Louis C.K. Closes a Great SNL Finale


SNL in Season 40 has had a fantastic run. And on their finale, unlike others, they didn’t rely heavily on meta-surprises and cameo appearances; they just prepared good sketch comedy and showcased what has been an absolutely stellar cast. Louis C.K., now third-time host, was featured as a great player also, but he didn’t overshadow the proceedings; he instead worked with them to facilitate the showcase of their talents. In short: SNL40 ended just as great as it started.

COLD OPEN: SUMMERTIME
 (McKinnon, Hammond, Cast)
Hey, what a fun way to open the show! It’s always great to see the entire cast involved in something which shows just what a strong ensemble the show has. And hey, the Clintons are definitely going to remain a part of our lives!
Blackometer: 7.8/10


LOUIS C.K. MONOLOGUE
(Louis CK)
The monologues are typically at their best when the host is a standup comic who can just go out there and do their thing, engaging with the audience by just telling jokes (the very first SNL with George Carlin featured this in 1975). Louis C.K. is great at what he does! But of course, like Chris Rock’s monologue last fall, this is some…sensitive subject matter. Look, I’m a black male, and the “mild racism” bit didn’t upset me because it came from the perspective of comparing his 70s upbringing to now. That’s fine. The second half, although it didn’t have to be worded that way, was up there with riskiest things in 2015 TV comedy.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzh7RtIJKZk

THE SHOEMAKER & THE ELVES (Louis CK, Thompson, Bayer, Bryant)
Oof. My biggest problem with this sketch is it’s placement. By itself, a sketch about dominance and fetishes could be buried later in the show. Mostly, it was just hard watching this sketch after some of the monologue subject matter. And the ending (which felt like “how do we end this?”) made me frightened that we’d get a “Darrell’s House
-esque reprise which makes everything make sense. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Blackometer: 5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao9HFGiK_Pg

THIS IS HOW I TALK (Louis CK, Pharoah, Bayer, Jones, Bryant, McKinnon)
This one was saved instantly from being dead on arrival, simply by Louis C.K.’s first monologue as a Sprint employee who has to continue impersonating his boss’ voice. Watching him here reminds me of Micheal Keaton during the Ad Agency sketch last month – a host who’s just in control and in charge of the sketch.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8PXvqYpGCM

WOOD PSAs (Moynihan, Bayer, Bennett, Louis CK, Strong, Zamata)
Yes, this was silly…but it was funny! More Beck Bennett singing backup in ad parodies.
Blackometer: 7.2/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/wood-psas-062234183.html

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Killam, Davidson, Moynihan)
The best part of Taran Killam’s Tom Brady was Jost’s boyish “oh-aren’t-you-perfect” charm towards him. Pete Davidson ended the season just as charming at the desk as he was at the season premiere, and I can’t wait to see him get even more involved in Season 41. And I’m sucker for puns, and a goofy Colin Jost joke, so yes, “Jalapeno business” was definitely for me. Finally, we got the amazing Riblet, which, even if we’re not completely surprised with the character, will always be fantastic.
Blackometer: 7.8/10

https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/weekend-part-1-062311476.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/weekend-part-2-062713832.html

CABANA (Thompson, Bayer, Louis CK, Strong, Zamata)
This is exactly the same sketch we saw in the Dwayne Johnson episode, and that one only worked because of his undeniable energy to sell the sketch. However, we don’t get that here, and Louis C.K. didn’t seem as into this one as his previous sketches, so it just didn’t work. It was a pretty basic copy-paste from last time.
Blackometer: 3/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/cabana-061711334.html

POLICE LINE-UP (Thompson, Davidson, Killam, Mooney, Bennett, Louis C.K.)
I will always laugh at a well-done “we’re over-the-top theatre people” sketch. Beck Bennett is definitely the star here, and Kyle Mooney (as we’ve seen before) nails several of the mannerisms you’ll see in a thespian troupe. The two of them, for sure, have claimed their place in the continued future of this strong ensemble cast.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/police-line-062235322.html

