Bringing a stand-up comic to Saturday Night Live is exciting, but it’s definitely a risk. There’s no telling whether the comedian’s known style will fit in with the cast or if that particular performer will fit as well in sketch comedy as they do stand-up comedy. They are two very different arenas.
The result with Louis C.K., easily one of the best working comedians in the business right now, was certainly a mixed bag, but still had an ample amount of funny. Check out our recap of the best, worst and weirdest sketches with the Emmy winner below.
The Monologue – When a stand-up comedian comes to SNL, you can expect their monologue to basically be 5-minutes of stand-up material. This was no different with Louis C.K and the most interesting aspect is that he opted to use a handheld microphone for the bit, likely because it just feels more natural for him. Frankly, it’d probably be weird to see him without a mic in his hand after seeing him do the same thing on Louie with his stand-up act and various specials. Basically, if you like Louis C.K., this was just what the doctor ordered.
Lincoln – This was no doubt the best sketch of the entire night, but that’s not surprising with Louis C.K. parodying his own show Louie. Basically taking his TV personality and transferring it to Abraham Lincoln (including stand-up bits about slavery and his wife), this sketch was perfect. From the replicated title sequence, giving Abraham Lincoln credit for everything from editing to directing, I would almost want to see a whole episode in this style.
Weekend Update – With all the headlines from Hurricane Sandy and only a few days until the election, there was plenty of prime material for Weekend Update – from Aidy Bryant making a splash as a “social media expert” to Cecily Strong (above) as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party (a character that originally showed up during one of the Weekend Update Thursday specials a few weeks ago). Check out the rest of the Weekend Update segment right here.
Mountain Pass – It was pretty clear Louis C.K. was not interested in this sketch. Aside from being visually exasperated by the missed timing of the horn sound, he completely flubbed one of the lines from his cue cards, and didn’t even try to cover it up with an improvised substitution. Most of the laughs only came from the obvious mistakes in the sketch as it was clearly not as funny as the team had thought. Though, Bobby Moynihan with hoof hands needs to come back at some point for something better.
Last Call – The 10-to-1 sketch again proved to be the weirdest, but also one of the best of the night. Kate McKinnon had the best rapport with Louis C.K. of any of the cast members, and she continues to be one of the best new additions to the cast. These kind of bar sketches almost always end up in this slot for SNL, and while some don’t land, this one was near perfect. I’ve haven’t seen kissing that good in a long time.
Louis C.K. – The comedian was most comfortable when allowed to act like himself. The monologue worked great because it was just Louis C.K. doing stand-up, and Lincoln was the best for him since it was a parody of his own show. Otherwise, much of what Louis C.K. provided felt awkward. It’s very obvious that he’s not very comfortable performing sketch comedy – or skits written by someone else. Perhaps that’s why Louie feels so genuine and works so well. It wasn’t a terrible night but we’ve certainly seen much better.
Kate McKinnon – Yes, she’s done it again. Kate McKinnon is becoming a perfect blend of Kristen Wiig, Cheri Oteri and Maya Rudolph. Her voices, impressions and body language just cause her to disappear into every sketch. She only really had a lot to do in the Last Call (above) and Australian Screen Legends (a sketch that wasn’t good, bad or weird enough to make our list), but those two sketches made her the best cast member of the night. Cecily Strong would have had it this week – if all of her sketches were as strong as McKinnon’s two best sketches.
The Final Word
It wasn’t the best episode of the season, and while my initial reaction would be a small amount of disappointment, sketch comedy has never been Louis C.K.’s strong suit, so I’m pleased with this average episode. As stated above, the best sketches came from Louis C.K. doing what he already does well, but the cast and featured players helped pad out the rest of the episode and gave him something to have fun with for the most part.
November 10th – Anne Hathaway hosts with musical guest Rihanna
November 17th – Jeremy Renner hosts with musical guest Maroon 5
Saturday Night Live airs live on Saturday nights at 11:30pm on NBC.