Celebs Who Hated Being Impersonated On SNL

For some famous faces, being lampooned on America's favorite late-night sketch comedy series, "Saturday Night Live," is the ultimate honor. Oprah Winfrey, for example, invited Maya Rudolph onto her chat show in an episode titled "America's Funniest People" after seeing the iconic "Oprah's Favorite Things: Birthday Edition" skit.

Hillary Clinton was so enamored with Kate McKinnon's portrayal of her that she appeared on the show alongside her occasional doppelganger. And although Barbara Walters was initially disgruntled over Gilda Radner's gentle mocking, she eventually acknowledged that the impression helped immortalize her.

But not every celebrity is as pleased to be parodied in front of millions of viewers. From Hollywood muscle men and daytime talk show veterans to reality TV regulars and, perhaps inevitably, various members of the Trump administration, here's a look at 14 rather thin-skinned stars who obviously don't subscribe to the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Mark Wahlberg wanted to crack Andy Samberg's nose

Mark Wahlberg may have appeared in comedies such as "Date Night," "Ted," and "Daddy's Home." But as anyone who's seen his slightly unhinged daily schedule will already know, the former Calvin Klein model takes life very seriously. And so it's little surprise that he didn't exactly appreciate being mocked by Andy Samberg for a "Saturday Night Live" sketch titled "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals."

Referencing the skit during an interview with the New York Post, the former Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch singer said, "Someone showed it to me on YouTube. It wasn't like Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin, that's for sure ... 'Saturday Night Live' hasn't been funny for a long time. They've asked me to do the show a ton of times. I used to watch it when Eddie Murphy was there and Joe Piscopo and Bill Murray. I don't even know who's on the show now."

And Wahlberg appeared to get increasingly mad about his "SNL" treatment, too, telling "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (via HuffPost), "When I see [Andy Samberg], I'm going to crack that big f***ing nose of his. Then I'm going to tell him, 'Say hi to your mother for me.'" The muscle man did actually confront his new nemesis on the late-night institution but thankfully left his nose intact. 

Kathie Lee Gifford advised Kristen Wiig to do something else

You can perhaps cut Kathie Lee Gifford a little bit of slack for failing to have a sense of humor about her unflattering "Saturday Night Live" portrayal. After all, who would like to be depicted as someone who's always inebriated in the workplace in front of millions of viewers for several years?

Kristen Wiig was the comedian who incurred the wrath of the chat show legend, particularly for the episode in which she spoofed Gifford's "Everyone Has a Story" segment. When producers mischievously played the sketch on "Today," the co-host remarked, "Everyone seems to enjoy it ... but I don't think it's that funny." And she visibly shook her head when colleague Hoda Kotb complimented Wiig's singing voice, prompting a groan from the crew. "Oh, it's okay to beat the crud out of me, that's fine," Gifford added. "But when I say, 'I'm sorry, the woman can't sing' — that's a problem for you people?"

Gifford continued on the offensive when she offered her impersonator some advice. "I think I'm going to sue [Wiig] for ruining my song! Can't she get another job? Go off and do something else?"

Anderson Cooper felt that Jon Rudnitsky's portrayal fell short

Anderson Cooper had no beef with his first "Saturday Night Live" portrayal, which was carried out by future fellow talk show host Seth Meyers. However, the CNN favorite was less impressed with his second, which was the responsibility of one-season wonder Jon Rudnitsky.

During a 2015 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," Cooper was asked about the recent "SNL" skit in which Rudnitsky's Cooper chaired a Democratic debate. He said (via The Hollywood Reporter), "I'm not easily offended, but I didn't think it was very good. I'm all for being spoofed. I did think it was a little oddly, you know it was like the only thing he knew about me was that I'm gay, so that's sort of what he went with."

And when fellow guest Molly Ringwald described Rudnitsky's impression as "very stoic," Cooper didn't agree, responding, "I got a little Truman Capote vibe which I thought — it was a little snideness, which I thought was odd." The newscaster had been invited to appear as himself for the skit, but a schedule conflict forced him to turn the offer down.

Meghan McCain believes she was singled out

In 2019, various "The View" panelists discussed a recent "Saturday Night Live" parody of the daytime talk show. And Meghan McCain appeared to share the same opinion as co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Abby Huntsman, and Joy Behar, describing it (via BuzzFeed) as a "pop culture honor." However, over time, the outspoken personality has had second thoughts about the whole experience.

While being interviewed by Rolling Stone two years later, McCain revealed that she'd actually felt singled out, and not in a good way, either: "People really loved it when "SNL" dunked on me, and it was not flattering or kind. And, by the way, they were pretty nice to the rest of the cast, just not great to me."

