Comedian Louis C.K. hosted SNL for the second time last night with musical guest Sam Smith. C.K. is a revered stand-up comedian, star of his own critically acclaimed television show Louie, recipient of a staggering 25 Emmy Award nominations (one for his previous SNL hosting gig), and a film actor with an increasingly impressive resumé. (He had standout roles in last year’s Oscar-nominated movies American Hustle and Blue Jasmine.) Little known fact: C.K. used to write “Saturday TV Funhouse” sketches for SNL throughout the ‘90s and the ‘00s! Put simply, C.K. is no stranger to the world of comedy. And after watching his hilariously awkward promos for the show with one of my favorite cast members, Kenan Thompson, I was expecting great things from the accomplished comic! Sadly, he let me down.
We never got to see C.K. step outside of his comfort zone last night. He did stand-up during his opening monologue, and his most successful sketch, “Mr. Big Stuff,” came to a grinding halt in the middle so that he could — you guessed it — do more stand-up! C.K. didn’t create any new or memorable characters and he was a part of some of the worst sketches of the evening (though that’s not entirely his fault). After a two-week break, I was looking forward to SNL’s return — but I was hoping for a stronger episode than this!
Thankfully, English singer-songwriter Sam Smith was there to
save the day. You may not know him yet,
but Smith is a rising star both at home and in the United States. “Money on My Mind,” the second single from Smith’s upcoming debut album, In the Lonely Hour, has already gone number one in the United
Kingdom, and he’s a featured artist on Naughty Boy’s “La La La,”
a song that’s just now starting to climb the charts in the United States. First, Smith performed “Stay with Me,” a mid-tempo
ballad with an uplifting chorus and hints of pop, R&B, and gospel. Oh my gosh — he sounded absolutely incredible! I’m not sure that the haircut is working for
him, but he sounded incredible. Next up was “Lay Me Down,” which was an even
greater showcase of Smith’s insanely versatile voice, if that's possible. Does he remind anyone else of Boy
George? Just a little bit? Critics tend to be harsh on SNL newbies (Lana Del Rey, anyone?), but Smith
doesn’t have anything to worry about — he was fantastic!
Check out my rundown of last night’s Must Watch and Must Miss sketches below!
I’m a sucker for SNL’s
phony commercials, so this sketch is right up my alley. Vanessa Bayer plays a busy mom who is just fed up with her family members constantly spilling their drinks! Juice, coffee, milk, you name it — it all
ends up on the floor! Thankfully, mom has
found a new cleaning solution that’s more efficient and much more cost effective than
paper towels: suits from Joseph A. Bank!
With Joseph A. Bank’s unique “Buy 1 Get 3” pricing, you can afford to
stock up on cheap suits to clean up your everyday messes. They even come in a convenient pop-up
dispenser! They’re great for sopping up
pet stains, blotting bacon grease, or acting as a diaper for your baby! When dad (Taran Killam) accidentally gets one of his
regular suits mixed up with a Joseph A. Bank suit, his ensemble literally falls
apart the moment it comes into contact with water. Luckily, he just laughs it off. Ah, it’s funny because it's true.
For the first time in a long time, the Weekend Update guests
don’t upstage the hosts! Admittedly, there’s
only one guest — Jay Pharoah doing an impression of a sports journalist I’ve
never heard of — but still! (What are sports? Ack!) This sketch is all about anchors Colin Jost
and Cecily Strong and their snappy joke delivery. Some of my favorite news story zingers
include: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s alter ego “Trish Trishtie,” NYC’s
growing “street Elmo” problem, and Ukraine’s Combat Dolphins, a.k.a. “the
toys your grandmother bought you when you asked for Ninja Turtles.” Oh, grandmas.
Will you ever learn?
Healthcare.gov Meeting Cold Open
A political cold open that’s actually funny? Imagine that! Impressed by the success of his Between
Two Ferns appearance with actor
Zach Galifianakis, President Obama (Pharoah) asks the White House’s new social
media expert Mara (Noel Wells) if she has any other ideas to boost healthcare
enrollment. Oh, does she ever! First, to get things going on Instagram, Mara
snaps a shot of the president holding a "healthcare.gov" sign while “vaping” on
an e-cigarette and wearing Pharrell’s giant wizard hat. Next, she wants to break Ellen’s
record for the most retweeted picture of all time by staging a photo shoot
with Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, Batkid, and a cat dressed as Princess Elsa
from Frozen (Nasim Pedrad is
hysterical as Kim K, as usual). Finally,
Mara wants to get a photo of the president laying a smooch on Justin Bieber —
it’s guaranteed to go viral. Obama is
unsure about all of these campaigns,
but he agrees to go along with them with a little convincing from his assistant
Mike (Killam). Honestly, I’ll take any
excuse to see Kate McKinnon do her Biebs impression.
What in the world is happening here? Bayer and C.K. are private eyes who are
looking to take their relationship to the next level. Bayer invites C.K. over late at night and
tells him to wear just his pajamas, but when he arrives and begins to make
strange sexual requests, she starts to have second thoughts. Basically, the whole sketch is just C.K.’s
character trying to pressure Bayer’s character into having sex with him. Is that funny? No. And to think, with the sprightly background music
and their Waiting for Guffman-style line
delivery, I thought the two were going to break
into a fun song about being detectives at the beginning of the sketch! How
wrong I was. Bobby Moynihan makes one of
his only appearances of the night midway through as an eye-patch wearing assailant. He’s only on screen for about two seconds
before he’s thrown out a window, but his cameo is a welcome distraction.
That’s it for this week! Tune in next Saturday for first-time host Anna Kendrick and musical guest Pharrell. Will Kendrick be forced to sing “Cups” during her opening monologue? Will Pharrell’s now iconic hat make another appearance? You’ve got to tune in to find out!