“Saturday Night Live” usually responds to a national tragedy by eschewing comedy. Usually, it has no choice.

But when “SNL” returned to the air this weekend after a month-long hiatus during which the country’s worst high school shooting massacre took place in Florida, the show used President Trump to bridge the gap between the tragic and the ridiculous. The opening sketch was an imaginary sequel to Trump’s televised meeting Wednesday in which he had called (at least briefly) for strict gun control.

Alec Baldwin played Trump, as he has since the presidential campaign. He was flanked by two flags, an obsequious Vice President Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) and a gibbering Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Cecily Strong).

“Last week I met with a group of teenage survivors of gun violence,” Baldwin said. “And I want to assure them once again …”

He picked up a note card.

“I hear you. And I care.

“We have to take a hard look at mental health,” Baldwin said, echoing Trump’s actual assertions that most school shooters are mentally ill, before digressing into Trump-style bragging: “Which I have so much of, I have one of the healthiest mentals. My mentals are so high.

“But we have to respect the law,” he said. “Believe me, no one loves the 2nd Amendment and due process more than me. But maybe we just take everyone’s guns away. OK, nobody is allowed to have a gun. Even whites.”

On his left, Feinstein made happy gurgling noises. On his right, Pence looked constipated.

“The youth of America deserve to feel safe and secure in their schools,” Baldwin said, “because, folks, I can only run into so many schools and save everybody.”

This led into an extended non-sequitur in which Trump imagined himself running into the high school, tackling the shooter, “then I’d just keep running and running” all the way to North Korea, where he would assault the dictator Kim Jong Un and thus solve the issues of gun violence and nuclear arms in one sprint.

Touching on another major news story, Baldwin said, “I brought back the steel industry by destroying the auto industry and tanking the stock market,” referring to the international alarm after Trump promised steel and aluminum tariffs.

And at the end of the sketch: “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night,” Baldwin said, looking at his notes again.

– The Washington Post