No One Can Parody Donald Trump Better Than Himself

No One Can Parody Donald Trump Better Than Himself 1

Last night, Saturday Night Live parodied Donald Trump’s effort to sell Bibles: The Easter-themed episode opens with “The Resurrection,” a story of three women, all named Mary, who visit the tomb of Jesus Christ to anoint his body. But when a boulder blocking the door to his grave rolls away, it’s not the son of God who emerges—but Donald Trump (played by James Austin Johnson), selling bibles for the “high, high price” of $60.

“That’s right, it’s Easter, the time of year when I compare myself to Jesus Christ,” Trump says. “That’s just a thing I do now and people seem to be okay with it. I’m going to keep doing it. And if you think that this is a bad look, imagine how weird it would be if I started selling Bibles.” After a beat, he says, “Well, I’m selling Bibles.”

It’s a funny premise, and Austin Johnson delivers, as usual, an uncannily good impression of the former president. (I chuckled at a line about the Bibles being “made from 100% Bible.”) But overall, the skit felt…flat? Despite poking fun at Trump’s distaste for fruit, his mounting legal fines, and the concept of mission trips (“You go to Mexico, you build a house, maybe you make out with someone on the last night.”), the skit felt familiar. Too familiar.

It’s hard to land a joke when we’ve already heard it. And in this case, the truth is funnier than satire.

Donald Trump is actually selling Bibles. Since leaving the White House, he’s also sold digital trading cards, “Victory” cologne, and “Never Surrender” sneakers for $399. Last week, he used a shell company to take his struggling social media platform, Truth Social, public, allowing MAGA devotees to buy stock in Trump’s business and wildly inflate its valuation to nearly $11 billion. (The legal fines and presidential bid won’t fund themselves!)

On the same day, Trump also announced his latest sales venture: spreading the word of God. In a 3-minute video posted to Truth Social, the real, living Trump truthed, “Happy Holy Week! Let’s Make America Pray Again. As we lead into Good Friday and Easter, I encourage you to get a copy of the God Bless The USA Bible.” “All Americans need a Bible in their home and I have many,” Trump says in the video, totally non-ironically for a guy who’s been found liable for sexual abuse and is set to go on trial for hush money payments to a porn star in April. “It’s my favorite book.” Just watch for yourself.

SNL, for its part, seems to recognize the limits of its own humor. “Sounds like a joke and in many ways it is,” Austin Johnson’s Trump says after making his sales pitch, “but it’s also very real.” 

Don’t get me wrong. SNL rocks. As I’ve written before, the show’s writers are pros. Often, their skits are surprisingly insightful. But this week, the team should have realized, no one can parody Donald Trump better than himself.