It's hard to believe that it's been over 20 years since Senator Bob Dole ran as the Republican frontrunner for president for the 1996 election before ultimately losing out to incumbent, Democrat Bill Clinton. As per tradition at NBC's Saturday Night Live, candidates from both parties are often lampooned with cast member Norm Macdonald playing the hopeful. The long-running senator from Kansas, who passed on Sunday, served from 1969-1996 finishing out his political career with his failed run at the presidency. The late Macdonald, who passed in September, often portrayed Dole as a no-nonsense blowhard, always speaking in the third person. In honor of the senator and presidential hopeful who passed away at the age of 98 on Sunday, here's a look back at the time the two shared together on SNL.
Dole tweeted, "Norm @normmacdonald was a great talent, and I loved laughing with him on SNL. *Bob Dole* will miss Norm Macdonald" presumably indicating they're still on good terms, unlike another recent GOP incumbent who lost the 2020 election. In fact, the senator, who stumped for Donald Trump as the only former presidential frontrunner to do so with GOP predecessors Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush refusing endorsement, actually appeared alongside Macdonald on a cold opening of SNL as per tradition with political figures. Here's a cold opening that might not have aged particularly well.
When Macdonald broke character asking the senator if he could keep running for president to help the actor's career, Dole provided some honestly about his own campaign. "It would help keep you on the front pages," Macdonald said to Dole of the request, to which the senator replied, "Believe me, Norm. Running for president doesn't always keep you in the front pages — unless you take a dive off the podium." Dole referred to the infamous podium incident at a rally in 1996. "Thanks for noticing here at 'Saturday Night Live'," Dole said. "I appreciated it." A laughing Macdonald replied, "I don't write a lot of this stuff." It's also worth noting that Trump hosted SNL at the time he was announcing his candidacy for 2016, but later went on several Twitter tirades against the series for doing what they always did since its premiere in 1975 during the Gerald Ford administration.