On Saturday Night Live’s G20-themed cold open, President Trump found himself out in the cold.
In Alec Baldwin’s unexpectedly long-awaited return, Trump contemplated the latest findings in the Mueller investigation, being abandoned in turn by Cecily Strong’s Melania, Beck Bennett’s Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ben Stiller’s returning cameo as Michael Cohen, and a fabulous new cameo: Fred Armisen’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kate McKinnon’s Rudy Giuliani hung by him, however. (Quite literally — her vampiric Giuliani appeared suddenly onstage, explaining that he’d been “hanging upside down under the balcony.”)
All those defections got to Trump’s head, though he tried to play it cool and laugh along with Putin and the Saudi prince as they showed off their budding bromance.
It was Baldwin’s first SNL appearance since his high-profile parking dispute, something the show wisely pointed to. “God, I haven’t been this upset since I flipped out over that parking space,” said Baldwin as Trump.
As SNL cold opens are wont to do these days, the sketch hit on as much news as possible, starting with Melania’s red White House Christmas trees:
“I keep having this nightmare where I’m walking through a forest of blood,” Baldwin’s Trump tells her.
“No, that was just my Christmas decorations,” she replies.
It also played with Cohen’s recent admission that he lied about Trump’s real estate dealings with Russia. (Trump: “You were like a son to me.” Cohen: “Then why’d you make me do so much illegal stuff?” Trump: “Because you were like a son to me.”). Stiller’s Cohen is an ongoing callback to a Meet the Parents/Cohen-Mueller lie detector gag in April — Stiller’s counterpart, Robert De Niro, made his second appearance in a recent cold open.
The best lines came from Bennett’s Putin and Armisen’s MBS, playing on a viral video of the pair’s enthusiastic handshake/high-five at the G20 Summit, and the jealousy it inspired in Trump (at least according to the memes).
“What, that?” a shirtless Putin asked, reassuring a pouting Trump. “That meant nothing. Was just a totally improvised handshake,” he added, before he and the Saudi leader launched into a more complex version. “You’re like my main girlfriend. This Saudi guy is just a random hookup.”
But it was Armisen’s MBS, referring to Putin as “Vladdy Daddy,” who got the biggest laughs, from the ickiest jokes. Reminiscing about a recent outing, Putin recalled, “I was like, ‘Did you really kill that journalist?’”
“Of course I didn’t — on Opposite Day,” MBS joked.
After being abandoned by his former No. 1, Baldwin launched into a Trumpified update of the classic “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” revealing why he had been standing on a balcony this entire time:
Don’t cry for me, Argentina
The truth is
I’m very guilty
Some little no-nos
And maybe treason
But I kept my promise
Oops, no I didn’t.