Back after a few months off, and after a canceled show, and after an arrest, and after who knows what else that didn't make the press, Alec Baldwin reprised the one surefire "Saturday Night Live" impression that's always good for an applause line. And he had some help from some friends during a cold open that teed off of the ongoing G20 Summit in Argentina (which itself inspired an obvious song): Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen, Beck Bennett as Vladimir Putin (another impression that's been in cold storage this season), Fred Armisen as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Cecily Strong as Melania Trump, and Kate McKinnon as Rudy Giuliani.(And oh what a Rudy he was.)
There's almost always strength in numbers in cold opens, and this one was no exception. Baldwin's Donald Trump has evolved primarily into a set-up machine, where others get the better lines and not infrequently the better impression too.
McKinnon's reprisal of Giuliani added a new touch -- bat wings. Stiller's Cohen was eerily Cohenesque. Armisen's Crown Prince and Bennett's Shirtless Puty mastered new versions of the G20 Summit Touchdown handshake (a real and particularly demonstrative handshake, by the way, that "Weekend Update" later compared to the celebration of NASA scientists "after their probe landed on Mars.")
There were some sharp lines that scored in this open.
A sleepless Melania to Donald: "I'm having trouble sleeping. Keep having this nightmare I'm walking through a forest of blood."
Donald/Alec: "That's just the Christmas decorations." (Ka-CHING.)
The parking space brawl came up, and had too.
Donald/Alec: "I haven't been this upset since I flipped out over that parking space." The line got only a muted response, maybe because the audience was trying to recall when Trump himself flipped out over a parking space. (Hey, it's possible. Maybe he once did.)
The whole thing ended with a group sing-along to "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," not bad either:
"Don't cry for us, Argentinaaaaa!...It's just a witch hunt! And we're all witchesssss!"
There were plenty of other highlights last night after a near-month hiatus, to remind us all that given the time and rest, this show can still create some memorable comedy.
Leslie Jones, for example, announced her retirement from sex and once seen why, you then know why.
And speaking of the unseemly, Kate McKinnon and Alex Moffat reprised their impressions of cable news' most adorable love birds, now married, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, while vividly establishing that the bonds of matrimony have done little to cool the on-screen ardor of these two.
Of course, it was repulsive, and hilarious -- the best of the night.