Scoop: Trump’s ‘SNL’ appearance gets only moderate ratings

Taran Killam, left, Republican presidential candidate and guest host Donald Trump, center, and Darrell Hammond perform during the monologue on "Saturday Night Live" on Saturday. (Dana Edelson/NBC via AP)

Donald Trump hadn’t gotten far into his opening monologue before trouble occurred. An off-screen heckler interrupted with a cry of “You’re a racist!”

But the “heckler” was comedian Larry David, who before Trump arrived onstage had been seen impersonating Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

“Larry, what are you doing?” Trump asked with a trace of exasperation.

“I heard if I yelled that, they’d give me $5,000,” said David with a shrug, echoing an offer made publicly by one of the Hispanic groups protesting Trump’s appearance.

“As a businessman,” Trump told him, “I can fully respect that.”

Trump’s 90 minutes in the “SNL” spotlight followed weeks of growing anticipation, increasingly sharp criticism and mounting calls for him to be dropped from the show. But the Republican presidential candidate hosted Saturday’s “SNL” as scheduled. And, at least in NBC’s Studio 8H, there was no more unrest — orchestrated or otherwise. (Deport Racism, the group that made the $5,000 offer, tweeted that David would get the bounty, “joke or not.”)

Only hours after the broadcast, Trump was back on television and characteristically bullish about his performance, calling it “very well received and probably got very good ratings, who knows.”

Very good, but not spectacular. Preliminary Nielsen ratings measuring households in 56 U.S. markets gave Saturday’s “SNL” its highest rating only since January 2012. Basketball great Charles Barkley was host that night.

Rest in peace, Leatherface

Gunnar Hansen, who played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine, his agent said. He was 68.

Hansen starred in the 1974 film that has become a classic among horror-movie aficionados and spawned a series of sequels. In the movie, friends visiting their grandfather’s house are hunted by Leatherface, a chain-saw wielding maniac.

Quick takes

Several celebrities walked the red carpet at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View on Sunday while attending the ceremony for the Breakthrough Prize, founded by several tech luminaries such as Google’s Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, among others. The ceremony was hosted by Seth McFarlane. Pharrell Williams performed at the ceremony and celebrity prize presenters included Russell Crow, Hillary Swank, Lily Collins and Thomas Middleditch and Martin Starr from HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” The Breakthrough Prize is awarded to “those at the forefront” in the fields of physics, life sciences and mathematics.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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