Louis C.K. Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Louis CK Hosts SNL

Expectations were higher than an ’80s soap actress’ hair as Louis C.K. returned to host the Season 40 finale of Saturday Night Live.

After all, his March 2014 installment scored a grade of A or B from almost 65% of TVLine readers — pretty solid feedback from a notoriously tough crowd.

The good news is that C.K. took some big risks right from the get-go — thank goodness, there was some genuine comic payoff in his extended flights of fancy about “mild racism” and child molesters (the latter of which has drawn some criticism) — and even the sketches that didn’t quite gel at least had interesting concepts.

Below are my picks for the episode’s best and worst:

BEST: SPRINT STORE
C.K. went all out as a cellphone salesman overheard on his first day at work doing an impersonation of his rageful black female boss (Leslie Jones), then spending the next five years pretending he speaks in a similar tone and cadence to her in order to avoid being fired). Cue-card flubs aside, C.K.’s compliment that Jones’ nails were “on fleek,” plus her final-act treachery to expose the big lie, had me howling with laughter — right down to Jones calling C.K. a “Jabba the Hutt-lookin’ white bitch!”

BEST: OPENING MONOLOGUE
Not every joke in C.K.’s monologue landed, but even the clunkiest at least had some interesting edge. Of course, the opening one-two punch of racism and Middle East unrest seemed tame compared to the comic’s riff on the comedic minefield of pedophilia. Noting how Mounds candy bars are his great pleasure — but that he would quit them immediately if it meant going to jail and being hated by everyone — C.K. spouted that child molestation “must be really good, from their perspective.” Yikes. And also LOL.

HONORABLE MENTION: LUMBERJACK ADS
The show gave us two random interludes — one with a trendy restaurant-goer passing on a toothpick, and one with a book-store patron deciding to opt for a downloaded version — that C.K. as an anxious lumberjack, with a single tear streaming down his cheek. Beck Bennett, meanwhile, delivered a corresponding jingle: “If you don’t use wooden things, what will happen to the lumberjacks?”

HONORABLE MENTION: RIHANNA’S “BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY”
I’m still not sure how I feel about Rihanna’s use of bad CGI, a jank hoopty and a bound-and-gagged hostage to build an audience for her latest single, but I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t entertained. (“American Oxygen,” meanwhile, was pretty damn good, too.)

WORST: POLICE LINEUP
C.K., Bennett, Kyle Mooney (ugh) and Taran Killam played four struggling actors treating their time in a police lineup like actual auditions. Theoretically? Not a bad idea. In practice? About three insufferable minutes too long.

Your turn. What did you think of Louis C.K.’s SNL host gig? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments! (We’ll post video when it’s available on Sunday a.m.)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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39 Comments
  1. Cori says:

    The lumberjack interludes were so random, simple, silly, and perfect. Overall I think it was great. Like you said – not necessarily the funniest sketches, but interesting concepts. Louis CK is becoming one of my favorite hosts.

  2. Saabgirlatx says:

    Cold open didn’t land for me one bit. Thought the police line up was hilarious as was Weekend Update and the Sprint sketch. C-

    • dman6015 says:

      I’m guessing you’re being sarcastic, since almost everything you mentioned as hilarious was just plain awful, especially the police lineup sketch.

  3. BP says:

    The Sprint Store sketch was the hardest I’ve laughed during an SNL sketch since I think Bruno Mars’ Pandora sketch from a few years ago

  4. et al. says:

    I laugh every time I see Kyle Mooney (ugh). Those three additional letters are funnier than anything he’s ever done.

  5. David Roche says:

    I always SAY “ugh” whenever Aidy Bryant is on screen.. She has zero range, so I find myself fast forwarding anything she’s in, which can make for some short episodes.

  6. AnnieM says:

    For the first time this season, I laughed more than I didn’t!

  7. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give the season finale an A. Louis CK did even better than both of his previous outings but I’m really bummed that they should have done another Dyke & Fats sketch like it did last year. The Lumberjacks Ad was the best in my opinion and I still can’t stand Kyle Mooney because he continues to be one of the worst cast member on SNL I have ever seen. Wish Kyle’s BFF Beck Bennett is even better than that. Now that Season 40 is over and the fact that Kenan Thompson is returning next season (didn’t see it coming), wonder if Kyle or more cast members are not coming back for Season 41 and also Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are going to begin shooting the all female version of Ghostbusters opposite Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. Here’s my five dream SNL hosts for Season 41: Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Liam Hemsworth, Will Forte and one of the stars of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    • Mr. Tran K says:

      BTW, hope SNL better not bring Louis CK back for a fourth time hosting and third time was really NOT the charm for him. They should have booked Amy Poehler or Schumer to host the season finale and SNL pick the wrong person to host the end of Season 40.

  8. A. D. says:

    Worst episode of the season….he is so unfunny and she can’t sing to save her. What a crap way to end season 40.

  9. TVFan says:

    The monologue was awful and offensive. Ruined the show for me. Following up with that elves was very poor. I know this is what Louis does, but still. Seeing it get “Best” is a slap in the face to those who are victims of racism and abuse. Shameful.

