The 58-year-old actor has been receiving praise for his highly publicized impersonation of the businessman–turned–politician on Saturday Night Live — even picking up the Critics Choice Award honor for the part.
But despite his two Emmy Awards and endless film, television and stage credits, Baldwin makes just $1,400 for each appearance on the show.
The revelation came during a profile of Baldwin in The New York Times in which the actor discussed how he approached the role, the differences he sees between him and Trump, and the impact playing the President-elect has had on him personally.
A staunch Democrat, Baldwin could not be further from Trump politically. But he said he hasn’t invested much time delving into Trump’s psyche; instead, he’s chosen to study the way the 70-year-old moves and talks.
He admitted to amplifying some gestures and distilling others, always attempting to reduce Trump to the essence of who he thinks he really is — a pitchman.
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And the main secret to Baldwin’s Trump? Behind the honey-colored makeup, tangerine wig and puckered lips is a man the actor explained is constantly (and unsuccessfully) in search of something better to say.
“I see a guy who seems to pause and dig for the more precise and better language he wants to use, and never finds it,” Baldwin said, labelling Trump’s pregnant pauses in his speech as “puffs.”
“It’s the same dish. It’s a grilled-cheese sandwich rhetorically over and over again,” he added.
Baldwin’s received plenty of backlash for his impersonation — from Trump’s supporters and Trump himself. But he said he plans to continue playing Trump on the hit NBC sketch series, even if his work schedule might take him away from Studio 8H from time to time.
“I think that now that he is the president, we have an obligation — as we would if it was him or her — to dial it up as much as we can,” Baldwin said.
Saturday Night Live returns Jan. 14 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.