With President Donald J. Trump a reality in the darkest timeline possible, Saturday Night Live opted to address the new era with a cold open about arguably the most powerful man in the world now: Vladimir Putin.

Beck Bennett, as the Russian leader, simpered to American viewers on RT, "Yesterday, we all made Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States. Hooray, we did it! And today many of you are scared, and marching in the streets. You are worried your country is in the hands of this unpredictable man. But don't worry -- it's not. Relax, I've got this -- Puti, is going to make everything OK. I promise that we will take of America, it's the most expensive thing we've ever bought."

"Putin" had a typical Russian woman vouch for how wonderful Russia is, and Olya, played by Kate McKinnon, "Each day I wake up with big smile on my face like this" and twisted her face into a look of horror. She added, "I sleep in bed, not in carcass of dog."

The issue of inauguration crowd size came up as well. Showing video of packed streets, "Putin" said, "Oh, wait, that's the women's march," and then showed the photograph of the emptier National Mall. Noting how Trump went to C.I.A. headquarters to claim his inauguration attracted a million people, "Putin" suggested, "If you're going to lie, don't make it so obvious. Say you're friends with LeBron James—not that you are LeBron James." And don't worry—the allegedly compromising materials on Trump were discussed.

The monologue was also a preview of how the show might work around Alec Baldwin's ability to play Trump (Baldwin was in last week's episode, in a vicious send-up of Trump's press conference).