Adele joked about her recent weight loss and told fans "my album's not finished" as she hosted the US comedy show Saturday Night Live.
"I know I look really, really different since you last saw me," said the 32-year-old, as she took to the stage.
"But actually, because of all the Covid restrictions...I had to travel light and I could only bring half of me," she joked. "And this is the half I chose."
The star added she was "too scared" to sing and host SNL at the same time.
"I'd rather just put on some wigs, have a glass of wine or six and see what happens."
However, the star did break into song during one of the night's sketches.
A spoof of the reality show The Bachelor, it saw Adele enter the competition as a female contestant looking for a date.
"I'm here because I've had a lot of heartbreak in my life - first at 19 and then, sort of famously, at 21 and then, even more famously, at 25," she said, referencing the titles of her first three albums.
The sketch saw her endure endless rejections in The Bachelor's dating scenarios.
On every occasion, she interrupted the filming with one of her songs - including Rolling In The Deep, Hello and Set Fire To The Rain - to the increasing annoyance of her castmates.
At the end, she walked off the set singing Someone Like You, shouting: "Catch me next week on Love Island!"
Sarah Palin 'tribute'
It has been five years since Adele last released an album, and three since she last appeared on US TV - at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
Her booking on SNL prompted speculation that she was ready to release her fourth album, but the star wrote on Instagram last week that she wanted the appearance to be a "stand alone moment".
In her opening monologue, Adele said she was "absolutely thrilled" to be part of the show that "broke my career in America, 12 long years ago".
"You see I was the musical guest back in 2008 when Sarah Palin came on with Tina Fey," she explained, "so obviously a few million people tuned in to watch it. And well, the rest is now history."
That episode was the highest-rated edition of SNL in 14 years, and Adele's performance of Chasing Pavements and Cold Shoulder made her an overnight star.
The day after Adele's performance, her debut album 19 took the top spot on the iTunes chart for the first time, while Chasing Pavements climbed the Billboard chart from 46 to 11, giving the star her first US hit.
As with her first appearance, Saturday night's show came just weeks before a presidential election. Adele said she didn't "know anything about American politics... but I'll just say this: 'Sarah Palin, babes, thanks for everything.'"
She continued: "I always get very nervous on live TV, but tonight especially so, because I swear a lot. And because I'm British I tend to skip all those medium ones and go straight to the worst ones.
"Last time I was told not to swear specifically during a live broadcast, I was playing Glastonbury and well, this is what happened..." she said, cueing up a compilation of her expletive-ridden performance in 2016.
Other sketches during the 90-minute show saw the star playing a ghost haunting a mansion, and an English woman who is secretly obsessed with colouring books, having her fortune told.
"I wonder if you see anything work-related in the next year," she asked Madame Vivelda, played by comedian Kate McKinnon.
"I see no concerts in 2020," she was told. "Only colouring."
A third scene saw her playing a middle-aged divorcee who clumsily stumbles into racist stereotypes while extolling the virtues of escaping to Africa.
As she and McKinnon repeatedly emphasized the wonder of "the bamboo" and dreamily referenced "the tribesmen", Adele kept breaking character and stifling giggles.
The star dedicated Saturday's show to front-line workers in the Covid-19 pandemic, some of whom had been invited to the socially-distanced audience in New York.
The programme, which is not broadcast live in the UK, will be repeated on Sky Comedy and Now TV on Sunday night.