NEW YORK • The diplomatic travails of United States President Donald Trump and his past Twitter fixation with actress Kristen Stewart provided fodder for Saturday Night Live this weekend.
But a sketch lampooning Mr Sean M. Spicer, the White House press secretary, in which he was impersonated by actress Melissa McCarthy, the comic actress and a surprise guest star, stole the show as SNL continued to take swings at a president who delights in hitting back.
In the show's cold open, actor Alec Baldwin returned for another outing as Mr Trump, phoning up other world leaders under the guidance of chief strategist Stephen Bannon (actually an SNL cast member dressed as the Grim Reaper).
As Mr Trump, Baldwin first called Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia (Beck Bennett), who reminded him that former US president Barack Obama promised to receive 1,200 refugees held in detention in Australia.
"No refugees," Baldwin said hastily. "America first, Australia s**ks. Your reef is failing. Prepare to go to war."
He went on to call President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico ("Guy who's going to pay for the wall says what?"), Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany ("I'm going to write a memoir about this struggle and call it My Struggle - what would that be in German?") and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe (Kenan Thompson) was not impressed or intimidated. "I will rip out your spine and drink from your skull," he told Baldwin.
In her opening monologue, Stewart, the show's host, recalled a time in 2012 when Mr Trump posted tweets about the relationship she had with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson.
"To be fair," Stewart said, "I don't think Donald Trump hated me. I think he's in love with my boyfriend. The President is not a huge fan of me. But that is so okay.
"And Donald, if you didn't like me then, you're really probably not going to like me now. Because I'm hosting SNL and I'm, like, so gay, dude."
Still, the night belonged to McCarthy, the star of Bridesmaids (2011) and Ghostbusters (2016), who came out in thinning blond hair and an ill-fitting suit to play an aggressive, gum-chugging version of Mr Spicer as he led a daily White House press briefing.
"I know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rocky start," she said, beginning the session.
"When I say rocky start, I mean it in the sense of Rocky, the movie, because I came out here to punch you in the face. And, also, I don't talk so good."
As Mr Spicer, McCarthy then told the press corps she would be "apologising, on behalf of you, to me, for how you have treated me these last two weeks".
"And that apology is not accepted," she added.
Mr Trump has posted complaints and criticisms of SNL on his Twitter account over the past several months, though he has not weighed in on the show since his inauguration.
Baldwin, whose impersonations of Mr Trump have raised the President's ire, is to host SNL on Saturday.