Saturday Night Live: Louis CK/Rihanna
May 17, 2015 11:49 AM - Season 40, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Louis CK returns to host the 40th season finale.
posted by Small Dollar (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The opening musical bit was funny, and I liked the ending where they went a capella, but I was cringing through the rest of it. I know we can never have another Lincoln but I was hoping for something at least as good.
posted by bleep at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2015

Kenan Thompson in the ten-to-one sketch was the funniest thing in the episode to me. This episode was pretty bad. I'm still baffled by the remake of the Rock-and-Cecily-Strong sketch from a few months ago; it seemed like most of it literally followed the same script, and really only showed that The Rock is a better comic actor than Louis CK, at least based on this. I just...I don't know. I can't think of much I liked about this. Rihanna -- okay, I liked Rihanna.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2015

Louis C.K.'s child molester jokes weren't even good.
posted by floatboth at 2:32 PM on May 17, 2015

I thought Louis' bit was pretty good. Way better than his last stand up special, that's for sure.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:44 PM on May 17, 2015

I thought it was pretty good, and the opening monologue didn't really get cooking UNTIL the child molester stuff. I love it when CK makes an audience gasp/groan/laugh, and there's that moment when he has to charm everybody back onto his side. He takes such delight in those moments. He's not a brilliant sketch performer, but the show trots out some of its weirdest bits for him and he seems to have a swell time. He's brilliant in his own stuff, but on SNL he's fun to watch in a different way.

Did they ever reveal how the audience voted in the elf-spanking thing? I wondered if I missed it somehow, like when I flipped away to avoid the Rihanna stuff. These days the show seems to have a weird aversion to any running gags during an episode. I don't know what that's about. Like they had something on Weekend Update where the Cecily Strong girl from movies aimed at men (or whatever the hell she's called) told Michael Che, "I'll be right here, waiting for you at the end of the show!" I was sure that was going to be reprised near the end of the episode, but nope. The "text your vote" thing was a funny non-sequitur ending, but it would seem like the inevitable punchline would've been to reveal the totals during the goodnights or something.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2015

I feel like I have seen Louis CK perform these child molester jokes in his stand up specials before, so it wasn't really fresh, but I guess it was fresh for SNL. I thought it was a little weird to be followed up by the elf sketch where they basically look like little kids, but okay, edgy I guess.

I like Louis CK very much -- I just finished watching the 90 minute episode from the previous season of his show and it floored me -- but I didn't think this was an amazing finale episode. Where were the unexpected guest stars? Why not at least put Rihanna in a sketch?

And honestly, I think Kate McKinnon is the best performer on SNL right now but I am tired of her Crazy Eyes impersonation of Hilary Clinton and there's still a whole year before the election! There is no depth to this Clinton, just a mad hunger for power and nutty eyes. I preferred Amy Poehler's impression where she was a bit hungry for power but still human and three dimensional, not a cartoon.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:26 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I thought it was awful. not only does SNL have trouble finishing skits, they can't finish seasons, either.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:19 PM on May 17, 2015

Where the hell was Jon Hamm? How come they couldn't get him?
posted by St. Hubbins at 8:52 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Did they ever reveal how the audience voted in the elf-spanking thing?

I was ready to dial when it struck me: 555 is almost never an actual exchange, anywhere.

Anyway, I thought this was their best season in a long time, and this show, while way down the list of my favorite episodes this season, still didn't suck.

Who knows why I feel this way. I just do. The only thing that bugged me was Riblet.

Oh man, Riblet. Grrrrrr.
posted by not_on_display at 9:36 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is 555 a fake exchange for 866 or 800 numbers or whatever, though? I knew it was fake for toll calls, but I didn't know that was true for toll-free stuff.

Oh man, Riblet. Grrrrrr.

It's funny you say that, because a lot of people who disliked this season act like Riblet was the only good part! (I thought he was fine, but as many have pointed out it the bit did make it painfully clear Moynihan should actually be the guy behind the desk.) I thought this season was a solid B+. They're very good performers, but they feel like co-stars instead of stars. It's like there should be a Bill Murray or an Eddie Murphy or even a Dana Carvey or Kristin Wiig in there, some charisma hurricane they can all be really good around, and there just isn't. It's like a whole cast of Chris Parnells and Laraine Newmans.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:32 AM on May 18, 2015

Well, the shoutout to Letterman at the end was sweet.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:43 AM on May 18, 2015

Is 555 a fake exchange for 866 or 800 numbers or whatever, though? I knew it was fake for toll calls, but I didn't know that was true for toll-free stuff.

