Michael Stipe joins Alec Baldwin on the “Here’s The Thing” talk show, telling Baldwin that he is partially to blame for the rise of Donald Trump.
Stipe, the R.E.M. singer-turned-political advocate, says the media played a big role in shaping this U.S. election: “It is so sad that we have allowed ourselves to sink to this level of… entertainment, that’s what it is.”
He went so far as to say Baldwin had a hand in it. “I blame media completely for it, including ‘Saturday Night Live’,” alluding to the actor’s “SNL” portrayal of the soon-to-be U.S. President Trump.
“What does it feel like from inside? What does it feel like playing that character?” asks Stipe. “It’s satire, it’s brilliantly done, but it’s still adding to the push of… Warhol said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. How have we created this monster? How have we put our particular American brand on this thing?”
Baldwin obliges, admitting he was initially hesitant take the role: “When I was approached by Lorne, who is a friend of mine, to do it, my first impulse was ‘no.’ Because in order to do that effectively, you need to have at least some appreciation of the person… for which Trump I have none.”
The “30 Rock” star continues: “It’s kind of unsettling to me actually how many people come up to me all day long and they thank me because they needed something to laugh about. They needed a release.”
You can listen to the entire WNYC interview below.