WHOOPS! I MARRIED A LESBIAN (Thompson, Louis CK, McKinnon, Bryant, Moynihan)
I started to type “if this were a sitcom, I’d watch it” just because of how good everyone is in it. However, I’d rather watch half an hour of either Reese De’What reacting to/defending failed sitcoms like this, or a sitcom featuring Bobby Moynihan playing the 50’s dopey best friend character. He’s got that down like no other.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/forgotten-tv-gems-062713540.html

Best Sketch of the Night: Louis C.K. Monologue
Worst Sketch of the Night: Cabana
Joke of the Night: “Jalapeno Business” – Jost
Observations: Another good episode that strongly represents how solid Season 40 has truly been. This cast (and writing staff) could return as it is in the fall with no changes and sustain the show just fine, provided that they have nowhere to go but up with the talent they possess. My personal hope is for no cast changes whatsoever. Unlike previous seasons, there are no rumors of a repertory player moving on to pursue a movie career or another show; and none of the featured players seem to be in danger of being grossly under-utilized like last season. (You could make a case for Sasheer Zamata not finding a true voice on the show yet, but she has at least shown the potential all year.) Also, the cast is at 15 – which is bigger than it needs to be for letting each of them shine, but still manageable. Plus, the cohesion among them seems very strong, and we’ve also had great glimpses of connecting to each cast member on occasion. It’ll be exciting to see what Season 41 of this truly miraculous show brings to Studio 8H!

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.81

By the way, here’s another cut sketch by Kyle Mooney as NYC standup, Bruce Chandling

Thanks for reading these SNL recaps this season! Happy summer, and here’s to many more SNL seasons!
-BB2

Michael Keaton: 7.15
Martin Freeman
: 6.98
Bill Hader: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
Dwayne Johnson: 6.81
Louis C.K.: 6.81
Chris Hemsworth: 6.81
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Reese Witherspoon: 6.76
J.K. Simmons: 6.70
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Taraji P. Henson: 6.42
Amy Adams: 6.18
Scarlett Johansson 6
Chris Rock: 5.75
Dakota Johnson: 5.62
Blake Shelton: 5

Reese Witherspoon Celebrates Moms on SNL


Reese Witherspoon last hosted the season premiere in 2001, the first show to air following the 9/11 attacks, with the now-infamous monologue with Lorne Michaels, Rudy Giulani and firefighters of New York. This time around, she helped the case honor mothers everywhere in a very sweet monologue, and was game for just about anything else! We got some great sketches, some sketches that didn’t go anywhere…a more consistent but interesting episode of SNL.

COLD OPEN: 2016 REPUBLICAN (Strong, Bennett, Thompson, Moynihan, McKinnon, Mooney, Killam)
The DJ brings out the Republican Candidates out, introducing them as these ‘hip’ characters. This doesn’t make them any more interesting though. It’s just a less-messy version of the GOP at Coachella sketch they did last spring. Moynihan’s shirt was fun, though.
Blackometer: 5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/2016-republicans-cold-open-061817401.html

REESE WITHERSPOON MONOLOGUE (Witherspoon, Strong, Pharoah, McKinnon, Zamata, Bennett, Bayer, Thompson, Davidson, Bryant, Mooney, Moynihan)
How nice was this? This may be the nicest Mother’s Day offering on SNL they’ve pulled off in recent years. Most of the cast brings their real mothers out to apologize for the weirdos they were as children, followed by a clip reel of home videos. Not only was this incredibly sweet, but it serves as another great way in which we get to know the cast as just themselves. And man, you can tell from watching these people as kids that they were going to be on TV someday.
Blackometer: 9.5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqVbmDOGq70

THE L.A. SCENE (Witherspoon, Strong, Thompson, Pharoah, Davidson, Mooney)
That sketch existed for a fart joke and “voices.” Not too much else…but the best part was really how Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah didn’t know how to operate sound for the show.
Blackometer: 5.8/10

PICTURE PERFECT (Killam, Bennett, Bayer, Strong, Moynihan, Witherspoon, Thompson)
First, Moynihan’s reaction to the clue he had to draw was worth the price of admission. Then, Thompson as Reginald VelJohnson (which is as great as it sounds) throwing  his pen in disgust took it to another level. Between these things and Taran Killam’s slimy game show host, we ended up with just a great sketch.
Blackometer: 9/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_kuC35F06E

