Speed Reads

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Alec Baldwin tells Stephen Colbert the secret of his Trump success

"When I saw your Donald Trump for the first time," Stephen Colbert told Alec Baldwin on Tuesday's Late Show, "I think, like a lot of people, when I saw your Trump I went 'Oh, thank God — somebody has cracked that nut.' Do you like doing it?" Baldwin didn't really answer directly. "Well, it's amazing," he said. "It's kind of eerie, actually. More than anything I've ever done, people come up to me and say something on the streets," usually "thank you." His 3-year-old daughter keeps his ego in check, he assured Colbert.

"What's your hook-in?" Colbert asked. "Like, what's the thing that you have to do? Is it your face? Is it the hair? Is it the hands? Is it the voice?" Baldwin said it's the face, crediting the people at Saturday Night Live with helping him get into character, after soliciting his participation, which only happened because a movie fell through. "It's totally a caricature," he explained. "You know, you just pick a few things," like cocking an eyebrow and contorting your face "like you're trying to suck the chrome off the fender of a car." He demonstrated, to the delight of the audience.

"Now, Trump isn't your first sort of questionable president you have experience with," Colbert said. He brought out a letter Richard Nixon had written to Baldwin upon his loss for George Washington University student body president, and after both comedians trotted out their Nixon impersonations, Colbert asked Baldwin if he would run for office again. Baldwin said no. "Entertainers can be presidents now," Colbert reminded him, to no avail. "Trump, it's not going to swing back," Baldwin said. "It's not going to open the door for nontraditional candidates." The pattern is crazy, safe, crazy, safe, he said, so the next president will probably be a governor. Watch below. Peter Weber