Yup. 555 is the universal non-working number for entertainment and other such purposes.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on May 18, 2015

The "text your vote" thing was a funny non-sequitur ending, but it would seem like the inevitable punchline would've been to reveal the totals during the goodnights or something.

Yeah I was hoping for a Larry the Lobster sort of thing but SNL doesn't do that sort of thing anymore apparently. They didn't do much with Louie and it says something about his stature that he can basically do what feel like workshop bits as his opening monologue and get away with it. Someone mentioned elsewhere that he's pushing back against some creep allegations. I don't know anything about that but i was confused at where that stuff came from. Like, he's usually okay about understanding when to punch up and when to not punch down but I felt like that stuff missed the mark. Other than the totally-awful Cecily-pop-star thing in which she was great but the sketch was just unsalvageable, I like this episode but nothing really grabbed me

And no goodbye to Kenan who isn't coming back next season?
posted by jessamyn at 1:19 PM on May 18, 2015

I think the last Riblet bit before this one did just about all there was to do with the character, plus Jost and Che have gotten into something of a groove which undercuts the joke a little. So now that he has overstayed his welcome he is truly a SNL character.
posted by ckape at 1:25 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

jessamyn -- Kenan's coming back!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:05 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I thought of Larry the Lobster too! In the Live from New York book there's a thing about some Justin Timberlake episode where, without meaning to, they totally blended the end of one sketch into the beginning of the next. Timberlake and Andy Samberg played their own grandfathers, and the said something like, "And perhaps one day, our grandsons will even work together on something, and perhaps it will even be adequately amusing..." And then they cut to Dick in a Box or whatever, not realizing until right then that this looked like it was the bit the grandfathers were talking about. Timberlake tells the story about how Lorne Michaels was blown away by the serendipity and thought it made them seem so daring and clever, and all I could think was, "Dude, you could easily do that shit every week."

Is CK facing a backlash? It doesn't surprise me. He's done a lot of things that I figured would piss people off and turn the tide. But I thought the monologue was really good and very much of a piece with the rest of his comedy. I don't get why somebody would enjoy his other comedy, and hate this bit.

I was glad to hear Kenan's coming back, which I sure wouldn't have predicted years ago. I used to find him super-hacky, with Deep House Dish and that endlessly recurring "Scared Straight" parody with the convicts who talk about movies. I don't know if Thompson changed or I did, but I love the guy now. He's broad in such a hammy way, you can tell he just loves being out there. There's been many a sketch he's saved just by being such a happy goofball you can't help but laugh. For me I think the turning point was Mokiki Does the Sloppy Swish. There's a moment at the beginning where he stares down the camera and does this weird little dance for like a fraction of a second, and it gets this huge laugh from the audience. It shouldn't be funny, but he has this crazy leer that just lets you know you're in for something super freaky. The whole movie is fantastic, but that first laugh out of nowhere kind of won me over. He went from being the Nickelodeon kid to one of the weirdest, best people on the show. I could watch Reese De'What prattle on for the full 90 minutes!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:22 PM on May 18, 2015

Oh, and What's Up with That. It's the same damn bit every time, but somehow it never gets old. And it's all on Thompson. There's some kind of crazy genius there.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:29 PM on May 18, 2015

I am so glad Kenan is coming back and I'm so glad he's on SNL. I love him even when he's in lousy sketches. I will always love Kenan. I grew up with him. He was a kid star when I was a kid in all the kid shows and movies that I watched. My little brother would put on a pair of my mom's pajama pants filled with toys and schlep around the house pretending to be Baggin Saggin Barry and we would all just crack up. Everything I ever needed to know about French language and culture I learned from Pierre Escargot. My friends and I quoted lines from Goodburger and Kenan & Kel all the time. And now he's all grown up and I'm all grown up and I still get to watch him being weird and hilarious on TV every week.
posted by phunniemee at 4:05 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here’s a secret. If you’re a Saturday Night Live writer, and you want to get an extra laugh in your script, just add this line: “KENAN REACTS.” Sure, it’s sort of cheating. But we still do it sometimes. Because it works.
posted by Uncle Ira at 3:13 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

First three hosts for next season announced: Miley Cyrus (third time), Amy Schumer (first time), and Tracy Morgan (second time hosting, the first since the bus accident).
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

(I'm going to Hell for this, but I realized this morning that the lineup will be Wrecking Ball, Trainwreck, and...)
posted by Etrigan at 6:17 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Looks like not much of a summer cast shift, with no departures and only one new hire, thankfully a straight white guy to rebalance things.
posted by Etrigan at 7:20 PM on August 31, 2015

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