The writers of Saturday Night Live were reviewing the first cold opening of the season until the last minute after President Donald Trump’s positive COVID test threw all plans into the air.
In a new NBC News interview, SNL creator Lorne Michaels said the long-running skit series had a sketch of the presidential debate written for the October 3 season premiere when news broke the day before about Trump’s illness. “Everything changed,” Michaels tells Willie Geist on the upcoming Sunday Today With Willie Geist, “and it was being rewritten. I don’t think the final version was for a dress rehearsal.
The sketch, which featured Alec Baldwin’s Trump and Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden debut, drew the expected “too soon” internet criticism, which Baldwin took to Instagram the next day. “If there had ever been the suggestion that Trump was really, seriously ill, if people were going, ‘Oh, Trump is in real trouble,’ I bet you all I got we wouldn’t even get close to. of that in terms of the content of the show, ”he said.
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In Sunday’s interview with Geist – part of which was released today – Michaels said the ever-changing political events were preventing the show from over-preparing. “A lot of times we don’t even try until Friday,” Michaels says of the drawing. “Fortunately, the actors are good at it and can adapt.”
Michaels admits that the show’s return to live audiences after last spring’s remote, mostly pre-recorded tracks, was crucial.
“I think that’s all I’ve been talking about all summer and before that I need an audience,” Michaels says. “Because we take big swings and those are tough jokes, when you don’t hear any sound it messes up the timing. What the audience does is the outlet that operates the circuit. “
Michaels’ interview airs Sunday, October 18 at 8 a.m. on NBC Sunday Today with Willie Geist.
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