film / tv / politics / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.01.39 AM.jpg

Louis C.K. Hosted an Outstanding 'SNL' Season Finale; Where Has This Cast Been All Season?

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | May 17, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | May 17, 2015 |

This may be the first time I’ve said this all season, but this is not an episode with which to catch the highlights the next morning. It’s an episode you should watch in its entirety, because even the lesser sketches of the night were worth watching. It’s this kind of episode — hosted by Louis C.K. — that reminds us of what SNL is capable. I have no idea why the 40th season has been so wildly inconsistent (and lately, downright bad), but they brought their best last night, and it wasn’t just Louis C.K. (who was his usual brilliant self, and may have hosted his best episode, so far), but the entire cast. It really and truly was a full cast effort, and the kind of episode — like a last place team that goes on a 10-game winning streak at the end of the season — that makes you think that there’s hope for next year. And here’s the other thing: Unlike season finales past, there were no celebrity cameos, and no old cast members brought in to help prop it up. This was a strong effort from this year’s cast, and after a showing like this, it may remain completely intact for next year, too.

Summertime Cold Open — A musical cold open with the full cast (sans Louis C.K.), with Kate McKinnon’s Hillary impression front-and-center, a harbinger of what’s likely to come over the next season and a half. It’s early yet, but McKinnon’s Hillary impression has been the most entertaining thing about the 2016 Presidential Election, so far, and this was a solid cold open. (Score: 8/10)

Louis C.K. Monologue — Host Louis C.K. gave a full nine-minute stand-up act, discussing what it was like growing up in the 1970s, when it was okay to be racist and everyone knew about the town child molester. It was vintage Louis C.K., very funny and verging dangerously close to offensive without quite going over the line. The child-molester bit is amazing. This is the monologue of the year, and because it ran so long, there were fewer sketches in the show (always a plus). (Score: 10/10)

The Shoemaker & The Elves — This was a bizarre sketch (and I’m still a little confused as to how they pulled it off, technically, on a live show). After his elves (Vanessa Bayer, Kenan Thompson) ask to be dominated, a shoemaker (Louis C.K.) must choose between obliging them or staying faithful to his wife (Aidy Bryant). It gains a small head of steam and then kind of craps out in the end. (Score: 5/10)

Police Lineup — The victim of a robbery (Pete Davidson) must identify his assailant from a group of actors (Taran Killam, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, Louis C.K.), who treat the police line-up like an audition. The joke goes on a bit long, but it has its moments. (Score: 5/10)

This is How I Talk — After getting caught imitating his boss (Leslie Jones), a new employee (Louis C.K.) must play off the impression as his real talking voice in order to not get fired. I could listen to Louis C.K. do a bad Leslie Jones’ impression for hours. (Score: 7/10)

Wood PSAs — The Woodworkers Association reminds you to use the toothpick and not download books to your iPad. Otherwise, what will happen to the lumberjack? Meh. Cute, and short enough to be worth the watch. (Score: 4/10)

Weekend Update — “Weekend Update” went out with its strongest outing since the premiere, when Che and Jost were first teamed up. The chemistry was there; Che actually displayed inflection; and Jost — as always — does a great aww shucks white guy, because Jost is an aww shucks white guy. Even the segments — Taran Killam’s Tom Brady, Pete Davidson reflecting on his first year, and Riblet stealing Che’s “jorb” — were excellent. Where were these guys all year long? (Score: 9/10)

Cabana — A couple’s (Kenan Thompson, Vanessa Bayer) alone time is interrupted by the arrival of an old acquaintance (Louis C.K.) and his girlfriend, Jemma (Cecily Strong). The sketch itself was lousy, but Cecily Strong’s impression was life-affirming. (Score: 6/10)

Forgotten TV Gems: Whoops! I Married a Lesbian — Reese De’What (Kenan Thompson) intros scenes from “Whoops! I Married a Lesbian,” a failed sitcom about two women (Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant) who leave their husbands (Louis C.K., Bobby Moynihan) for each other. Fun sketch, and accurate for what a show like this might have looked like in the 1950s. “I may be a lesbian, but I can’t live without the love of a strong man!” (Score: 7/10)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.