MR. WESTERBERG (Witherspoon, Thompson, Moynihan, Bayer, Bennett, Davidson)
I didn’t think I was going to like this sketch once I realized where it was going. But something about Beck Bennett’s insistence in his delivery just sold me on it. Everyone else is mocking their boss’ voice and general comments, while Bennett reveals some pretty disturbing things Westerberg has said to him. It’s not quite like anything else SNL puts on regularly, and until the formula for the sketch is realized, you can hear the audience trying to figure out just how to respond. In the end, I felt just as bad for Beck Bennett as his coworkers.
Blackometer: 7/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx-dJnKIa9U

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Jones, Strong, Witherspoon, Thompson)
“To whom it may concern” is the best way to start a love letter. Leslie Jones continues to be such a force on Update, and I personally think it’s going to be a better idea for them to use her as the closing segment instead of opening – she’s got to be a tough act to follow. Also, the best chemistry on Update was, hands down, between Jost and Jones, which is truly one of the strongest things the show has right now. The Two Girls at a Party were fine, if not on and off rather quickly, and Willie is always fun. Jost and Che sharing their mother’s jokes was just as nice as the rest of the cast’s apologies in the monologue.
Blackometer: 8/10

https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-1-062421367.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-2-062008165.html

HIGH SCHOOL THEATER SHOW (Bryant, Witherspoon, Killam, Mooney, McKinnon, Moynihan, Jones, Bennett, Strong)
This was one of the best sketches of last fall with Cameron Diaz, and as soon as I saw the set being built during commercials, I knew this new rendition, this would not disappoint. With lines such as “next time, don’t like…love” and “guess what? We were black!”, I was right.
Blackometer: 9/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnWh8tKfMbk

SOUTHERN LADIES (Strong, Bryant, McKinnon, Jones, Witherspoon)
This was just a lot of talking in southern accents and trying to be weird. Everyone was good in it, but it just didn’t amount to that much. Poor Cecily.
Blackometer: 4/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/southern-ladies-062143889.html

WATER SLIDE (Bennett, Mooney, Zamata, Moynihan, Witherspoon, Thompson)
This one also went nowhere for some reason. I’m not sure if more plot material was cut to make room for the second Florence and the Machine song, or if it would’ve been just four more minutes of those two ride attendants talking. But hey, you have a great water slide set and some kids ready to go, so I guess you can’t bail on the sketch.
Blackometer: 2.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/waterslide-061716384.html

WHISKERS R’ US (McKinnon, Witherspoon)
A cat who’s a registered sex offender, while another one lies about having gone to Princeton. Third time we’ve seen this sketch, and it’s still just a joy.
Blackometer: 7.8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/whiskers-r-061907342.html

Best Sketch of the Night: Reese Witherspoon Monologue
Worst Sketch of the Night: Water Slide
Joke of the Night: “Next time, don’t like…love.”
Observations: This episode was a pretty good offering of what the season has been – the highs are pretty high, the lows are at least (usually) interesting, and we’ve gotten a better connection to the people we watch on screen each week. SNL now has good momentum heading into the finale of what has been a pretty stellar season, and it will be great to see what this closing offering will bring.

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.76

In other news, make sure you check out this fantastic cut sketch from Leslie Jones, Inner White Girl, which was probably made more for the internet than it was a live audience.

Next time: Season 40 Finale with Louis C.K.!!!
-BB2
Image result for snl reese witherspoon

Michael Keaton: 7.15
Martin Freeman
: 6.98
Bill Hader: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
Dwayne Johnson: 6.81
Chris Hemsworth: 6.81
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Reese Witherspoon: 6.76
J.K. Simmons: 6.70
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Taraji P. Henson: 6.42
Amy Adams: 6.18
Scarlett Johansson 6
Chris Rock: 5.75
Dakota Johnson: 5.62
Blake Shelton: 5

Scarlett Johansson’s SNL: What’s There to Say?

Saucy: In a sixties-inspired thigh-skimming shift dress, Scarlett Johansson gave viewers of SNL something to set their pulses racing - a very sexy dance
Scarlett Johansson’s previous hosting performances in the 21st century have been, shall we say…serviceable? She’s not particularly known for being funny, or even as energetically entertaining as a Dwayne Johnson- or Kevin Hart-type host. In fact, the last show she hosted was among the worst of the 2010-2011 season. Plus, viewership of this show was already, as the cold open pointed out, stilted by the televised Mayweather fight. My point: this episode had nothing to lose. I watched to see how the show might comically deal with this week’s top stories, mainly the Baltimore riots and the Gay rights act  – and it was pretty obvious that this is where all the best energies went.

