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Rob Schneider voiced his opinion on the moment that he knew “Saturday Night Live” was “over.”
The 58-year-old “SNL” alum told podcast host Glenn Beck that he believed the famous post-2016 US presidential election cold open in which Kate McKinnon performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton was the NBC comedy sketch series’ undoing.
“I hate to crap on my own show,” the “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” star said during a Saturday appearance on “The Glenn Beck Podcast.”
He continued, “When Hillary Clinton lost — which is understandable. She’s not exactly the most likable person in the room. And then when Kate McKinnon went out there on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in the cold opening and all that, and she started dressed as Hillary Clinton, and she started playing ‘Hallelujah.’ I literally prayed, ‘Please have a joke at the end.’
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“Don’t do this. Please don’t go down there.’ And there was no joke at the end, and I went, ‘It’s over. It’s over. It’s not gonna come back.'”
McKinnon, 38, played a parody version of Clinton on the series throughout the 2016 election cycle and reprized the role several times before leaving the show in May.
In “SNL’s” first episode following Clinton’s election loss to Donald Trump, the show opened with McKinnon in character as the former presidential hopeful. The visibly emotional actress played a somber rendition of “Hallelujah” on the piano before turning to the camera and saying, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”
McKinnon then proceeded with the show’s traditional introduction line, “And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
The solemn segment, which also served as a tribute to Cohen, who had passed away days earlier, marked a significant departure from “SNL’s” typically humorous cold open. The scene received a mixed reaction from critics, some of whom believed it was too partisan and didn’t set the right tone for a comedy show.
In a 2018 interview with Spin magazine, “SNL” writer Amy Wallace told the outlet that another sketch was planned for the cold open but the idea was ultimately nixed by showrunner Lorne Michaels.
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“The original plan that night was for each of the female cast members to talk to the camera, one by one, about how she felt after Donald Trump’s victory, culminating in McKinnon singing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,'” Wallace said.
“The prop people went so far as to procure a white piano for her to play. But late in the week, producer Lorne Michaels told me, he decided that approach was too partisan. ‘In the end, we’re a comedy show, ‘ he said. ‘You can’t forget that.'”
Schneider started as a writer on “SNL” in 1988 before appearing as a main cast member from 1990 to 1994.
Later in his interview with Beck, Schneider criticized other late night hosts’ comedy routines as openly partisan.
He said, “You can take the comedic indoctrination process happening with each of the late night hosts and you can exchange them with each other.”
Schneider added, “That’s how you know they’re not interesting anymore.”
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