Yes, there were hair jokes. But, still, I'm shocked about how easy Saturday Night Live went on Donald Trump during the candidate's much-anticipated hosting gig. First, the show runners flanked Trump with SNL cast member Taran Killam and former SNL cast member Darrell Hammond for his monologue to start the show with "the three faces of Trump bit." Not too adventurous. And sure, Larry David, who clearly won the show with another Bernie Sanders impression, might have "heckled" Trump, calling him a racist (a joke that falls flat when you have leagues of protestors calling you just that outside of Studio 8H), but how was that the biggest brush with controversy that we got during the 90-minute episode?
Although one might argue that giving others the opportunity to speak up during the show was better than giving Trump a mic to say who-the-heck knows what, it also gave him a chance to warm up with seasoned comedians, rather than go it alone. And gave the show the chance to skirt the equal time rule, which specifies that, "U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it." (Hence that clever tweeting bit that allowed Trump's presence to take over the sketch, without actually being on it.) So... we didn't even get to see Trump attack his criticisms head-on, and now might need to watch Saturday Night Live open the door for his opponents to bring their, um, "humor" to the airwaves. Great.
But the shrewd Trump managed to appear on air for 12 minutes, which is half the time he spent on air when he hosted in 2004. And managed to bring a family member along for support. Ivanka Trump had a blink-and-you-missed-it appearance in a skit, but there's no denying that her presence makes her father just a bit more likable. Perhaps it's the fact that she walks around construction sites in heels, while being incredibly enterprising as a billionaire's daughter, but she's about the only thing that's making the Trump campaign look good these days.
But, still, like I said — SNL took it easy on the guy. He didn't even appear alongside Weekend Update's Drunk Uncle, probably the most unflattering representation of a Donald Trump voter that could ever exist. Why not make him respond to courting those with such backward beliefs?
Of course, viewers aren't letting Trump off easy. Not only were fans of SNL disappointed with the episode as a whole, but some noticed some uncomfortable moments, like a bit in which Trump mentioned he carried a gun to Kenan Thompson, playing Toots Hibbert, the reggae legend who appeared on the show with Trump in 2004. With all the shooting-related deaths in 2015, it's not in the best taste.
Most upsetting of all, the show runners let Trump dance to "Hotline Bling," because Trump does not need to ruin my Drizzy fantasies. K?
Make it harder next time, SNL. But here's hoping there isn't one.