Comedian Anthony Jeselnik believes “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election by offering him a coveted guest-host slot in 2015, shortly after announcing his candidacy.
“I was disgusted by it,” Jeselnik said. “It was two rich guys helping each other out. I don’t know how I would have dealt with it if I was on the show. I found it to be, quite frankly, revolting.”
The comedian, 40, previously wrote for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” but he was long gone from Late Night when Fallon took over “The Tonight Show” and had his infamous hair tussling incident with Trump — an episode reportedly produced by Michaels.
"Trump and Lorne Michaels are friends. And Lorne Michaels produced that show,” he continued. “And I’m sure – and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, and I haven’t talked to Jimmy in years – but I’m sure it’s one of his biggest regrets.” .
The late-night host ruffled Trump’s famous hair at the end of their interview, which upset many of the then-candidate’s detractors who believed it was an easy interview for a potential president.
Jeselnik discussed the moment with The Daily Beast, noting that he blames Michaels more than Fallon for Trump's rise to popularity.
Later in the interview, Jeselnik said that he doesn’t believe Fallon’s interview tipped the election one way or another. In fact, he doubled down on his criticism of Michaels allegedly helping Trump win the election.
“I think Lorne Michaels helped get Trump elected,” Jeselnik declared. “I think putting him on 'SNL' was way worse than the hair-ruffling thing.”
'It was two rich guys helping each other out. I don’t know how I would have dealt with it if I was on the show'
Jeselnik’s opinion of Michaels is informed by reports from former “SNL” cast member Taran Killam mentioned on the "I Was There Too" podcast that the producer allegedly instructed writers not to vilify Trump and to make him likable.
“I don’t know if [I] would have shown up for work that day,” Jeselnik concluded. “I don’t know what would have happened.”
The comedian’s characterization of Michaels’ approach to the sketch show is in stark contrast to what the series has looked like since Trump took office. The show is critical of the current administration almost every week. Most notably, it has Alec Baldwin making headlines for his comedic impression of the president. However, Jeselnik seems to suggest that the tone is an about-face from how Michaels treated Trump in 2015.