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Ex-SNL actor: Lorne Michaels told cast not to vilify Trump, find a way to make him likable

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Former “Saturday Night Live” actor Taran Killam said the show’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told the cast to tone down criticism of then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and find ways to “make him likable.”

Killam was included on an episode of the “I Was There Too” podcast released Tuesday to discuss what it was like on the “SNL” set before the 2016 presidential election.

{mosads}The comedian, who played Trump on the show before his departure in August of 2016, said that Michaels was “so specific” about what the NBC cast could say about Trump. 

He recalled Michaels telling the cast not to “vilify him.”

“He’s like any New York taxi driver … He just says whatever it is he’s thinking,” Killam recalled Michaels saying. “You have to find a way in that makes him likable.”

Trump was brought in as a guest host for the show in 2015, before the Republican primaries.

“One of the things I do respect about Lorne is he is a very good host to his guests,” Killam said on the podcast.

Killam said last year that he was “embarrassed” that the show let Trump guest-host.

“It was rough. It was not enjoyable at the time and something that only grows more embarrassing and shameful as time goes on,” Killam said.

He said the cast could hear anti-Trump protesters outside of the show’s New York studios before the hosting gig.

“We could hear the protests during our table read,” Killam said. “As we’re reading 40 mediocre sketches, we just hear, ‘No Trump! Donald Trump!’ ”

The actor and director said he didn’t think the show considered the “implications” of having Trump appear as host. 

“I don’t necessarily put so much weight into [the idea of] Trump hosting ‘SNL’ helping him become president, but there’s definitely something where it normalizes him and it makes it OK for him to be part of the conversation,” Killam told NPR in the interview.

Following Killam leaving the show, “SNL” has continued to take swings at Trump and his administration since he took office. 

Actor Alec Baldwin won a 2017 Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his impersonation of the president.

Tags 2016 presidential election Donald Trump Lorne Michaels Saturday Night Live SNL

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