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April 10, 2017
By Ellen O’Brien, Glenbard West
“Saturday Night Live” churned out some, um, interesting sketches this week after a hiatus, and host Louis C.K. made the best of them. Each sketch was certainly a unique one, but “SNL” faltered where it usually tends to succeed: politics. Still, Louis was a good guest and the highlight of the show. The title of this article should really say, “‘SNL’ is Just O.K., Louis C.K. Can Do No Wrong”.
First, let me start by saying that Louis C.K. doesn’t even have to make a joke to be funny. He just is, so I had high expectations going into his monologue, and I was satisfied. Louis managed to cover tons of topics in the short time he had, ranging from playfully racist jokes (questionable, but funny) to what he believes animals think about to his hilarious experiences which proved his talent as a storyteller. He wasn’t afraid to joke about himself, and he unapologetically toed the line between knee-slapping and offensive. If you weren’t convinced before, for some unfathomable reason, it’s clear now – Louis C.K. is an awesome comedian.
Simply gluing a pair of fake eyelashes on Louis C.K. seems like the recipe for a not-so-great sketch, but I promise you, it’s not. This, surprisingly, was an outstanding sketch. Louis played a lawyer with admittedly great eyelashes at a trial, where practically everybody fell head over heels for him. Seeing him batting his eyes in repeated close-ups with a completely serious expression on his face was so funny, and I was honestly surprised that nobody broke in this sketch! My advice? Watch until the end for the Maybelline punchline.
“THANK YOU, SCOTT”
If someone doesn’t think “SNL” is funny or smart anymore, show that someone this musical number, because it restored my faith in the show all over again. This song, led by a handful of cast members, was a huge, sarcastic thank you to Louis’s Scott, praising him for taking to social media to support various movements. Because everybody knows that sharing an article on Facebook makes absolutely no difference, even though we do it ourselves. This was a brilliant call to action to stop solely showing your support on the Internet – show it in real life! Do something meaningful! Absolutely eyeopening.
You’d be a fool not to have expected a Pepsi commercial spoof on “SNL” this week, in light of their recent tone-deaf ad featuring Kendall Jenner. But I’ll give the show credit where credit is due – “SNL” went about this in a totally different way than I anticipated. But I loved it! The writer-director of the advertisement, depicted by a desperate Beck Bennett, explained the plot over the phone to many people, trying to make it sound politically correct and meaningful. Yeah, he failed. We in the audience could imagine what everyone on the other end of the call was saying as Bennett became more and more worried. Oops! Better luck next time, Pepsi.
This pre-taped sketch was equal parts terrifying and funny. In it, a clown played by Bobby Moynihan showed up to perform at a birthday party, only to discover that the party consisted of one grown man, a creepy Louis. What followed was unsettling – the clown putting on his show for Louis, who was drinking a beer and offering strange, monotone comments every so often. It was awesome seeing Louis in such a strange and eerily hilarious role, and somehow, I didn’t find myself very shocked when he revealed his plan to kill the clown at the end.
Warning: if you haven’t watched this, it is the most intense infomercial you will ever see. But it’s spectacular. Louis C.K. played a sectional couch fanatic, because I guess that’s a thing? I had never seen someone so passionate about couches. This infomercial had classical and suspenseful music, high intensity, and dramatic shots of numerous sectional couches. I feel as though I’m not properly communicating just how funny this sketch was. If you’re not sold yet, I’ll leave you with this line from it: “What if I told you that where most people’s couches end, yours could bend and keep going?”
This particular sketch could’ve been awful, but the things that earned it a spot on the best of the night were 1) Louis’s comical Polish accent, and 2) Louis breaking multiple times. So, shout out to Louis, I guess! In a museum, two actors, he and Kate McKinnon, showcased what life was like for immigrants in the 1900s, doing a scene as a Polish couple. And yeah, they were super racist! But the real funny parts were just plain Louis C.K.
Raise your hand if you had high hopes for the first “Cold Open” after a long hiatus, but were disappointed! Yep, me too. This week’s featured Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump meeting with some supporters of his in Kentucky, who all had complaints. He took care of every problem…by eliminating their sources. Welfare, healthcare, minimum wage – all gone! That seemed to be the extent of the jokes in this opener, so once again, “SNL” left me high and dry.
This sketch was straight-up perverted. It started off with potential, as a group of teenaged girls came into a soda shop in the 1950s (ish), and, you know, everything’s funny to me when people speak all old-fashioned. But the humor stopped there when Louis’s owner of the shop started making advances towards Cecily Strong’s character, and was totally mean to the rest of the girls. Things took an equally perplexing turn at the end, but this was just creepy – and Louis C.K. does creepy well.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the very first time that “Update” has found itself on the list of the worst sketches of the night. This is unprecedented, but I do think it truly earned its spot. This week’s segment was weak. The political jokes were decent, but predictable, and the only great joke it had related the relationship between Trump, Syria, and Russia with that of the three stooges. McKinnon as the artist Cecilia Gimenez showed up to share her opinion on the poor Cristiano Ronaldo bust, but that was kind of exhausting. But the worst part of “Update” was the audience, believe it or not. After nearly every joke, they expressed “oohs” of total disgust and shame, as if all of the punchlines were offensive. And I assure you, they weren’t. They were actually pretty vanilla this week.
“THE O’REILLY FACTOR”
“SNL” was so, so close to delivering a winning sketch on this spoof of Fox News’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” but it didn’t quite make it. The best part about this parodied show was that Alec Baldwin as Bill O’Reilly interviewed Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. But the actual content fell flat; the back-and-forth between the two (one?) men was awkward and disjointed, likely because the segment of Trump was recorded earlier. Still, it could’ve been so much better.
“Saturday Night Live”
10:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC
3 out of 4 stars
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