The daughter of one-time presidential nominee John McCain went on to explain that Aidy Bryant's impression only added to her mental health problems: "I feel like I have a pretty healthy sense of humor. But I think if people knew what it has done to me mentally ... the depression that has followed ... just the dark spirals. I felt like for a while that I was just the laughing stock of the country."

Carole Baskin wants to slap Chloe Fineman

Mark Wahlberg isn't the only celebrity who wanted to react to their "Saturday Night Live" impersonation with physical violence. Carole Baskin, who shot to fame (or should that be infamy?) during the pandemic as Joe Exotic's ultimate foe in the Netflix documentary series "Tiger King," also expressed a desire to inflict pain on Chloe Fineman after seeing her less-than-flattering depiction in 2020.

Referring to the skit titled "MasterClass Quarantine Edition" during a chat on "The Pet Show with Dennis Quaid and Jimmy Jellinek," Baskin said, " I could just slap that woman! This whole, 'My kitty, meow, meow, kitty, meow,' and then she would just say these really weird words all in a row."

Baskin, who was famous for the catchphrase, "Hey all you cool cats and kittens," claimed that some people are now left disappointed when they hear her real voice: "That all became popular, I guess, in popular culture and people wanted me to talk like that on the Cameos. And I'm like, 'I have no idea how to talk like that. That is not how I speak.'"

Sarah Palin believes Tina Fey owes her some money

You might think that Sarah Palin took the "Saturday Night Live" joke well, having once appeared alongside Tina Fey, aka the woman responsible for the "I can see Russia from my house" quote many people now believe came from the real thing! But it turns out that her cameo, which was watched by a remarkable 17 million viewers, wasn't a seal of approval.

In the book "Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live," the ninth Governor of Alaska revealed (via The Hollywood Reporter) that she'd actually been left hurt by Fey's unflattering impersonation: "I know that they portrayed me as an idiot, and I hated that, and I wanted to come on the show and counter some of that."

In fact, Palin, who was plucked from relative obscurity to become John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, now believes that her lookalike should compensate her financially: "If I ran into Tina Fey again today, I would say: 'You need to at least pay for my kids' braces or something from all the money that you made off of pretending that you're me! My goodness, you capitalized on that! Can't you contribute a little bit? Jeez!'"

Donald Trump described Alec Baldwin's portrayal as 'agony' to watch

Alec Baldwin may have picked up an outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series Emmy Award for his regular "Saturday Night Live" cameos as Donald Trump. But the 45th himself certainly didn't believe that the actor was worthy of such an accolade.

While speaking to "Today" in 2016, Trump was relatively measured in his response to Baldwin's impersonation, telling host Matt Lauer (via Entertainment Weekly), "I mean, I like Alec, but his imitation of me is really mean-spirited and not very good. I don't think it's good. I do like him, and I like him as an actor, but I don't think his imitation of me gets me at all. And it's meant to be very mean-spirited, which is very biased."

However, the Trump impersonator and the real Trump soon ended up getting into a far more heated war of words. Responding to a 2018 interview in which Baldwin admitted he'd created a rod for his own back, the then-president tweeted, "Alec Baldwin, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me on 'SNL,' now says playing me was agony. Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch."

Neil deGrasse Tyson felt that Kenan Thompson could do better

Neil deGrasse Tyson wasn't offended by being mocked on "Saturday Night Live" during a spoof of "Fox and Friends" in 2018. But he did feel that the cast member portraying him could have done a little more homework.

When asked by Insider what he'd say to the comedy institution's figurehead Lorne Michaels about Kenan Thompson's impersonation, Tyson answered, "Lorne, I'm honored and flattered that you would think of representing me, particularly in that context on Fox News. But I think your comedians and actors have more accurately portrayed other people than he portrayed me. So there's some room for improvement."

But as you'd perhaps expect from a man of science, Tyson also believes that there's a method to all the "SNL" madness: "If the universe prompts people — artists — to have fun, then more power to it. It is a sign that science has become mainstream and that can only be a good thing."

Fran Lebowitz didn't even bother to watch Bowen Yang's portrayal

One of New York's finest writers, Fran Lebowitz, became one of the most unlikely "Saturday Night Live" victims in 2021 when she was portrayed during the "Weekend Update" bit by Bowen Yang. Not that the social commentator believes it's worthy of her time, though. Or so she says anyway.

When asked about the impersonation in a chat with the Los Angeles Times, Lebowitz responded, "I was home reading. People started calling me because they saw it. I would not have watched it even if I knew. I said, 'If you've never had a caricature drawn of you, you might think this is a great thing [to be parodied] — but no one likes them.'"

Yang, however, believes that Lebowitz's nonchalance was all for show, as he explained in his interview on "Late Night with Seth Meyers": "That's confirmation that she's seen it and doesn't care for it. And I think that's the highest compliment you could possibly get from someone like Fran."

