Louis CK returned to host Saturday Night Live this weekend for the second time, and thank God he did. He injected some much-needed life back into the withering opening monologue. After a season or two of surprise celebrity guests used to disguise disappointing monologues, CK took the stage and gave the SNL writers the night off.
For almost 9 minutes, he delivered one zinger after another. America’s favorite balding ginger felt right at home up there in his “tired dad” attire, rocking the usual black shirt variation and loose jeans. The audience loved every second of it and rightfully so. The monologue later proved to be one of the few highlights of an episode bogged down by weak sketches.
CK stayed true to his roots and made light of the serious stuff: religion, murder, domestic violence, global hunger, parenting – all the topics that make NBC executives clench up. Only CK can pull off a line like, “A white noise machine, it’s a machine that helps white people sleep at night because we shouldn’t be able to,” before you even have time to settle into your spot on the couch and prop your feet up.
And his ballsy jokes continued. “Americans shouldn’t say ‘I’m hungry.’ They should say ‘I feel hungry.’ If you ate today you shouldn’t say ‘I’m hungry.’ Hunger’s a real thing. I don’t have third world hunger. I have first world hunger. I would like a doughnut. Some people say ‘I’m starving.’ That’s offensive.”
CK’s amazing monologue proved what everyone already knew: SNL needs some better writers. The sketches were subpar, at best. The winners of the night were definitely Black Jeopardy and the return of Beck Bennett as the CEO with a baby’s body. But even those aren’t worth sharing the link with your friends at work on Monday morning. There were certainly more sketches that tanked than soared, like “Mr. Big Stuff”, which featured the female cast members in a singing group, and “Private Eyes”, which was awkward and felt like it would never end. Let’s never do those again.
But even so, we can forgive him because the SNL monologue was in such desperate need of resuscitation, and if a phenomenal stand-up comedian like Louis CK couldn’t do it, no one could.
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