Taran Killam's experience working with Donald Trump when the then-presidential candidate hosted Saturday Night Live in November 2015 was "rough," to say the least.
"It was not enjoyable at the time and something that only grows more embarrassing and shameful as time goes on," the former SNL cast member said in a recent interview with NPR. "I don't necessarily put so much weight into [the idea of] Trump hosting SNL helping him to become president, but there's definitely something where it normalizes him and it makes it OK for him to be part of the conversation. … And I think looking back … there's nothing good I can take away from that week."
The comedian, who was quietly let go from the cast in May 2016, also recalled hearing the protesters gathered outside NBC's studios during table reads prior to the weekend taping.
"As we're reading 40 mediocre sketches, we just hear, 'No Trump! Donald Trump!' … I am embarrassed, upon reflection, just because of how everyone was right," he said. "Every person outside of that building protesting was absolutely right."
Then, at the host dinner just prior to the show, Killam said Trump raised another red flag after he spent the meal – also attended by wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner – bragging about property he had recently purchased in Scotland.
"And he says [to SNL creator Lorne Michaels], 'You know, Lorne, if I don't win this thing, I'm gonna be fine. We just bought this beautiful piece of property in Scotland. If I have to be president, I'm never gonna see that thing,'" Killam recalled. "And that that was his priority in that moment, that that was even a consideration, made me sad."
In the near-year since Trump was elected into office, SNL has become seen by many as the go-to source for political satire, especially with regards to the president himself (played deftly by Alec Baldwin). Still, Killam said, the jokes may be too little, too late.
"It certainly feels like there’s some hypocrisy there," he said of SNL's stance against Trump. "I guess you could say, 'Oh, they're righting wrongs.' And I don't even think it's righting wrongs. I think the show tries to – and in particular, Lorne's outlook is – play to both sides. Play to the masses, play to whatever the popular opinion is. But, boy, they could definitely mine some comedy out of owning up to it, huh?"