8:30am PT by David Walters
'SNL's' Mikey Day and Alex Moffat Talk Parodying Trump's Sons
Saturday Night Live has made a science of Trump administration impersonations — most notably Alec Baldwin's POTUS but also Kate McKinnon's Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions. This season, breakouts Mikey Day, 38, and Alex Moffat, 36, have found seemingly bottomless inspiration in Trump's sons, 40-year-old Don Jr. and Eric, 34. Regular guests at the "Weekend Update" desk, Day's Junior is the slick-haired mouthpiece and Moffat's Eric an ADHD-afflicted man-child. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the pair to discuss the fine art of playing Trumps.
In an administration full of comic book villains, what makes your Don Jr. and Eric so satisfying?
MIKEY DAY There's an aura of privilege that's ripe for parody. On a surface level, they seem like Wall Street villains, ones who would challenge the protagonist of an '80s movie to a ski race. If they win, they're going to pave over the community center and build high-rise apartments.
ALEX MOFFAT Most people in the Trump administration have very defined personas. There was a lot that was undefined about these two when Trump was running, and there's still a lot we can project onto them.
When did you first figure out the impressions?
DAY I actually did Donald Trump Jr. at my audition, but once Alex and I got together, it felt right. We wrote a bit for "Weekend Update" based on a photo we saw. They had this Children of the Corn thing — [Don Jr. and Ivanka] are staring intensely into the lens, but Eric is kind of stacked in the back.
MOFFAT They didn't tell him they were going to be taking that picture — he just snuck in.
DAY That's where we got the [idea] — Don Jr.'s the brains, Ivanka's the beauty, and what is Eric? The answer became, "And I'm Eric!"
Did Lorne Michaels have feedback?
DAY The suggestion from Lorne and [producer] Steve Higgins was that Don Jr. should never get too angry at Eric because then it loses the big brother-little brother relationship, which is such a great note to maintain — a level of sweetness relatable to any siblings. Don Jr. gets frustrated with Eric, but he's never outright angry. There's humanity at the core of it. That sounds funny to say when Eric's just sitting there playing with a fidget spinner.
MOFFAT: For my money, it makes it more watchable. If it’s just two one-dimensional jerks, then there isn’t a whole lot there.
When did you know the sketches were a "thing"?
MOFFAT One day when I was playing pickup basketball. When I walked off the court, this guy said, "Hey! Eric Trump, man!" That was the first inkling I had: when a random guy called me Eric Trump to my face.
DAY After the first one, Don Jr. Instagrammed a picture of himself eating Cheerios with a caption about how he'd stolen Eric's snack, which was cool and kind of weird, like, "Oh, yeah, they actually see [the show]."
Don Jr. seems to have found some humor in it. Eric, on the other hand, recently complained to The Washington Post that you get them all wrong.
DAY That is… crazy. I didn’t know he was responding to us. I thought it was radio silence from Eric. We hadn’t heard from him.
MOFFAT I’ve just assumed that Eric’s not a huge fan of the portrayal. And I assume that Don Jr. is, because in his mind, it’s probably like, “Oh yeah, that’s right. I am the smart one.”
DAY We imagine Don Jr. laughing, hitting Eric on the shoulder: “Look what they said about you…ha!”
On any given day, there’s a non-zero chance that Donald Trump is going to tweet about you. Are you prepared for when it inevitably happens?
DAY It’s just so funny that that’s a real possibility — that the President of the United States is going to take shots at us.
MOFFAT Look, it’s gotta be the most important thing on his agenda.
Any sketches you're eager to write?
DAY I'd like to do one tucking Eric into bed at night and reading Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go — using that book to teach him, "Well, Dad might be in trouble, and those are the downs, but there are also ups, like our hunting trip!"
MOFFAT It might be too scary of a book right before bed.
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.