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Alec Baldwin is clearly tired of playing Trump on SNL, but he does a great Bill O’Reilly

Baldwin as O’Reilly and Trump Saturday Night Live
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Wow, is Alec Baldwin getting sick of playing Donald Trump or what?

Baldwin announced a month ago that he plans to hang up his orange spray tan in the near future, ostensibly because he’s worried viewers will get tired of him. “I don't know how much more people can take it,” he said.

But judging by the shockingly low-energy cold open to the latest episode of Saturday Night Live — the show’s first in nearly a month — Baldwin just can’t take playing Trump anymore.

The sketch featured Baldwin’s Trump visiting a group of his supporters in Kentucky. One by one, his supporters asked him how he planned to fix an essential service they relied on — rehab centers, after-school programs, health insurance — and one by one, Trump assured them all that he would be “junking” those services.

“You’re my president!” the supporters choked out through fixed smiles.

“It’s like you found a finger in your chili, but you still eat the chili,” Trump mused, “because you told everyone how much you love chili, it’s tremendous.”

As commentary on how Trump’s policies have consistently hurt those who voted for him, it’s perfectly reasonable, if not exactly red-hot. But Baldwin can normally be counted on to elevate perfectly reasonable but not exciting sketches through the sheer bizarre energy of his Trump impression, and the visible pleasure he takes in the president’s affectations: Gina for China, the preening “we all love Trumps,” the stunted hand gestures.

But this time, Baldwin approached his impression with an apparent lack of interest. The Trump voice was just Baldwin’s voice pitched a little lower than usual, the g in Gina was barely audible, and when he said, “We all love Trump,” he sounded downright bored.

Maybe it’s because he was preparing to direct all his energies toward the Bill O’Reilly impression he performed later in the show. In a sketch about the Fox News host’s ongoing sexual assault scandal, Baldwin’s O’Reilly and Baldwin’s Trump actually chatted with each other in split screen to discuss the president’s recent defense of O’Reilly, and Baldwin’s impression of the Fox host was better by leaps and bounds.

Or maybe Baldwin is just tired of playing Trump. Hey, I get it. Baldwin debuted his Trump impression in October of last year, most likely with the expectation that the gig would end within two months, after the election. Instead, it’s six months later and he’s still playing that part every couple of weeks. You can see why the man would want a break.

But let’s hope that when he finally hangs up his spray tan for good, he has a better sketch to go out on. His Trump impression has been a consistent bright spot in the past few months of SNL, and it deserves a great finale.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that SNL’s cold open was set in Kansas.

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