    • Dove says:

      Agreed. At the very least, the opening monologue should have been titled Best/Worst.

    • Dude says:

      Comedy is all about skewering sensitive and offensive topics. If you can’t find the humour in it, that’s on you not him.

      • flutiefan says:

        except it’s not always well done. you can’t excuse everything just because it’s labeled “comedy”. sometimes there are jokes that are in incredibly bad taste and it’s ok to recognize that.

        • BrewHaha says:

          ^^THIS

        • MC says:

          Exactly. I’m a very open-minded person. I loved Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy back in the day. Jokes aren’t automatically hilarious, however, just because they are edgy and/or controversial. The payoff from these particular jokes on SNL was rather weak imo.

  10. Carola says:

    Ugh… Worst episode ever! Hated his monologue. So offensive and not funny at all. I just don´t like his kind of humor.. I turned off the TV.

  11. Heather says:

    How could you even think for one second that the topic of child molestation could be funny?! Are you that bad of a comedian that you chose to take a topic that has literally destroyed lives, not only the lives of the victims but also the victims families, future spouses and possibly their future children if the crime is perpetrated on them because of the high rate in which the victim often becomes the molester. SHAME ON YOU! As a victim myself I can speak from first hand experience on the damage of sexual abuse. Not only was your act not funny it was blatant disrespect to a every sexual abuse survivor. How can you as a father even joke about such things? Thank God you and your family have never been through that kind of trauma and shame. I pray you’ll think twice about future jokes involving SEX CRIMES against children. It was in such bad taste! You just lost a loyal fan!

    • Tamara says:

      Can I point out that you couldn’t have been that loyal of a fan since that joke has been part of his stand-up routine in the past? It was the first time be brought it out on a platform like SNL, but certainly not out of character for his usual material.

  12. Brandy says:

    No mention of that awesome Summer time with Hillary opening?? I’ll admit, the rest of the episode was pretty lame (other than the Sprint store worker), but that beginning was great.

  13. HAP says:

    To those complaining about the opening monologue- Perhaps you should understand that stand up comedy holds nothing sacred. No race. No group. No activity. Ever hear the term gallows humor?

  14. herman1959 says:

    Sorry, but I was really trying with Louis C.K. despite the fact that I was uncomfortable during the “mild racism” jokes. But when he got to the child molesters, I had to turn it off, and I never turned it back on even for the musical guest. I’ll admit it, I’m just through with SNL.

    • hud says:

      LouisC.K. nothing but a 2 bit hack. The fact that SNL is still on the air speaks volumes to the decline in TV. Herman1959 good choice. Send Nothing But Crap will no longer play.

  15. fanology says:

    I usually love Louis CK, and I didn’t have a problem with his material (in the old days, everyone was a little more racist and instead of Megan’s Law, it was watch out for Creepy Bob down the street) in theory. I just don’t think they landed well. And I don’t quite get why he’d want to go out there with material that both topically edgy and that felt a bit unpolished on the show’s season finale, except for this very reason — that he wanted people to be talking about it. And not in a topical “oh we need to bring peace to the middle east” way, but an “oh that Louis CK” way.

    • flutiefan says:

      you summed up my thoughts very well! the mildly racist jokes were decidedly better, but the rest of it just didn’t “land”.

  16. Ijustatedinner says:

    I enjoyed the police lineup the most! and I think that the elves sketch was the weakest. Loved the intro monologue and I don’t really understand why the easily offended even watch adult comedy, go watch a G movie

  17. Raul says:

    Rhianna has gone from great to horrible over her career. She is unbearable now

  18. dman6015 says:

    You would think that by now, Kyle Mooney (ugh!) would get the hint and just leave the show. He’ll probably end up hanging around longer than Kenan, though.

  19. Rich says:

    I didn’t think the line-up was horrible. I laughed some. The Sprint Store, however, is probably the first time I’ve laughed while Leslie Jones was on-camera since she joined the cast. Well done.

  20. Becky says:

    I thought the opening was hilarious, but then, I’m a Louis CK fan. Yes, it got uncomfortable in parts, but he always brings it back to the funny. I really enjoyed watching the reactions of the band members behind him, laughing, grimacing, shaking their heads when it got too much, then laughing again. It was funny.

  21. thaddeus says:

    Louis’ stand up opening was the highlight of the show. Straight downhill from there until Cecily’s hysterical Brit girl on “va-ca”…..Rhianna’s song selections were show killers and out right bizarre. Who’s controlling her these days? Run away, girl….And why was Keenan the lead on every sketch? Baltimore??…Contrived and obvious. Overall, a disappointment for me after a truly funny season.

    • I agree that the sanctimonious Louis bashers should probably stick to more simple fare. I believe that Love Boat reruns are still playing on TV Land. The fact that SNL has devolved into a safe, shallow, sponsor-appeasing shell of it’s former self is your fault. TV as we know it will be dead in 5 years.