New York: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said he had a "lot of fun" hosting the iconic US sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" -- despite protests over his appearance and mixed reviews about his performance.
Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, Trump stepped on stage to cheers and insisted in a nearly five-minute opening monologue that saw him flanked by two lookalikes: "People think I'm controversial, but the truth is, I'm a nice guy."
"It's wonderful to be here. I will tell you, this is going to be something special," he said.
Trump, a billionaire real estate developer who has never held elected office, leads in the polls along with Ben Carson for the Republican nomination for the 2016 race to the White House.
But the 69-year-old has courted controversy for his statements on immigration, promising that if he becomes president, he will expel immigrants who are in the United States illegally and build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
He has also alleged that Mexico sends rapists and other criminals across the border.
That stance saw Latino community leaders hold a rally Friday in Los Angeles calling on NBCUniversal to drop Trump from "Saturday Night Live."
And there were more protests yesterday in New York hours before the show was broadcast, with dozens of demonstrators marching from Trump Tower to NBC's studio in Rockefeller Plaza.
There were fears that audience members might seek to heckle Trump over his views and a Hispanic advocacy group had offered a $5,000 reward for anyone that called Trump "racist" during his closely watched opening monologue.
He indeed was interrupted with a cry of "You're a racist!" -- but it turned out to be from comedian Larry David, who co-produced "Seinfeld."
"Who the hell is -- oh, I knew this was going to happen," Trump responded in what was clearly a scripted sketch. "Who is that?"
"I heard if I yelled that, they'd give me $5,000," he added, to laughter and applause from the audience.
Other sketches saw Trump poke fun at his own bombastic personality and holding a cabinet meeting as US president -- with his daughter Ivanka as his Secretary of the Interior -- during which he is told the Islamic State group has been defeated.
People in Trump's America are just "sick of winning," he is told.