These days, it seems like no detail is too small to leak from the White House. To wit: Trump insiders have told Alec Baldwin exactly what they think of his caricature-of-a-caricature impression of President Trump on "Saturday Night Live."
"I'm not going to name names," Baldwin told The Hollywood Reporter, "but a cabinet member walked up to me at a restaurant in Manhattan—Manhattan, that's a hint—and he goes, 'I gotta tell you something. This thing you're doing is good, it's really good ... I'll get fired if anybody quoted me saying this, but that's exactly what he's like when you do it.' "
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"SNL" is drawing its largest ratings in 23 years, powered by Baldwin's Trump, frequent guest Melissa McCarthy's malevolent Sean Spicer, Beck Bennett as a shirtless Vladimir Putin and someone playing Keith Bannon in a head-to-toe Grim Reaper outfit.
Turns out, the running gags are uniting a queasy nation. "It's been harder in the past couple of years at SNL because the culture's so fragmented," says writer and "Weekend Update" anchor Colin Jost in the "Reporter" story. "If you do a parody of even a huge show like ‘Game of Thrones,’ it doesn't have the full cultural resonance of a ‘Cheers’ or ‘Friends.’ Whereas politics right now is probably the closest we've come to a full-blown national phenomenon as anything in a long time, and anytime people are paying more attention to politics, it's good for our show. But you almost feel like a war profiteer at times because we've benefited from a situation that's so tough."
For his part, Trump is a frequent viewer of the show and has been an indiscreet critic on Twitter. “@NBCNews is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!” he tweeted six days before the inauguration.
He hasn't tweeted about the show since, but "Politico" reported about what has stung him the most about the show's running gags: The fact that Spicer is being played by a woman.