For political comedians, Donald Trump is like Hamlet–everyone wants to play him.
Donald Trump has spent decades honing his impression of himself—and during this presidential campaign season, it’s replicated, metastasizing into a multitude. Everybody can do Trump, from seasoned comedy professionals to your grandparents (even dogs!).
This cultural ubiquity has benefited Trump throughout the campaign. Love him or hate him, the sheer sport of trying to mimic his mannerisms has kept him in the front of the public mind, which is where a politician has to be. One question for the remaining weeks of the campaign is whether any impression can hurt him.
Last night, on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin, a mammoth personality himself, debuted his Trump impression in a skit sending up Monday’s presidential debate. In keeping with Trump’s self-parodying persona, the skit cleaved closely to the debate itself. But Baldwin did something impressive: He found something new to add to one of the most-parodied American celebrities. Below is a review of some of the most memorable, ranked from worst to best.
9. Johnny Depp
Depp’s feature-length Funny Or Die spoof — in which director Adam McKay imagines a universe in which Trump wrote, directed and starred in a TV-movie version of The Art of the Deal — didn’t quite take the world by storm the way those involved imagined it might. A large part of the reason is Depp’s cartoonish and not particularly insightful Trump impersonation. Depp reportedly didn’t have time to prepare much for the gag film — which was filmed in four days — and the only real joke he brings to the proceedings is that it’s in fact Johnny Depp playing Donald Trump.
8. Jason Sudeikis
Sudeikis only played Trump once—and watching his performance, you can understand why. Sudeikis is a major talent, but the wisenheimer charm that informs much of his best work must be suppressed to play Trump. And his accent is more Goodfellas than Trump.
7. Hillary Clinton
Clinton’s impression of Trump, trotted out during her famed sing-along with Kate McKinnon last year, only lasts a second—but what it lacks in technical know-how it more than makes up with weird gusto. It seems to come from an authentic place—as if she’s done a Trump impression before.