continue the impersonation until the end of the season and then decide.


Baldwin stated that one of the reasons was that Donald Trump seemed to be immune to satire. While some Presidents, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, enjoyed the ribbing and were often self deprecatory, the 45th President has shown little sympathy for anything that he feels impinges on his image.

Yet Baldwin’s comments are also just as much political as they were artistic when he also stated that by September the national frame of mind will be very different.

We do not know the timing of the interview, whether it was before or after Thursday’s revelations regarding the investigations into the allegations of Russian hacking of the presidential election and in particular the reported offer by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to testify to the two House Intelligence Committees and the FBI, but the allusions to political developments are obvious on the part of the actor.


Satire plays an important role not only in giving messages to the public and politicians but also in lessening tensions during difficult periods nationally and the six months that separate us from the presidential election have truly been a difficult period for the country.

The public protests at the Moslem ban and the proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and the unease of many citizens in regards to the investigations of collusion of some members of the Trump team with Russian agents have created a climate of conflict within the community.

This split is also reflected in the very open splits even within the Republican Party.

If this atmosphere is such that even a satirist must consider whether or not his most popular role is appropriate, then this is a sign that should worry the country’s leaders.


In revealing his own discomfort about the developments Baldwin is expressing the feelings of many other citizens at the revelations over the last few months and we can all hope that the country will have definitive answers in the near future in regards to the revelations. Sadly this seems unlikely.

In any case, even the simple fact that Baldwin in considering this possibility and for these reasons should give the country’s leaders serious food for thought about the current political climate of the United States, beginning with Donald Trump himself.

At best it is unhealthy and only the results of the investigations will tell us the degree of seriousness of the situation.