Who Has Played Donald Trump on SNL?

One of the most iconic portrayals in the long history of Saturday Night Live (SNL) has been that of former President Donald Trump. Trump’s unique personality and controversial actions provided ample material for the show’s talented cast members to satirize and entertain audiences. In this blog post, we will explore the actors who have taken on the challenge of playing Donald Trump on SNL over the years and analyze their performances.

1. Phil Hartman (1988-1990)

The first actor to tackle the persona of Donald Trump on SNL was the late great Phil Hartman. Known for his remarkable comedic timing and versatility, Hartman portrayed Trump in sketches during Trump’s rise as a prominent New York City figure in the late 1980s. Hartman captured Trump’s bombastic nature and exaggerated his mannerisms to create a memorable impression.

During Hartman’s portrayal, Trump was depicted as an overconfident and brash businessman who loved to talk about his wealth and success. Hartman’s Trump made frequent appearances on the “Pumping Up with Hans and Franz” sketches, where he discussed his extravagant lifestyle and shared bizarre fitness tips.

While Phil Hartman’s portrayal of Trump was short-lived, it laid the foundation for future actors to build upon.

2. Darrell Hammond (1999-2016)

After a few years without a regular Trump impression on the show, Darrell Hammond took over the role in 1999 and continued to play the character for a remarkable 17 years. Hammond’s portrayal focused on capturing Trump’s distinct vocal cadence, hand gestures, and exaggerated facial expressions.

Hammond’s Trump often appeared in the cold opens of the show, mimicking Trump’s real-life antics and appearances in the media. He played Trump as an egotistical and self-obsessed character who relished in being the center of attention. Hammond’s portrayal became a fan favorite, with his catchphrases like “You’re fired!” and “Big league” becoming ingrained in popular culture.

As Trump’s political aspirations grew, Hammond’s portrayal shifted to incorporate his persona as a candidate and later as the President of the United States. His portrayal captured Trump’s bombastic leadership style and controversial policies, providing biting satire that both entertained and provoked discussions.

3. Taran Killam (2015-2016)

Taran Killam joined the SNL cast in 2010 and played a wide range of characters. In 2015, he stepped into the shoes of Donald Trump, providing his own unique interpretation of the character. Killam’s portrayal emphasized Trump’s larger-than-life personality and his tendency to make outrageous statements.

Killam often portrayed Trump in mock debates and campaign rallies, skillfully capturing Trump’s bombastic disregard for political correctness. His portrayal highlighted Trump’s ability to command attention and dominate the stage, showing the world that he was a force to be reckoned with.

While Killam’s run as Trump was relatively short, it showcased his comedic talents and added another layer to the evolving portrayals of the former president.

4. Alec Baldwin (2016-2020)

Arguably the most recognizable portrayal of Donald Trump on SNL came from renowned actor Alec Baldwin. Baldwin’s incisive portrayal of Trump became a cultural phenomenon during the 2016 election season and continued throughout Trump’s presidency.

Baldwin’s portrayal centered on exaggerating Trump’s mannerisms, speech patterns, and unique facial expressions. He skillfully captured Trump’s bombast and the turbulent nature of his presidency, providing scathing criticism through satire.

Week after week, Baldwin’s Trump appeared in the cold opens, addressing current events with a mixture of humor and biting commentary. The portrayal earned Baldwin multiple Emmy awards and was widely praised for its accuracy and comic timing.

5. Jim Carrey (2020)

In 2020, amidst the ongoing pandemic and the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election, the role of Donald Trump was briefly taken on by comedic legend Jim Carrey. Carrey’s portrayal of Trump was a departure from previous iterations, as he brought his own brand of zaniness to the character.

Carrey’s portrayal emphasized the more absurd aspects of Trump’s personality, using physical comedy to amplify the satire. He incorporated exaggerated facial expressions and gestures to enhance the comedic impact, creating a distinct and memorable version of Trump.

Although Carrey’s stint as Trump was short-lived, his energetic performance left an impression, further showcasing the versatility and talent of the actors who have taken on the role.

Conclusion

Throughout the history of SNL, several talented actors have stepped into the shoes of the iconic Donald Trump. From Phil Hartman to Jim Carrey, each actor brought their own style and interpretation to the character, capturing different aspects of Trump’s personality and creating memorable moments. These portrayals not only entertained audiences but also served as a powerful vehicle for political commentary and satire.

While the show continues to evolve, it’s clear that the legacy of these actors’ performances will leave a lasting impression on the history of Saturday Night Live and the depiction of Donald Trump.

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