As the opening segment began on Saturday Night Live this past weekend, the audience in the studio and at home had no idea whether or not the Sarah Palin that had just been announced would be the actual Republican Vice-Presedential candidate or if it would be Tina Fey, who has become a frequent guest on the show this fall, trotting out her dead-on Palin impersonation.

As it turned out, it was Tina that came out to partake in a fake press conference. But lo and behold — as OK! was the first to report weeks ago — the real Palin was on-hand, in an identical suit to Tina’s, watching the show on a monitor backstage with show producer Lorne Michaels.

"I just didn’t think it was a realistic depiction of the way my press conferences would have gone," the Alaska governor told Lorne. Who defended the impersonation, calling it a "heightened reality."

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That’s when Mark Wahlberg, who has been rather public about his dislike of SNL star Andy Samberg’s impersonation of him, made a surprise appearance, threatening to bust Lorne’s head open if he didn’t point the way to Andy’s whereabouts.

Another surprise star turn from outspoken Obama supporter and frequent SNL host Alec Baldwin ratcheted up the hilarious backstage tension.

Mistaking the real Palin for Tina Fey, the 30 Rock star told Michaels, "You can’t let Tina go out there with that woman… She goes against everything we stand for." He even got the governor to say her own nickname, "Caribou Barbie."

When Michaels pointed out to Baldwin that he had actually been standing to the real Palin, the embarrassed actor said, "I have to tell you this… You are way hotter in person." To which Palin replied, "And I must say, your brother Stephen is my favorite Baldwin brother."

Palin made a second appearance on the show during the Weekend Update segment, where Amy Poehler waxed lyrical about the presidential race:

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