NEW YORK • Actors Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro made surprise cameos in the opening sketch on the television show Saturday Night Live last week, during which Stiller played the embattled personal lawyer to United States President Donald Trump, Michael D. Cohen, and De Niro appeared as Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation.
The sketch began with Vice-President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, played by cast members Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon, remarking on the exceptionally bad week they and their allies in Washington had experienced.
"The important thing is to stay calm," Bennett said. "In a couple of months, the president will be back to normal."
"How's that?" McKinnon asked.
"Because it will be me," Bennett replied.
Soon after, Stiller - briefly a cast member in 1989 - walked on stage, introducing himself as Cohen, "attorney at law, and also sometimes not at law".
He went on to express disgust at having recently had his office and hotel raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with multiple inquiries, including the Stormy Daniels affair, saying the raids were "a complete violation of attorney-criminal privilege".
He acknowledged that the recent headlines had been problematic. "I'm Donald Trump's lawyer. I've got a whole hard drive that's just labelled 'Yikes.'" But he remained loyal to the president, whom he called "the smartest, kindest, sexiest, least colluding man on this planet".
Finally, Stiller was sent to an interrogation room to meet De Niro, who immediately strapped him to a lie-detector machine.
It took a couple of seconds for this part of the sketch to settle in with the audience. But eventually it hit: It was a re-creation of a scene from the 2000 comedy Meet The Parents, in which Stiller and De Niro both starred, except that this time, De Niro was playing Mueller instead of an overprotective father.
The sketch even included lines lifted straight from the movie.
There was Stiller saying, "You can milk anything with nipples." And De Niro responding: "Really? I have nipples. Can you milk me, Mr Cohen?"