Taran Killam will be the man underneath whatever outrageous Donald Trump wig the Props Department at Saturday Night Live comes up with, as he has officially been given the role for the show’s upcoming 41st season, Deadspin is reporting.
The 33-year-old Killam gets what Deadspin writer Nellie Andreeva calls SNL‘s “most coveted assignment,” a job that, until last season, has been played by Darrell Hammond. Hammond officially left the SNL cast in 2009, although he’s been back for guest appearances from time to time. Donald Trump was among Hammond’s repertoire of celebrity impressions, which also included Sean Connery and Bill Clinton.
Since 2014, Hammond has been SNL‘s announcer – a job held for decades by Don Pardo, who died in 2014 – occasionally stepping out onto the main stage to bring out his classic Bill Clinton impersonation whenever the situation calls for it (usually that means that Kate McKinnon is doing a Hillary Clinton sketch).
However, with Donald Trump likely to be a fixture on SNL this season – as the Republican presidential candidate, who can most charitably be described as “outspoken,” continues to draw massive media attention – producer Lorne Michaels wanted to give the job to a regular cast member.
As CNN reports, other male SNL cast members besides Killam auditioned for the Trump job, although it’s not clear, as of this post, who else tried out for the part.
CNN also confirmed Killam’s appointment to the Trump job via a source at NBC, although it appears that Taran’s cast-mate, Kate McKinnon, may have let the news slip during Sunday’s Emmy Awards festivities, letting the cat out of the bag on E!’s Red Carpet coverage.
“It was confirmed today that Taran Killam is playing Donald Trump, which is amazing.”
Taran Killam has been with Saturday Night Live since 2010, become a bankable actor and impressionist in that time – watch him artfully skewer Tom Brady and the “Deflategate” scandal in the clip below (beginning at about 1:40).
Throughout his years on SNL, Killam has also done spot-on impersonations of Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey, Eminemm and Piers Morgan, among others. When he’s not getting laughs on SNL, the married (his wife is Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother) father of two daughters does some movie and TV work, most notably a dramatic turn in the Academy Award-winning 12 Years a Slave.
Look for Taran Killam, and the rest of the Saturday Night Live cast, when the show returns for its 41st season on October 3.