He may only make the occasional five-minute appearance, but Alec Baldwin has quickly surfaced as the biggest star of Saturday Night Live in recent years. Baldwin joined the cast of the comedy sketch show earlier this year to play Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump but has continued to play Trump as President-elect. However, that’s not all that surprising, with it recently being confirmed that Baldwin is paid $1,400 per show – which is a considerable amount considering he only appears in the first five minutes or so.
According to the New York Times, Baldwin confirmed that he isn’t involved in writing his Saturday Night Live sketches, and is paid $1,400 to show up and appear on the show each episode. Whilst that’s a considerable amount of money for the amount of screentime Baldwin has on SNL, it’s nowhere near the amount some of television’s best-paid stars make. For example, some of Game of Thrones‘ biggest stars, including Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke are paid upwards of $500,000 for each episode of the fantasy drama.
That being said, there’s some good news for fans of Baldwin’s Trump impression. The actor used his profile with the New York Times to further confirm that he plans to continue playing the President-elect on Saturday Night Live for as long as his schedule permits into the new year, however, he’ll have to fit it around his numerous film appearances.
According to Digital Spy, Baldwin can’t quite believe how fans of the show have taken to his character. However, there’s a little part of him that’s concerned he played a role in humanising Donald Trump and therefore allowing him to be elected, saying “I do recognize that that is a possibility. But I think that now that he is the president, we have an obligation – as we would if it was him or her – to dial it up as much as we can.” Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was played by Kate McKinnon prior to the election.
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Alec Baldwin’s impression of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live hasn’t been entirely well received, however. Since his election, each time Baldwin has mocked Trump on SNL, the President-elect has taken to Twitter to criticize Baldwin and the show for being bias against him. In response, Baldwin presented Trump with an ultimatum, saying “Release your tax returns and I’ll stop.” Trump hasn’t since taken to Twitter to criticize either Baldwin or Saturday Night Live, signalling an end to the feud between the pair.
Baldwin isn’t the only star to receive acclaim for his role as a presidential candidate on Saturday Night Live. Prior to her election defeat, Hillary Clinton was played throughout the 2016 cycle by Kate McKinnon, who managed to perfectly capture Clinton’s ambition and distaste for Donald Trump, in a series of debate sketches alongside Baldwin.
McKinnon is only the latest in a long string of actresses to play Hillary Clinton, however. During the 2008 election, Clinton was played by Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler, with Jan Hooks, Janeane Garofalo, Vanessa Bayer, Ana Gasteyer all also credited with playing Clinton. In 2015, Hillary Clinton herself made an appearance on Saturday Night Live, alongside McKinnon’s character and one sketch featured Miley Cyrus playing a younger Hillary Clinton.
Saturday Night Live returns with guest host Felicity Jones and musical guest Sturgill Simpson on January 14, 2017, on NBC.
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