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Arts & Life

What To Expect When Donald Trump Hosts 'Saturday Night Live'

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is hosting "Saturday Night Live" tonight. And as we reported when his appearance was first announced, a lot of people do not find that funny. Many people have been protesting his appearance, especially Latino groups, including both Democrats and Republicans who say NBC should not let him on the show because of comments Trump has made about immigrants that they consider offensive. NPR's Sam Sanders is in New York and has more on this story.

CHARLIE BEYER: So I'll be in line 24 hours total to get the possibility to get a ticket.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Charlie Beyer got in line Friday morning. He says that he and just about all of the people waiting in line didn't actually come for Trump. Trump just happens to be hosting the episode they're trying to see.

BEYER: At first I was disappointed because I'm not a fan of his. But then the other part of me is - just being a fan of the show for so long, they have such a deep history in political satire. So I've kind of turned my mind around on it to think, you know, this could be - it could be a really funny show if it's played right.

SANDERS: But Latino activists don't think there's really any way to play Donald Trump right. On Wednesday, a coalition of Latino groups protested Trump's hosting gig. The group also brought a petition to NBC with some half a million signatures.

JUAN ESCALANTE: "Saturday Night Live" should not be trying to make fun of what Donald Trump has said.

SANDERS: Juan Escalante is a blogger and activist who was at that protest. He says Trump's comments on Latinos are serious, not funny.

ESCALANTE: When Donald Trump says that he plans on deporting 11 million people, he means that. When Donald Trump said that Mexican immigrants are rapists, murderers, they're drug dealers, he meant that. And there's no way for them to, you know, take those clips and try to repackage them and pass them off as comedy.

SANDERS: Another Latino group called Deport Racism has even offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who disrupts tonight's show. Earlier this year, NBC actually severed business ties with Trump. He used to host "The Apprentice," on the network and aired his "Miss USA" and "Miss Universe" pageants there. But Trump will just be a guest host at "SNL." It's not his show. Trump did admit last night on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor," that he has toned down some of his skits.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR")

DONALD TRUMP: We're doing some bits that are, I think, going to be terrific.

BILL O'REILLY: OK. But did you knock out any bits that...

TRUMP: Yes...

O'REILLY: ...They brought to you?

TRUMP: I had to. There were a couple that were too risque.

O'REILLY: OK - too risque? Wow.

TRUMP: Because, you know, the poll just came down - I'm leading in Iowa. I want to stay leading in Iowa.

O'REILLY: Right.

SANDERS: But it's a thin lead over Ben Carson, within the margin of error. A few people in line waiting for "SNL" tickets had some ideas for Trump's skits. Charlie Beyer says "SNL" should play on the notion of race.

BEYER: It'd be fun to bring a couple of the Hispanic cast members - Horatio Sanz, Fred Armisen.

SANDERS: Simone Ritchie agreed.

SIMONE RITCHIE: I think it would be funny if they had, like, one of their cast members of color - like, if they had, like, Jay Pharoah play Donald Trump. If they - let's say they took, like, things Trump said and just had him say them verbatim, and had him say it as a black man, I think...

SANDERS: You think he would do it?

RITCHIE: Oh, I don't think Trump would ever agree to that. But I think that - I think it would provide some perspective.

SANDERS: Alfredo Claudio is a security guard who was standing watch across the street Friday night. His idea for a Trump skit was maybe the most out there.

ALFREDO CLAUDIO: Maybe Obama? (Laughter).

SANDERS: You want Trump to do Obama?

CLAUDIO: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CLAUDIO: Yes. Yes.

SANDERS: That would be amazing.

CLAUDIO: That would be fantastic. That's so difficult.

SANDERS: That would be very difficult.

CLAUDIO: That's why I said it.

SANDERS: Mr. Trump, if you're listening, it's still not too late to fit that one in. Sam Sanders, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.