By Claire Zulkey
10:34 AM CDT, March 30, 2014
If you like your “Saturday Night Live” episodes weird and a little bit gross, then last night’s installment was for you. Host Louis CK brought his own brand of humor to the show, that is say, a mix of anarchic, perverted and the tiniest bit sweet, wrapped up in the guise of a regular middle-aged guy.
The highlight of the episode was CK’s monologue, where he went from riffing on how irritating First World people who claim to be “starving” are, to the big stuff, taking on atheists (“I haven’t seen ‘12 Years A Slave Yet; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,”), why God is a single dad (“What did he do to our mom?”), and misogyny in general. The rest of the episode had its highlights, but it made one wonder what would happen if “SNL” just let the host do a full 90-minute monologue for one night, because it felt like CK had a lot more to say.
In the rest of the episode, CK primarily played either a version of “Awkward White Guy” or “Secret Weirdo.” In “Black Jeopardy,” he played a nerdy professor of African-American studies at Brigham Young University up against two black contestants who answered clues like “She think she cute” with “Who is Monique?” while CK floundered by answering “Who is unemployed fellow…black?” to the clue “It’s been a minute since he got a job.”
Then, in “Mr. Big Stuff,” CK protested that he was “Appropriately Humble Man” when Aidy Bryant, Sasheer Zamata, Kate McKinnon, and Cecily Strong danced around him and wagged their fingers at him while singing “Mr. Big Stuff.” It was a surprisingly cute and non-edgy sketch for CK but it was charming due to the women’s performing talent and CK’s examples of how “Mr. Medium Stuff at best” he was, like his clip-on goatee.
If that sketch seemed a little mainstream for a Louis CK episode of “SNL,” not to worry, because there was weirdness to come. In “Doctor Appointment,” CK played a patient who cagily requested that his physician examine his rectum to ensure that there wasn’t a Darth Vader action figure tucked inside, steadily gaining additional patients who also wanted the procedure, under the banner, “It’s better to know.”
CK also appeared in a “Thin Man” type sketch where he and Vanessa Bayer played flirty detectives on the verge of consummating their love, but the general direction of their flirtation involved the discussion of where to cut holes in their pajamas in order to have sex. The best part of the sketch was the last moment, when CK apparently misread a cue card and broke the fourth wall, which actually seemed like a perfect end to that particular bizarre scene.
In the final sketch, CK played a man who is seemingly visiting his ex-girlfriend to ask her back, saying, “Maybe I’m crazy.” No, he was definitely crazy. What started off as a banal love speech gradually became more insane as he said things like “You’re the last person I want to see before I slip into a coma and the first person I see in hell,” and proposed a great idea for a pet cemetery, but for people.
The only non-weird parts of the episode, really, were the musical interludes by Sam Smith, who wowed the audience with two straightforward but powerful soul performances. Next week’s episode is likely to be even more musical, as it will be hosted by Anna Kendrick of “Pitch Perfect” with Pharrell Williams as musical guest.
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