When old cast members come back to host SNL, it is always exciting to see what characters or sketches will return with them. For Saturday’s SNL host, Chris Rock , some of his best work during his time on the show was spent doing standup. So it felt inevitable that we were going to see some good standup from Rock, especially during the monologue. And sure enough, Rock did a classic standup monologue, unfortunately, the subject manner wasn't really standup funny, as much as it was uncomfortable.
Rock's monologue became pretty awkward, pretty quickly. Rock started out with the rhetorical question of "what can go wrong at the New York City Marathon?" on Sunday, in reference to the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon. Along with comments about the Boston Marathon and gun control, Rock spent a lot of time on September 11th, particularly poking fun at the Freedom Tower, or One World Trade, mentioning how it should be called the "Never Going In There Tower" (along with asking if the building ducks and if the corporate sponsor is Target).
Now, I consider myself someone who understands different sources of comedy. I know that boundaries often have to be pushed for jokes to really hit well with audiences. I don't think that is the case for this monologue. We shouldn't be afraid to laugh at edgy comedy, but it simply wasn't that funny, whether it was inappropriate or not. It was obvious the audience was unclear of what their reactions should be as well, as some laughed a joke here or there, while other times the reactions were pretty quiet.
When Rock was on the show, he often did standup that pushed people's buttons, but this monologue felt different. As I am sure Rock didn't mean it to sound disrespectful, but thousands of people have put a lot of hard work into memorializing the 9/11 site, and asking "what were they thinking," isn't really "HA HA" funny. It was certainly an edgy monologue, something you don't see too often on television, but I can't say if edgy relates to comedy as much as it did for awkwardness this time around.
Images: Dana Edelson/NBC