‘SNL’ Scorecard: Louis C.K. May or May Not Have a Darth Vader Up His Butt
So, yes, welcome to ‘SNL’ Scorecard’s third official home (we started way back in 2010 at Movieline before moving to HuffPost) and I hope everyone found their way over here okay? There’s a new graphic! Anyway, can we dispense with the introductions now because that’s not why you’re here? Great, moving on…
What an interesting show this was! It certainly wasn’t the best show of the season – though it just might have had the best sketch – but there were a lot of oddities last night. And oddities are a good thing, as opposed to just the parade of current popular culture references that seemed to litter the first half of this season. Louis C.K. returns for his second hosting gig – and C.K. is an interesting host because (A) he’s good and (B) he’s been, let’s say, known to give up on a sketch when he knows it’s not working. (Remember when he sandbagged the “Mountain Pass” sketch?) And last night we finally did learn if Louis C.K. has a Darth Vader action figure up his butt. Anyway, let’s get to the Scorecard…
Sketch of the Night
”Black Jeopardy” (Thompson, Zamata, Pharoah, C.K.) First, it’s kind of remarkable that ‘SNL’ can even do a sketch like this, where 75 percent of the sketch’s cast is African American. (And I’m glad we’ve gotten to the point that it’s not odd to see Jay Pharoah in a sketch where he’s not doing an impression.) And, boy, this was funny. This might just be the funniest sketch of the season – it’s up there with the Wes Anderson spoof, “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” and “Beer Pong.” (And I am curious to know how that Final Jeopardy round turned out for Louis C.K.’s character.) Also, what a rarity: The best sketch of the night airs in the prime spot, post-monologue.
”Louis C.K. Monologue” (C.K.) Louis C.K.’s standup act serving as the monologue shouldn’t be that big of a surprise because he did the exact same thing the first time he hosted. You know, it makes sense! When a musical act is on the show, they sing — so why wouldn’t a standup do his material? And I’d much rather watch Louis C.K. do standup than the average ‘SNL’ monologue.
”Cop Show” (McKinnon, Bryant, C.K.) Yes, I was curious where this was going, with its over-the-top stereotypes for its two main characters. And, yes, the payoff was 100 percent worth it with Louis C.K. channeling his best sadsack face. This just felt like both Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon had something to say and, yep, they said it.
”Doctor’s Office” (C.K., O’Brien, Thompson, Bennett, Bryant) Sometimes I think Mike O’Brien was put on ‘SNL’ just for me. Like he’s my own little personal shopper. So, yes, of course I’m going to laugh at a sketch in which the entire premise is that a group of people may or may not have a Darth Vader action figure in their butts.
”Mr. Big Stuff” (C.K., Zamata, McKinnon, Bryant, Strong) There was a sketch in the mid-‘90s when Robert Downey Jr. hosted in which two rival gangs faced off in a dance off — a la ‘West Side Story’ – while Norm Macdonald stared on in disbelief at the rehearsed choreography on display. There a lot of similarities between these two sketches, as Louis C.K. plays the befuddled man who doesn’t understand why a dance routine is happening on the streets in front of him, only this time it’s a group of women accusing him of being “Mr. Big Stuff.” It didn’t work as well as the Downey/Macdonald sketch (which is one of the best things to ever air on ‘SNL’), but it does work and it’s nice to see the cast try something … different.
”Chris for President” (Mooney) Yes, Kyle Mooney has a bad habit of using the same voice for everyone one of his “eccentric” characters, which are usually the ones who show up on these pre-taped segments. But, yes, this was also really funny because I think I knew people like this in high school. Especially the way he brags about “spiking” the water fountain with vodka – because this is a perfect example of something that we would have thought was “cool” but is (a) impossible and (b) not something anyone would actually want when they are truly thirsty.
”Cleaning Product” (Bayer, Millhiser, Wells, Killam) Somewhere, yesterday, there was a fresh-faced kid — perhaps that kid is graduating from college in a couple of months – who bought his first real suit for his first upcoming job interview. Perhaps this kid saw a commercial and bought his suit at Jos. A. Bank. I imagine this kid with a big smile on his face after buying his new suit! He’s now an adult! And then he watched this sketch last night.
”Cold Open: Healthcare.gov Meeting” (Pharoah, Killam, Wells, Millhiser, Bryant, Pedrad, Wheelan, Mooney, McKinnon) I wish they would have taken this further. You know, when you think about it, it is a little odd that President Obama was a guest on ‘Between Two Ferns.’ I mean, whatever … but, it seems there would be more options for Obama viral content then a reproduction of the Oscar selfie — and kissing Justin Bieber felt like someone said “does anyone have any shocking ideas?” (Though, Kate McKinnon’s Bieber is pretty wonderful. Also, there should be an entire sketch with Kyle Mooney as Pope Francis.)
”Office Boss” (Bennett, C.K., Bryant, Wheelan) The first time Beck Bennett did this character earlier this season, it absolutely killed. I’m not quite sure why, but this time around that same energy wasn’t quite there – for whatever reason, the studio audience wasn’t quite as into it this time as it was the first time. It did feel a little too similar to the first time around, only lesser.
”Romantic Speech” (C.K., Bryant, Moynihan) This was another one of those sketches that, about halfway through, it’s apparent that Louis C.K. is zoning out a bit – getting slightly self-conscious that it might not be working. (Though, the way he delivered his “shhhhhhut up” was pretty great.) And who knew ‘SNL’ kept a Rowdy Roddy Piper shirt laying around in back? (I like to think it’s left over from ‘Saturday Night’s Main Event.’)
”Private Eyes” (Bayer, C.K., Moynihan) What the hell was this? What made it even more odd is that it seemed like Vanessa Bayer was taking it seriously while Louis C.K. acted as confused as the rest of us. It’s fitting this ends on a flubbed line where C.K. breaks character and asks what’s going on. Why not?
”Weekend Update” (Jost, Strong, Pharoah) Okay, look, I’ll be frank: This was not good. Here’s the thing, “Update” is always going to have an off week here and there, but it’s alarming how little chemistry there is right now between Colin Jost and Cecily Strong. Everything about this particular “Update” was just so flat. The last couple of weeks they could hide behind eccentric guests like Taran Killam’s Jebidiah Atkinson, but Jay Pharoah’s Stephen A. Smith (surprisingly the only guest segment this week) didn’t hit, so we wound up with by far the flattest “Update” of the season. It’s just odd that they’re not even trying to have Strong and Jost interact. Also, it seems that Jost is trying to emulate Seth Meyers with the way he delivers a punchline — and if you’re going to emulate someone, Seth Meyers is a good choice! — but I wish Jost would be just be himself. I really do think Jost is going to be great at this, but he really needs his own personality to come through.
Average Score for this Show: 5.93
· Lady Gaga 6.06
· Melissa McCarthy 6.03
· Louis C.K. 5.93
· Edward Norton 5.91
· Paul Rudd 5.90
· Drake 5.82
· Jimmy Fallon 5.80
· Lena Dunham 5.77
· John Goodman 5.76
· Josh Hutcherson 5.75
· Jonah Hill 5.73
· Bruce Willis 5.68
· Kerry Washington 5.60
· Jim Parsons 5.51
· Tina Fey 5.35
· Miley Cyrus 5.20
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