‘SNL': Taran Killam Says Lorne Michaels Made Cast Go Soft on Trump So He Would Host in 2015 (Audio)

Insider tells TheWrap Killam’s comments are wildly inaccurate

Last Updated: October 10, 2018 @ 5:17 PM

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Taran Killam did not mince words when speaking about that ill-fated 2015 episode hosted by Donald Trump.

Speaking on Matt Gourley’s “I Was There Too” podcast, Killam said that “SNL” boss Lorne Michaels told the cast to go easy on Trump in the early days of the presidential campaign in 2015, in an effort to woo Trump to host. Trump  eventually hosted the Nov. 7, 2015 episode.

“Lorne was being so specific about what we could and couldn’t say about him, and he was dictating a lot of the settings,” Killam said on the podcast.

He continued: “At that point — the first CNN interview he was doing — and that was sort of looking like what we thought we were going to do, and Lorne’s like, ‘It’ll be too old news by then, and you know, you don’t want to vilify him. You know, he’s like any New York taxi driver. I know him, I’ve seen him around at parties for years and years, and he just says whatever it is he’s thinking, and that’s his thing. But you know, you have to find a way in that makes him likable.'”

A few weeks later, Killam added, the castmates saw Trump’s name on the hosting schedule. “And it was like OK, OK, that’s why. I see.”

While NBC and Michaels declined to comment, an insider with knowledge of the show’s production said it was not accurate that Michaels made the cast go easy on Trump. The insider noted Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Trump, which Trump himself has called “terrible.”

The insider said Michaels has never had the type of conversation with the staff or writers that Killam described, adding that’s just not how Lorne runs the show.

A rep for Killam did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

You can listen to the full audio of the podcast episode here.