Watch Louis C.K. Try A Lot Of Silly Voices On A Pretty Strong Saturday Night Live
The stand-up makes good on his recent promise to use more funny voices in his act with his latest SNL appearance.
This is a bit of a strange time for a few well-established stand-up comics, particularly the ones who have always been known for edgy, borderline offensive material. Dave Chappelle recently dropped two stand-up comedy specials from his archive to Netflix and was immediately taken to task for out-of-touch-sounding jokes about gays and transgender people. That might not take anything away from the stellar job he did hosting SNL this season, and I can tell you that having seen him perform recently, his upcoming new special is likely to be much more focused on Donald Trump and might try to explain or walk back some of that sketchier material.
In the case of Louis C.K., who already got some blowback last time he hosted SNL for jokes he made about pedophiles and racism, the longtime, prolific comic isn't immune from the same kinds of criticism. Even if he handled the subject of transphobia better than Chappelle in his recent, quite good 2017 Netflix special, he's still being taken to task for material about abortion. Like Chappelle, however, C.K. appears to be using SNL to push the limits of network TV a little, particularly in the monologue, which turned barnyard animals into racists and put forth the fantasy of having sex with a trashcan (or a trash-eating goat). As with Chappelle, SNL did a good job of bending the show to accommodate the host's comic sensibility, and this week's show was darker, more ambivalent about racial and sexual politics, and purposefully weirder than usual, exactly what you'd hope for with C.K. as host.
One quick note: as he mentioned in his recent special, Louis C.K.'s enjoying doing a lot more weird and silly voices, which you see throughout the episode and which culminates in a terrible (but still pretty funny!) last sketch.
Best Sketch Of The Night
Surprisingly, one of the smartest takes on the most tone-deaf soda commercial ever released came from SNL in the form of a filmed sketch that suggests the creator and director didn't realize how bad it was until moments before it was filmed. I love that the sketch wasn't about Kendall Jenner or a straight-on parody of the commercial, but rather about a person's massive blind spot as to what is or isn't appropriate. Just the right length, and well-timed to something people have been talking about all week, which is exactly why we have SNL.
Best Use Of False Eyelashes
I am a sucker for well-executed silliness in sketch comedy and this one, about a lawyer who has the most beautiful eyelashes you've ever seen, might have been my favorite sketch of the whole night. Best moment: on a request to approach the bench to Judge Kenan Thompson, he says, "Oh, I would like that very, very much."
"Thank You, Scott" is about the celebration you have every time some white dude reposts a socially relevant, politically correct news story on social media. This seems tailor-built to be passed around on via Facebook, and why not? Scott deserves some credit (though only very little).
Better Use Of Alec Baldwin As Donald Trump
I was not crazy about the cold open Trump sketch, which to me made a super-obvious point about the president abandoning the people who got him in office, but also managed to punch down on those voters, suggesting they're too dumb to turn on the man they voted for. This one, in which Alec Baldwin does double duty as scandal-plagued Bill O' Reilly and Trump, works a lot better.
Most Louis C.K.
This downbeat, dark sketch about a man hiring a clown for birthday as he turns 53 feels right up C.K.'s alley, particularly with its pitch-black punchline. Bobby Moynihan and Louis C.K. are both tremendous in this one.
Most Savage Artist Dragging
This "Weekend Update" take-down of a terrible Cristiano Ronaldo bust made my jaw drop in how savage it was against the artist Emanuel Santos. Kate McKinnon as monkey Jesus artist Cecilia Gimenez makes the incredible insults more palatable, but boy would I hate to be on the receiving end of this one.
Biggest Furniture Of The Night
Sectionals! As a fan of sectionals, this sketch touched me personally and I am a big fan of the wig employed in this one.
Most Racist Animals
This was a pretty successful monologue overall, particularly the bits about white privilege and hotels, and the joke about what a giraffe must be thinking. It's actually fairly tame by Louis C.K. stand-up standards, but there's great timing throughout in the material.
Most Scene-Breaking Fake Accent
This last-slot sketch is most notable for how Louis C.K.'s awful, awful accent makes Kate McKinnon break character and how it goes from something semi-workable to sub-Borat "MAH WIFE!" levels by the end.
Not to end on a bad note, because most of the episode was quite good, but whose idea was it to make Louis C.K. a pervy soda jerk given his reputation in the comedy world regarding sexual harassment? It doesn't really help that the sketch is turned on its head at the end, an unconvincing twist that doesn't ring true, or funny, at all.