There’s something hilarious in the fact Alec Baldwin’s wife chose the name Hilaria Baldwin.
Baldwin’s wife was supposed to hail from the Spanish island of Mallorca. As celebrity power couples go, Hilaria wasn’t exactly, say, Beyoncé to Alec’s Jay-Z, but she’s done all right for herself. Her broad Spanish accent — which she played up like Desi Arnaz when it was time to tell Lucy she had some ‘splainin to do — gave her a kind of character, and she leveraged that to the fullest.
In a Friday piece for NBC News, cultural critic Susanne Ramírez de Arellano summed up Hilaria’s career as “marrying into Hollywood royalty and then shilling her yoga and wellness business — during which she inundated social media with lingerie-clad selfies with babies in an expensive Manhattan apartment and appearances on television in mutating Spanish accents.”
Sounds about right. It’s certainly a way to make a living and as a side hustle, it beats Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and its, um, curious jade eggs. The problem is that Hilaria’s tacky brand was very Hilaria-based — which is to say her personality (and that accent) had a lot to do with it.
Unfortunately, Hilaria isn’t quite Mallorcan. Her given name isn’t even Hilaria. Alec Baldwin’s “Spanish” wife is actually a Bostonian whose maiden name, at least at one point, was Hillary Hayward-Thomas. In other words, not very Spanish.
More on that in a bit, but let’s first talk about Alec Baldwin, Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
As an actor, Baldwin’s career has had its ups and downs — and many of his occupational vicissitudes have to do with his private life as opposed to his skill as a thespian.
Baldwin’s performances in films like “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Departed” speak for themselves — but so does his infamous voice mail message to his 11-year-old daughter where he called her a “rude, thoughtless little pig.”
Or the time where he allegedly assaulted a photographer. Or the time he delayed an American Airlines flight and had to be removed from the plane because he wouldn’t stop playing “Words With Friends” on his phone.
Point is, Baldwin’s bankability has long been dependent on how radioactive he is at any given moment.
Before his wife’s dubious backstory became a thing, Baldwin wasn’t exactly setting off the gossip Geiger counter. His artless “Saturday Night Live” impersonation of the president may have made conservatives appreciate that Tina Fey at least put some effort into her obnoxious Sarah Palin impersonation, but the left seemed to love Baldwin-as-Trump. He even won an Emmy for the performance back in 2017.
As far as the media was concerned, Baldwin was back in the cultural conversation, having yet again established his liberal bona fides and political gravitas. We’d all forgotten he was a bit of a bounder.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 6, 2017
Well, now we know that Baldwin has been in a relationship with a fake Spaniard for nine years and has fathered five children with a woman making bank in part because of a ridiculous accent and made-up backstory.
As The Wrap noted, there aren’t any more “Saturday Night Live” episodes until late January. Given the situation, it might be difficult for Baldwin to do a credible Trump cold open, given the fact his radioactivity is suddenly at Chernobyl levels again.
However, Donald Trump Jr. has an idea that could save the day: Maybe Alec Baldwin can play himself.
Alec Baldwin should play Alec Baldwin when SNL parodies his wife pretending she’s Spanish for the last few decades as opposed to the basic white girl from Mass that she actually is.
It would be the first funny thing Saturday Night Live has produced in years.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 31, 2020
“Alec Baldwin should play Alec Baldwin when SNL parodies his wife pretending she’s Spanish for the last few decades as opposed to the basic white girl from Mass that she actually is,” Trump Jr. tweeted Wednesday.
“It would be the first funny thing Saturday Night Live has produced in years.”
Don’t expect it to happen: Fox News reported that “[t]here has been no indication that the show will cover the topic, and many say that producers won’t touch the topic due to Alec Baldwin’s ties to the show.”
However, I’d still love to hear the 62-year-old actor explain why his 36-year-old wife told The New York Times she doesn’t think there’s “something I’m doing wrong, and I think there is a difference between hiding and creating a boundary.”
Heck, I’d love to hear him explain what that even means, but I’d also like to hear him explain how there’s nothing wrong with pretending you’re a Spaniard to sell stuff. She’s basically the Rachel Dolezal of the Instagram set. Can you imagine Alec’s monologue?
It’s worth pointing out that Hillary/Hilaria only talked to The Times after social media clips of her using varying accents in different venues — including one on NBC’s “Today” where she made gazpacho and had to ask what the English word for cucumbers was — had Twitter users calling her out for “grift.”
The explanation she gave for all of this borders on brilliant.
“Ms. Baldwin is bilingual, and she speaks English with varying degrees of a Spanish accent depending on how happy or upset she is feeling, she said,” The Times reported.
“She didn’t know that ¡Hola! magazine, for which she has twice posed for the cover and which has written some 20 items about her on its English-language website so far this year, repeatedly reported inaccurately that she was a Spaniard because she said she didn’t read articles about herself. She got confused about the word for cucumber because it was one of her first times appearing on live television and she was nervous (‘brain fart,’ she said).”
How is this not prime “Saturday Night Live” material?
We could have a sketch where Baldwin appears with Hilaria on “Today” and coaches her on her accent. “No, no — say it like ‘coo-cumber,’ darling,” he’d whisper to Hilaria. “That way it sounds really ethnic!” Maybe another sketch in the offices of ¡Hola! magazine, where Alec does everything he can to stop his wife from reading her own published work. You could center half an episode around this, easily.
Baldwin’s impression of Trump relies on the cultural trope that the president is a slimy, dishonest pig. Yes, Trump has had three marriages, but from all appearances, he remains close to his children. Melania really is Slovenian; she’s not just faking the accent.
Baldwin has multiple arrests and agreed, as recently as 2019, to take an anger management course to have charges over a parking spot fight dropped. His divorce from Kim Basinger led to that infamous voice mail where he berated his own pre-teen daughter.
Now, his current wife — almost half his age — has, by all reasonable accounts, engaged in a transparent grift to sell her wellness/yoga nonsense by, in part, passing herself off as a faux Spaniard.
I’d love to see Alec Baldwin impersonating Alec Baldwin and explicating all of this.
Maybe he can even bring Hilaria on. She has some ‘splainin to do, after all — and it would be hilarious to watch.