Last season, Saturday Night Live saw one of its best episodes with the one hosted by the zeitgeist’s favorite comedian, Louis C.K., especially with the Abraham Lincoln/Louie mash-up parody. Last night, Louie returned to host SNL and offered up another wonderfully weird episode, topped off with a great chunk of his stand-up for the opening monologue.
Per usual, when C.K. is given a stage to just talk, he comes out plainly dressed in something black paired with blue jeans, and does the stand-up comedy that has driven him to his current acclaim. This monologue is certainly no exception. as it could have easily been a great late night set, devoid of the usual character bits and interruptions that accompany the typical SNL host’s monologue. Note and applaud his set boldly going into dissecting religion, a move usually avoided at all costs by network brass.
You might note from Louie that C.K. really digs at the conventions of love and romance in our culture, especially as they’re portrayed in TV, film, and in movies. Even on Louie, he stops in the middle of a sitcom taping to question the unrealistic writing and situations in which two people in love are supposed to be. C.K. and the SNL writers and cast had a lot of fun with this last night in three specific sketches that took on the tropes of an overwrought soap opera tryst, the lyrics to a classic soul song, and the final speech in what would be a romantic comedy movie.
Respectively, Private Eyes, Mr. Big Stuff, and Romantic Speech take the C.K.-esque tangent of logic that asks, “What if this character did this weird, but more grounded thing instead of what would make for an easy happy ending?” None of them result in the awkward make-out session with Kate McKinnon like in his last episode hosting, but there’s plenty of great weirdness to be had with Vanessa Bayer playing “the other woman” who over-pronounces everything, all the ladies of SNL questioning the wrong guy as Mr. Big Stuff, and Aidy Bryant going along with a last ditch romantic speech that ranks in the most bizarre but funniest in recent memory.
The parody of Celebrity Jeopardy was such a staple of SNL for a long time that once Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond parted the show, doing another Jeopardy sketch didn’t garner much attention. Black Jeopardy featured Kenan Thompson in place of Will Ferrell-as-Alex Trebek and contestants played by Jay Pharoah, Sasheer Zamata, and Louis C.K. as an African American Studies professor. There isn’t necessarily any Trebek-Sean Connery back-and-forth, but C.K. contrasts nicely as his professor-out-of-water character who so clearly isn’t going to win.
A promo for a fake female buddy cop show made for one of the best one liners of the night in the Kate McKinnon-Aidy Bryant sketch Dyke and Fats. Judging by this sketch and his role in American Hustle, C.K. might have a knack for playing chiefs of various law enforcement agencies.
These next two sketches definitely fall into the realm of an episode of Louie. Mike O’Brien, as a doctor, dealt with weird patients who ask about action figurines up their butts and a boss that is a normal, functioning boss, played nicely by Beck Bennett, has the physical ability and mannerisms of a baby. It should be noted that many of the current SNL cast members, in contrast to past ones, don’t really break character, which should be applauded when Bennett is committing to writhing on the floor and reaching for a box like a toddler, but speaking in his normal adult voice.
This whole episode of SNL was pretty solid throughout. Even when C.K. wasn’t in the fake ad for a new cleaning product, it was good for a big laugh. Also, Men’s Warehouse should be thankful for this sketch, I suppose.
It seems to be the trend that many of the sketches that don’t make air over the last few months seem to get plenty of buzz over the Internet, questioning why they would be even cut in the first place after dress rehearsal. Earth Guy Art, which throws a hysterical curveball into a generic Star Trek-esque scene, complete with C.K. in a semi-Klingon get-up, definitely keeps this trend going.
Overall, as you’ve probably discerned from reading all of the above, this was a thoroughly entertaining episode of SNL, which isn’t oft said across the Interwebs on the Sunday following an episode. As of right now, the ratings from last night weren’t that big, which is unfortunate, given how enjoyable this episode over the one hosted by the much higher-rated Miley Cyrus hosted episode. Maybe it had something to do with C.K. tweeting about hosting SNL only halfway through the broadcast?
Still, if there is to be a new addition to the regular stable of hosts at Saturday Night Live, C.K. absolutely needs to be on the short list for that.