Donald Trump at the Mine Cold Open
Alec Baldwin returns again to take on Trump, this time visiting a small town in the Deep South full of his supporters, worried about things like jobs, coal jobs, health care and the like, and Trump promising to take it all away. Except coal. And the people still love him, which is more of a dig at his supporters than it is at Trump. The best line was about comparing his supporters to someone eating a bowl of chili and finding a finger in it, but still eating it because they just like the chili. Unfortunately as the reality of a Trump presidency sets in on a daily basis, these sketches are becoming less and less funny.
Louis C.K .Stand-up Monologue
If you remember the last time Louis C.K. was on SNL, he totally killed it in his monologue, comfortable doing what he does best. This time around, perhaps expecting him to use his biting comedy to launch a few of his own missiles at Trump … he instead stuck to bizarre racial jokes about a black man following a chicken (and then said the chicken was racist for thinking the black man was following him), giraffe jokes, moose jokes, and sex jokes about a goat before segueing to a riff about how his life has changed since he became rich and famous, now having to deal with staying in five-star hotels instead of sleazy motels which then addressed white privilege. That was a long bizarre way to go from racism to white privilege and, sadly, it wasn’t all that funny. Perhaps even he felt the mood of the room judging by the sweat glistening on his head.
Louis C.K. plays a prosecutor with the most delicious eyelashes anyone has ever seen, using them to make the judge, the witnesses, the jury and the defendant swoon. It was all pretty funny and then it had a “Huh?” ending that took all the air out of the room. It seemed the like the audience didn’t even realize it was over at that point.
Thank You, Scott
The first pre-taped bit of the night was a music video that poked a very sharp stick in the eye of people on social media who think they’re going to change the world by sharing news articles on Facebook and adding the latest social commentary hashtag to their Twitter accounts. Pretty biting piece of satire and the first great piece of the evening.
Louis C.K. goes back into very uncomfortable territory as a 1950s ice cream shop owner who tries to cheer up a mopey high school girl who didn’t get asked to the prom by asking her to the prom, and then tried to convince her it would be great by going on a test run pretend date in the diner. It was all uncomfortably humorous, then Leslie Jones came in and almost screwed it all up by flubbing her one line (and this being the 1950s, would there really have been a black girl allowed to sit at the counter, or even inside the establishment?). The punchline put a nice little twist on the whole thing, making this one okay but not great.
Another pre-taped bit of brilliance skewering the recently released and then pulled Pepsi ad, here with Beck Bennett as the writer and director of the ad getting some not-so-positive feedback from family members and a neighbor. Really timely and funny and Bennett’s reactions to the unheard voices on the phone really sold the piece.
“Weekend Update” had a lot of Trump material to work with this week, specifically the missile launches in Syria and Trump’s relationship with Russia. The only way Michael Che could aptly describe it was with a clip of the Three Stooges. Colin Jost also got some digs in at the obliviousness of the Trump administration. There were some other jokes that landed with a thud, but most of them got laughs. I know some people tire of Kate McKinnon’s Cecilia Giminez character, but she was spot on this week talking about how she created that horrifying statue of Cristiano Ronaldo that was unveiled earlier in the week. And for once, she was the only guest who visited the news desk, making this a pretty tight outing for the segment.
The O’Reilly Factor
With Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in the news this week, it was only natural for SNL to take a shot at the beleaguered sexual offender (alleged). And, surprise, Alec Baldwin pulled double duty this week, also appearing as O’Reilly, and perhaps doing an even better job than he does as Trump. And we got to compare as Baldwin’s O’Reilly interviewed Baldwin’s Trump with a bit of video wizardry. The best part of the bit acknowledged the real O’Reilly’s dwindling sponsorship of his show, proudly mentioning those he still has — Dog Cocaine, horse Cialis, and the CHiPs movie. Whoops indeed.
Bobby Moynihan plays the kiddie birthday clown arriving at a home for his next gig. But it turns out the party is for a 37-year-old man and there is no party. Just him and the clown. Again, a pretty funny pre-taped bit with Moynihan really turning in some good work and a punchline you might see coming, but even if it was expected, it was still done well.
Louis C.K. stars in this one as a pitchman for sectional counches. Except he’s not a pitchman and this isn’t a commercial. He just loves sectional couches. There are some funny insert bits with Cecily Stong and Aidy Bryant, and the whole thing is bizarrely funny, though more on the bizarre, “what were they thinking” side of things.
A high school class visits the location of an actual tenement from 1913, preserved now just as it was then, complete with two reenactors portraying the original Polish immigrants who lived there, complete with horrific ethnic slurs against Italians. And “chocolate” people. Really treading the line between offensive and funny, the best part was Kate McKinnon and Louis C.K. completely cracking up over Louis’ crazy accent.
I am not a big fan of The Chainsmokers — I can never hear their inexplicable hit song “Closer” again and still live a completely happy life — but I thought they did a good job with their two songs, “Paris” and “Break Up Every Night”, from their latest album Memories … Do Not Open. The music is catchy enough but my biggest problem is the lyrics in which they seem to consider just repeating the same line or phrase over and over again is good songwriting. Or I could just be a little too old to appreciate their work. Nah, it really is a bit crap. And were the vocals purposely being drowned out to cover up that crapiness?
Perhaps I was spoiled by my memories of Louis C.K.’s last appearance on SNL for the season 40 finale because this episode, outside of a few chuckles here and there and some really well done pre-taped pieces, was just a bit of a letdown. But the show will bring back the always reliable Jimmy Fallon (and probably a ton of familiar faces) when the show goes live coast-to-coast for the very first time.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below!