In 1977, Ralph Nader inspected blow-up sex dolls on Saturday Night Live. In a skit in 1996, the bookish billionaire Steve Forbes denied he was behind a fictional book that described “Teve Torbes” as a man with “an undeniable animal magnetism that drove the ladies crazy.” And in 2003, Rev. Al Sharpton ended the show onstage with Paris Hilton, who he now realizes was coming out as a “sex image star.”
"Let’s put it this way, it didn’t give me a whole lot of votes in Harlem,” adds Sharpton.
There’s a certain risk for any president-wannabe to host the satirical show—what campaign manager would want his or her candidate fielding a dirty joke on air?—yet these three men, members of a small crew who have hosted SNL and run for the White House, think that Donald Trump has a huge opportunity this weekend to pad onto his front-runner status.
"Of course it helps,” says Nader, dismissing any bewilderment as to why Trump would open himself up to an hour-plus of live, televised skits just a few months before the Iowa caucuses. "Anybody who is surprised, I can guarantee will be a visiting Martian."
"It’s basically a transition from a political circus to a satiric event,” he adds.
Sharpton—who claims to have hosted over the objections of campaign staff afraid he would appear "too comedic”—says that the show could even broaden Trump’s image, which has been well-worn into what Nader calls a "finely etched media character” over decades.