Saturday Night Live: Louis C.K. 4/8/17

SNL Louis CK

After a lengthy vacation, SNL made its triumphant return to the airwaves with Louis C.K. as host. It was the comic’s fourth time hosting, and his previous trips to 30 Rock had me excited and optimistic for the show to kick off its stretch run with a strong episode.

In the end, it was fine.

So much happens so fast in today’s current climate, and with no new episodes since early March, the show tried to cram everything into only a handful of sketches. The result was, well, it was fine.

Louis C.K. was, as usual, at his best during the opening monologue. He wasn’t given the same sheer volume of over-the-top, weird characters as we have seen in past hosting stints, and at times it felt like he disappeared for long stretches of the show. All told, it was a serviceable edition of the show. Next week Jimmy Fallon hosts, which will be… something.

THE BEST

As usual with stand-up comic hosts, the monologue was right in C.K.’s sweet spot. Armed with nonsensical jokes about racist animals and more grounded bits about his own white privilege, the monologue was really the pinnacle of the show. There was some good stuff that followed, but right now, Louis C.K. on a stage telling jokes is about as good as it gets.

THE WORST

It feels like piling on to continue to bag on the show’s recent portrayal of the president, so I won’t “worst” yet another cold open (although it was toothless and stale, once again).

For the first time since I’ve started writing these recaps, Weekend Update just didn’t bring it last night. Now, I understand that’s a totally subjective and unquantifiable take, but it felt like the segment was just an exercise of going through the motions, in the vein of me going to the gym and taking half an hour to do three sets of curls with five pound weights. I’ve really enjoyed the chemistry and energy that Colin Jost and Michael Che have developed over the course of this season, but last night wasn’t a great iteration of the late night staple.

THE REST

  • Oh, The Pepsi Commercial. Shout to the show for being able to get this shot and produced so quickly. Perhaps the highlight of the entire show was Beck Bennett excitedly explaining the concept of his masterpiece to his sister, followed by his face slowly dropping and devolving into horror when nobody outside of the shoot likes his idea. Great moment and great acting by Bennett.
  • Alec Baldwin pulled double duty on Saturday, portraying Trump and Bill O’Reilly (in the same sketch, no less). His turn as the late night blowhard was pretty masterful, even though the subject matter of the sketch felt a bit slimy.
  • C.K. as a 50-year-old man ordering a clown for his birthday party of one was pretty funny, as was Bobby Moynihan trying to perform for a solo audience.
  • I really wanted to love “Sectionals”, as it was reminiscent of one of my favorite sketches “Marble Columns” with Scarlett Johannsen. Sadly, it didn’t deliver, much like C.K.’s sectional couch store.
  • The star of “Tenement Museum” was C.K’s floating accent that ranged from Italian, to Polish, to Borat. It even broke Kate McKinnon, which is a feat in and of itself.

LINES WITHOUT CONTEXT

  • “It’s like you found a finger in your chili, but you still eat the chili because you told everyone that you love chili. It’s tremendous.” – Alec Baldwin
  • “The jury will do their best to not be influenced by the prosecution’s gorgeous, inviting lashes, and they will also disregard the face that the defense’s lashes are clumpy and unremarkable.” – Kenan Thompson
  • “New research shows that the first thing 59% of people eat on their chocolate Easter bunnies are the ears, while the rest are like me and go straight for that butt.” – Michael Che
  • It is reported that Yahoo and AOL will combine to form a new company, because no one wants to die alone.” – Colin Jost

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