Lauren Boebert described Chloe Fineman as a no-name

In 2021, Chloe Fineman took aim at Lauren Boebert in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that featured the Congresswoman dismissing the danger of COVID-19 while brandishing a semi-automatic rifle. While that would seem a fair portrayal by many, the Republican was far from amused.

Making her thoughts on the skit crystal clear, Boebert took to X, formerly known as Twitter for a riposte, which controversially joked about a recent Hollywood tragedy, "Just saw the poorly acted 'SNL' skit from last night. Seeing the poor trigger discipline from the no-name actress who played me makes me think Alec Baldwin did the gun safety training over there. BTW, when are they moving 'SNL' over to CNN to die out of irrelevance?"

Fineman didn't take the smackdown lying down, sharing Boebert's insults on an Instagram story (via the Independent) with the caption "Lmaoooooooo," while also calling the gun rights activist an "actual clown" alongside a screenshot from the comedic routine.

David A. Paterson argued Fred Armisen was poking fun at the physically disabled

According to The New York Times, David A. Paterson was "well-known for making light of his vision problems." But the legally blind politician, who was New York Governor for two years in the late '00s, felt that Fred Armisen's "Saturday Night Live" impersonation overstepped the comedic mark.

That's according to Risa B. Heller, Paterson's communications director, anyway. In a statement to the aforementioned newspaper, she said, "The governor engages in humor all the time, and he can certainly take a joke. However, this particular 'Saturday Night Live' skit unfortunately chose to ridicule people with physical disabilities and imply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities."

"The governor is sure that 'Saturday Night Live,' with all of its talent, can find a way to be funny without being offensive," Heller diplomatically added, no doubt referring to the fact that Armisen played Paterson with an obvious lisp and squinting eye.

Steven Tyler believes Mick Jagger got him wrong

Mick Jagger may be a gifted songwriter, film producer, and unarguably one of the greatest rock and roll frontmen of all time (and still going strong even in his 80s). But according to Steven Tyler, the Rolling Stones lead singer can't add impressionist to his list of talents.

The Aerosmith vocalist was parodied by Jagger when he guest hosted an episode of "SNL" in 2012. Tyler didn't take umbrage with being impersonated in the "American Idol" inspired skit titled "So You Think You Can Dance At An Outdoor Music Festival." He simply felt it was entirely inaccurate.

Speaking to Hollywood Life about the sketch, the hell-raiser said, "Ohhh, [Mick] got it so wrong. He could have done the yeah yeah yeah!'" Tyler might have been disappointed with the lack of his signature howl, but he did, however, appreciate Jagger's sartorial efforts, adding, "I thought he looked good with long hair. I've always wanted him to grow it back."

Bobby Brown describes his and ex-wife Whitney Houston's impersonations as hateful

One of the most striking parts of Kevin Macdonald's Whitney Houston documentary, "Whitney: Can I Be Me," is the montage of clips in which the troubled singer and her then-husband Bobby Brown are shown being ridiculed by various sketch shows. And, of course, "Saturday Night Live" was a culprit.

In 2001, Maya Rudolph depicted the "My Love Is Your Love" singer, while Tracy Morgan took on her former New Edition pin-up other half. And it's fair to say that their impressions, which leaned heavily on the pair's rumored drug use, weren't exactly flattering. Little wonder, then, that even nearly two decades on, Brown still has beef with the pair.

"It was hateful," the "Don't Be Cruel" singer told Atlanta Black Star in 2022, referring to the "SNL" skit. "People do some hateful things, but you just have to bare and buckle down and be able to accept the good with the bad." Brown was even more scathing of the treatment that they received at the hands of rival show "Mad TV," admitting that at the time, he and Houston wanted to confront the comedians in question directly.

Ann Miller was not impressed with Moly Shannon's 'dirty' talk

"I like to kick and stretch and kick." Molly Shannon's catchphrase as Ann Miller, an icon of the silver screen musical, is one of the most memorable in "Saturday Night Live" history. But it wasn't exactly appreciated by the source.

In an interview with Fox News, Shannon revealed that she'd found out on the grapevine that Miller, who sadly died in 2004, wasn't her number one fan: "When Cheri Oteri and I did 'Leg Up,' we heard from Ann Miller, and she was not pleased with our sketch. She thought it was very dirty and was not impressed with us. She never wrote a letter personally to me, but we had heard she was not too pleased with us."

Shannon, who successfully auditioned for "SNL" with a character based on Miller, perhaps shouldn't be surprised. After all, she did depict the "Easter Parade" star as someone who thought nothing of discussing menopause, trash talking her fellow Hollywood icons, and opening up about her bedroom antics with Frank Sinatra.