There were several successful sketches on the latest episode of SNL (read my review here), but it is hard to embrace them, as they came at the expense of giving Donald Trump a platform. Considering that much of the episode played off of his personality and controversy, I am torn, as the good bits may have never even been pitched in the first place if he had not been there. Could the best moments have happened in any other episode? Here is a rundown of the top sketches, listed in order from most reliant to least reliant on Trump’s presence.

1. Weekend Update – Update was probably written independently of Trump’s direct influence, though he did figure in the material. That would have likely been the case anyway, as a matter of the political news cycle, but Trump actually being there probably did light a fire under Michael Che.
2. Toots – The fact that such a non-Top 40 band as Toots and the Maytals was the musical guest the last time Trump hosted was mostly a matter of bizarre randomness. Kenan appearing as Toots was not about Trump so much as it was about something that Trump happened to be present at. This bit could have been utilized in 2 weeks when Matthew McConaughey host if the Maytals had been on when he last hosted in 2003.
3. Drunk Uncle – Bobby Moynihan’s signature character still could have been introduced as “Trump’s #1 Fan” on any other episode.
4. Ex-Porn Stars – The low-rent co-opting of luxury in these sketches works insofar as the brand being advertised isn’t actually present, so Trump’s appearance actually didn’t really make sense.
5. Mr. Crocker – The head of Startraxxx Productions felt like a role designed for Kyle Mooney. It had a blowhard quality that fit Trump, but it needed someone weirder to really work.
6. Hotline Bling – The joke of awkward middle-aged men dancing alongside Drake worked without Trump showing up – he was just slotted in that so that he’d have something to do.

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