This weekend, Saturday Night Live went after its home network, NBC, for hosting President Donald Trump's "Town Hall" event earlier this week. The variety show mocked NBC for its part in making Trump a celebrity in the first place through The Apprentice, and for its history of giving other problematic men a platform. As co-host Michael Che put it: "What can I say? We have a type."
Che was bemused as the audience laughed and groaned all at once. The image over his shoulder showed press photos of Trump side-by-side with Matt Lauer from the peak of his TODAY Show days, and Bill Cosby at the height of The Cosby Show. He went on: "who are these Town Halls even for? I mean, who's still on the fence about this election? Whether you're voting for Trump or Biden you've definitely made up your mind a long time ago, and you're probably not thrilled about it."
Che's expression combined with co-host Colin Jost's barking laugh made it clear that the joke at NBC's expense hit a little close to home. They are not the first to criticize the network for contributing to Trump's fame over the last two decades — especially since some of the president's tax filings were obtained by The New York Times last month. The documents showed that many of Trump's write-offs and tax dodging schemes were related to his reality show, The Apprentice.
The fact that NBC News hosted his town hall did not sit well with many, either. Some critics argued that Savannah Guthrie went easy on the incumbent president. The Miami Herald reported that the infamous "nodding lady" over Trump's shoulder was by no means an undecided voter. Mayra Joli ran a pro-Trump congressional campaign, endorsed him on social media and made no secret about it. This fact led to questions about whether NBC had vetted their supposedly "undecided" audience at all.
SNL is in an all-out sprint to the 2020 presidential election, with a new episode every weekend in October. However, so far, each broadcast has brought more and more criticism down on their treatment of politics, with viewers on both ends of the political spectrum decrying the show as biased and unfair. This weekend, in particular, many railed against guest star Jim Carrey's impression of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Nevertheless, the show goes on. A new episode of SNL premieres on Oct. 24 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The 2020 presidential election is on Tuesday, Nov. 3.