WATCH: Saturday Night Live plays it straight in tribute to Leonard Cohen and Clinton campaign

Kate McKinnon returned for a very different sort of opening...

WATCH: Saturday Night Live plays it straight in tribute to Leonard Cohen and Clinton campaign

Image: Saturday Night Live / YouTube

During a heated and divisive election campaign, the Saturday Night Live sketches about the race proved one of the most reliable sources of weekly laughs.

Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump became easily the best known parodies of the two candidates.

This week, however, the long-running sketch show opened up on an uncharacteristic note of melancholy.

McKinnon returned as Clinton for the show's 'cold open', but this time the mood was rather different.

McKinnon performed a straight piano cover of Hallelujah in a tribute to Leonard Cohen, who died earlier this week.

It also proved to be an affectionate tribute to the defeated Democratic candidate, with McKinnon's Clinton turning to the camera after the song and stating "I'm not giving up, and neither should you".

Critics of the iconic sketch show have long accused it of being short on laughs, but this time that seemed entirely intentional.

The rest of the show was more in line with tradition.

It was hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle, who offered a funny but scathing monologue on Trump and race: