This week’s Saturday Night Live may have ended with two sketches that left me more befuddled than amused — oh, Kyle Mooney, that class-president campaign video made as much sense as recharging one’s cellphone in a pot of boiling water — but thanks to a terrific initial 45 minutes and a monologue with several guffaw-worthy kickers, you can’t really accuse second-time host Louis C.K. of a sophomore slump.
In fact, buoyed by a wide range of tones and topics — a doctor being asked to examine patients for possible Darth Vader action figures in their butts; a saucy quartet of stoop singers using “Mr. Big Stuff” to antagonize a middle-of-the-road dude; a commercial suggesting Jos. A Bank suits as a cheaper alternative to paper towels; even the right-up-to-the-edge-of-wrong classic cop duo Dyke & Fats — I’d say this one of SNL‘s strongest outings all season.
Below, my picks for Best and Worst:
BEST: Opening Monologue
OK, so maybe this wasn’t quite as genius as C.K.’s prior SNL opener, but that’s just quibbling. I loved the bits about the joy one experiences when a child’s stage play finally reaches its end; the awfulness that there’s a garment known as a “wife beater”; and the shock that some athiests argue forcefully against God’s existence. “How do you know? Did you look everywhere?” C.K. demanded to know. Funniest of all, though, was CK’s musing on how Christian faiths hold dear the concept of “God the Father” –without ever recognizing a female counterpart. “What happened to Mom?” the comic asked, wondering if it was time go start gathering evidence of “bleach and rope and fibers.”
BEST: Black Jeopardy
I winced momentarily at the idea of SNL trotting out yet another game-show twist, but Black Jeopardy proved absurdly comical, with a board consisting of categories like “It’s Been a Minute,” “That Girl” and “On Punishment.” Sasheer Zamata scored the biggest laugh of the night when, after correctly guessing “Alizé” by the clue “She Do Hair,” she realized she needed to form her response as a question, then blurted, “Alizé???!!!” Later, as C.K.’s professor of African American studies at BYU asked for the category “White People,” host Kenan Thompson deadpanned the line, “I’d watch yourself, Mark,” bringing the sketch to a close before anyone had a chance to grow sick of it. Well-played.
WORST: Chris Fitzpatrick for ASB President
Maybe this one went over my head — or under my feet — but I didn’t even crack a smile as Mooney delivered to us the campaign video of a chillaxed, rock-loving teenager. Rants and/or explanations in the comments section are appreciated, as always.
C.K. and Vanessa Bayer, playing pajama-clad gumshoes negotiating a night of passion, delivered all their lines in stilted, noir-like fashion. “How many holes do we need to make love?” asked Bayer’s cop, after C.K.’s character suggested cutting openings in her nightwear in order to conssumate their love. “How many are you OK with?” he responded, in the least-unfunny exchange of the skit. All I wanted to do as this bit dragged on was grab my own jammies — and head to bed.
What did you think of C.K.s sophomore SNL outing? Grade the installment in our poll below, then sound off in the comments with your picks for Best and Worst!