TV

‘SNL’ Scorecard: Louis C.K. Will Save The World While On His Toilet

Louis C.K. hosted his fourth SNL and it went pretty much how a Louis C.K.-hosted show will usually go: A long monologue filled with his latest material, solid comedy sketches, and one big clunker of a sketch where everything goes off the rails.

SNL has been off the air for the last three weeks. Do you know how long this is in Trump time? If you go back to the Scarlett Johansson-hosted episode from March 11, the main topics were Trump Care (this was even before the House vote that never happened after Paul Ryan pulled the bill) and the feud between Al Franken and Jeff Sessions. In the cold open that week, there was worry Trump had business dealings with aliens who were attacking Earth. In real life, Trump is now shooting missiles at other countries. My point is: that Scarlett Johansson-hosted SNL seems like a long time ago.

The only positive I’ve come up with about the Trump presidency is that all our lives will seem longer. A week now seems like a month. There are never any moments where you think to yourself, “Oh, that was three weeks ago, that seems like yesterday. Time flies, huh?” Oh no, time does not fly anymore. Time pretty much stands still. I’m fairly certain that I’ve almost figured out how to perceive time as a non-linear construct – just like the heptapods in Arrival.

Anyway, SNL’s schedule this season has been unfortunate. I understand why it was planned out this way – front loaded for the election, which leaves these big gaps on the back end – but it’s like a hunk of history is missing. And then they have another big break after next week’s Jimmy Fallon-hosted show. I’m sure the time off is nice for the cast, but I bet it’s also frustrating. Here’s today’s Scorecard:

Sketch of the Night

“Pepsi Commercial” This past week, I’ve spent a significant amount of time just trying to get inside the heads of the people who made the controversial Pepsi commercial. I have no doubt the intentions were good, but how did no one say, “I don’t think this is a good idea.” Actually, the way these things always work is that there are plenty of people saying, “I don’t think this is a good idea,” but the right people aren’t listening. It’s one thing when someone says or does something stupid in the moment, but this commercial looks like it took a lot of time to make. So that’s what makes it so remarkable: that considerable time could be put into making something this tone deaf without someone stopping it. So this is why I imagine that there’s probably a lot of truth in this sketch. I bet there were a lot of people on set thinking, “I just don’t know about this one.” It almost felt too real. I found it hard to watch. Anyway, yes, this was great.

Score: 9.5

Other Highlights

“Birthday Clown” I feel I’m in the minority when I say that “clowns are fine.” The conventional wisdom these days has seemed to settle on that they are scary. I’m sorry, but when I look at Bozo the Clown, I do not feel fear. I don’t necessarily enjoy clowns, but I don’t find them scary. And, sure, there are purposeful scary clowns. This is not the same thing as “a clown.” I guarantee if someone put a lot of scary makeup on my mailman, I’d find my mailman scary. This does not inherently make all postal employees scary. So, anyway, I did enjoy that in this sketch Louis C.K.’s character is the “creepy” one. Poor Dodo, thinking he was showing up for a kids party, then having to perform for one middle-aged man who turns out to be a serial killer. I will never forget Dodo, unspooling streamers from his mouth as C.K. watches while taking a leak, and is one of my favorite moments of the season.

Score: 8.6

“Thank You, Scott” No one will admit this is about them, but we all know. We all know that feeling of, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to post something about a societal injustice on social media and maybe someone will listen to me and the world will be better now.” (Also, I hope this brings an end to the clapping emojis.)

Score: 8.0

“Trump’s People” This was an odd sketch. About halfway through I realized I wasn’t laughing and, instead, it was making me depressed. And then I started to realize I think that was the point. There’s Trump, spouting nonsense while wide-eyed supporters still trust what he’s saying because he’s the president and why would a president lie? And those people are for sure out there – people who are struggling and got caught up in Trump’s rhetoric about how he was going to make life better for, say, coal miners. And now that’s not happening and people are confused. On the surface, yes, why in the world would anyone think Donald Trump would care about a coal miner? What in Trump’s history would leave anyone believing this is some sort of passion project for him? Regardless, there are people who did believe this and it’s depressing for a few reasons.

Score: 6.7

“The O’Reilly Factor with Donald Trump” This sketch is getting a lot of attention because Alec Baldwin plays both roles, but it just feels there’s something a bit hollow about it. What I like about SNL is the interaction between the cast during sketches – knowing they are on live television in front of half the country (and starting next week, the whole country). It doesn’t bother me that Baldwin “isn’t a cast member,” because, let’s face it, he might not be in the credits but he is very much a cast member this season. It’s almost stupid to argue that he’s not. But I’m just not a fan of the “play two roles with one being pre-taped” shtick. I didn’t like it when Dana Carvey played both George Bush and Ross Perot and I don’t like it here. It’s now not a sketch about interactions, it’s becomes all about timing lines verses the pre-taped feed – and it’s never quite right.

Score: 4.5

***

Average Overall Score for this Show: 6.90

· Dave Chappelle 7.44
· Kristen Stewart 7.38
· Tom Hanks 7.35
· Lin-Manuel Miranda 6.99
· Margot Robbie 6.95
· Scarlett Johansson 6.92
· Louis C.K. 6.90
· Alec Baldwin 6.89
· Aziz Ansari 6.82
· Octavia Spencer 6.77
· Emma Stone 6.46
· Casey Affleck 6.37
· John Cena 6.17
· Kristen Wiig 6.12
· Felicity Jones 5.97
· Benedict Cumberbatch 5.73
· Emily Blunt 5.45

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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