Like everyone else, the instant Louis C.K. was announced as a future host on Saturday Night Live, I was ecstatic about the possibilities. It’s hard to argue that Louis isn’t one of the most brilliant comedians today. But in the 14 days between the announcement and the actual episode, I had my worries about what this could be. Louis almost always plays some variation on himself, so performing in skits would definitely be out of his comfort zone. Not to mention this week brought about horrible devastation just blocks away from 30 Rock. But the highly anticipated Louis C.K. episode was exactly what I had hoped it would be, playing to the strengths of Louis, while also showing him in a different comedic light and making him one of the first hosts this season to make the episode his own.
The cold open made fun of Bloomberg’s address to the people of New York and his sign language assistant. Fred Armisen did a fine Bloomberg, but Bobby Moynihan as Chris Christie was such a great, aggressive take. Cecily Strong stood out with her sign language, and Armisen speaking to the Spanish viewers and saying white people without power are going to be mad because they can’t watch Homeland was a great way to end the skit.
Louis C.K.’s opening monologue was exactly what it needed to be: Louis doing his own stand-up. Louis did a few minutes on the hurricane and helping an old lady at an airport that were of course hilarious, but also kind of worked as a way for Louis to warm up and get comfortable with the ridiculous, out-of-character things he’d be doing for the rest of the night.
For as many skits that SNL has that get run into the ground (cough The Californians cough), the Fox & Friends bit never gets old, especially when you get lines like how piranhas with AIDS are parades. This was also the first glimpse of Louis doing a character; here he played Dave from FEMA with a high-pitched voice. It was also surprising, considering that this is the last episode before the election, that there was barely any election talk here or throughout the episode. Guess the SNL writers got the hint that people are tired of the election.
The greatest skit of the night, and possibly of this season of SNL so far, was a parody of Louie, entitled Lincoln. Watching Louis dressed as Lincoln, doing stand-up at the Comedy Cellar, arguing with his wife over whether they have the tickets for the show or not and having Lincoln trying to find a black friend were all brilliant. The parody worked because of how similar it was to the actual show, down to the credits—so much so that it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t directed, written and edited by Louis himself.
The middle of the show dragged a bit, but what made these otherwise-still skits work was that it was obvious C.K. was having fun. An Australian Television Network skit basically had Bill Hader and Kate McKinnon talking in stereotypical Australian accents, but was made amusing by Louis’ inclusion as one-half of a gay cowboy film with Hader. A ridiculous skit with Louis blowing a horn on top of a mountaintop to find ZAAAAG (that has to be how it was spelled, right?) was made hysterical when Louis gave up trying to keep up with the weird names and said he was looking for the whatever. Another skit with Moynihan trying to check out of a hotel with Louis as the concierge had some great lines as Louis went through Moynihan’s bill with problems like how Moynihan apparently spent $7,500 on diamonds, stole a 12-cent stuffed bobcat and paid $119,000 to watch The Avengers in his room. This skit had just enough going for it, but the highlight was Moynihan and Louis laughing to each other at the very end.
Louis even made the fun. performances hilarious, as you could tell he was joking with the audience prior to his introduction about how serious the hosts have to be when introducing the band. fun. was exactly what you would expect, but man, I just don’t understand the appeal of this band. Their lead singer dressed like Lloyd Dobler, and some of their lyrics are just ridiculous. Oh well.
Weekend Update was unusually disappointing, especially considering they had Hurricane Sandy and the upcoming election to discuss. Sudeikis as Romney made a quick appearance, as did Aidy Bryant as a Social Media Expert and Strong returning as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With At A Party. It was all decent, but not as great as it could have been considering the material they had to work with.
Ending the night was a crazy skit that took place at last call at a bar. The remaining two people, Louis as Dan Pants and McKinnon, doing as close to a Cheri Oteri impression as possible, were so increasingly weird that is was one of those perfect 12:55 skits. But when Louis and McKinnon shared one of the weirdest kisses ever, it was one of the most ridiculous laughs the show has had since Melissa McCarthy hosted.
Louis C.K. could never live up to the expectations people were holding him up to, but what made him a great host, rather than the simply good hosts we’ve had this season, is that he made this episode his own. He brought something to his hosting gig with every skit that no one else could have pulled off in the same way. SNL hasn’t had a host like that since McCarthy and Fallon hosted last year. No, not every skit worked, and yes, sometimes Louis did seem uncomfortable. But he made every skit better than had he not been in them, bringing laughs even when there weren’t ones. If anything, Louis C.K. has proved that hosting SNL is just yet another thing he’s really good at.
Best Lines of the Night:
-Louis C.K.’s entire monologue. Find it and watch it.
-Fox & Friend’s errors always have some of the best jokes in every episode that they appear:
“There are many black people, not just one who is a master of disguise.”
“There is no celebrity named Rape Romano.”
“Apple Maps is not a map showing where the apples are.”
“’Kris Krostie’ is not Chris Christie with his pants on backwards.”
-Louis doing stand up as Lincoln left me laughing so hard, I was crying: “You know who I feel bad for? The detective who has to try to solve the murder. Because they’re going to go, ‘let’s see, who might have done it? Oh I don’t know, everybody from the middle of the country down? Maybe they had a motive like, I ruined the whole way they do everything?’”
-Romney giving one last fact about himself before the election on Tuesday:
“If there’s anything people should know about Mitt Romney at this point, it’s that nothing I’ve said in the past should be any indication of my positions in the future. If I’m elected president, I can promise you one thing: I will promise you everything.”
-Louis C.K. as a gay cowboy:
“OK, time to go crazy on my butt for ya.”