Alec Baldwin May Have Been Absent From ‘SNL’ This Weekend — But He’ll Soon Be Hosting for the 17th Time

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In a year when one couldn’t escape images of someone we now call president, Alec Baldwin’s Trump impersonation on SNL was at least one of the better versions. Trump was everywhere, on every screen, in every news story, and Baldwin’s exaggerated, constipated, hard-to-watch-without-wincing version of Trump actually did a decent job of anti-normalizing him. After so much Trump saturation, many expected that the weekend of Trump’s inauguration would bear another SNL cold open featuring Baldwin delivering his slightly-more-IBS-plagued version of the president. But he was noticeably absent, with a cold open coming instead from Beck Bennett as the ever-shirtless SNL version of Vladimir Putin.

But if viewers thought last week’s Baldwin void meant he wouldn’t be returning as Dictator-in-Chief, his just-announced 17th hosting gig on SNL certainly suggests otherwise. While all of his recent appearances as Trump have been as a guest, his hosting gig, set for February 11, will give him a full episode’s worth of time to do who-knows-what.

Variety notes that Baldwin did say a while back that he’d stop doing the impersonation under one condition — if Trump were to release his long-awaited tax returns. Considering just this weekend Kellyanne Conway declared they would not be shared with the public — even after the audit Trump had long alleged was the thing that was stopping him from releasing them — looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Baldwump over the next four years.