COLD OPEN: MAYWEATHER-PACQUIAO (Killam, Thompson, Pharoah, Bryant, McKinnon)
Aidy Bryant as Pacquiao is pretty great. Though, Pharoah and Thompson abandoning the sketch just seemed too obvious somehow.
Blackometer: 6/10

SCARLETT JOHANSSON MONOLOGUE (Johansson, Thompson, Killam)
I guess Scarlett Johansson wants to use the word “baby” to confuse a child’s lullaby for a sexual song, complete with backup ladies. Taran & Kenan’s reactions were pretty great, but I don’t know…it just didn’t seem to really go as far as it could have. Which is an overused criticism of the average lacking SNL sketch, but…here we are.
Blackometer: 5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/scarlett-johansson-monologue-062424875.html

RIGHT SIDE OF THE BED (Strong, Killam, Johansson, McKinnon)
I liked this rendition of Right Side of the Bed better than the first time it aired (the Martin Freeman episode in which it was the worst sketch of the night). It didn’t stick to exactly the same formula as last time, allowing the two ideas of the host vs. guest to be better balanced – in this case, more towards the over-the-top hosts. Johansson, as with her other hosting gigs, relied on her thick Brooklyn accent pretty quickly, and it didn’t add too much (but hey, it didn’t take away either). Also: Kate McKinnon’s Hozier.
Blackometer: 6.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/side-bed-062707032.html

ORIOLES (Bayer, Thompson, Killam, Moynihan, Johansson, Bennett, Pharoah, Davidson)
The James Franco-hosted show last fall cut a brilliant morning talk show sketch in which the hosts suddenly had to discuss the Ferguson events – doing all they could to divert from it while on air. This Orioles sketch was a re-attempt at this format, and I’m glad they found it fitting to air this time. It wasn’t quite as biting as the cut Ferguson sketch, but the “knee grows” line was pretty excellent.
Blackometer: 7.5/10

BLACK WIDOW (Johansson, Pharoah, Bennett, McKinnon, Killam, Strong, Moynihan)
Well, why not?
Blackometer: 7/10

GIRLFRIEND’S TALK SHOW (Strong, Bryant, Johansson)
I’ve never really enjoyed these, and I’m actually afraid that they’re getting less and less interesting. There might be one or two funny lines from Aidy Bryant in them (who, until tonight, seems to be generally on air less than last season, or even last fall), but there doesn’t even seem to be much of a point in doing them anymore. It’s literally the same thing every time, but with no real new jokes. Plus, this seemed like the longest installment, dragging on without much to say. I think it’s beyond time to put these out to pasture.
Blackometer: 3/10

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, McKinnon, Moynihan, Bayer, Thompson, Pharoah)
Colin Jost, this spring semester especially, has been proving his case a bit more each week as to why he deserves the Update desk. Seriously – although it’s been taking more time than most of us would have liked, the reasons for him being selected as an anchor are shown more consistently throughout each episode. I won’t say the hosts’ interactions are getting better (they’re not), but Jost as a host is the most. (Sorry.) Each of the talking segments were fine (McKinnon practically owns Update talking heads now), but it was truly Jay Pharoah’s Shaq making Kenan Thompson break that gave me my hardest laugh of the night.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-1-062423712.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-2-062707890.html

DINO BONES (Killam, Strong, Thompson, Bayer, Davidson, Johansson)
What was this sketch?!?!?!?! I have nothing to say.
Blackometer: 1/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/dino-bones-062536489.html

BLAZER (Killam, Wiz Kalifa, Thompson, Pharoah, Che, Bennett, Moynihan)
This…was pretty great. Somehow, we went directly from the worst sketch of the night to the best sketch of the night in no time flat. Here we have Taran Killam as a cop who makes light of race-centric police brutality, going so far as to have his own filmed theme song while pouncing on only black guys. The payoff for his efforts turns out to be a clever comedic way to address these cases.
Blackometer: 9.5/10

VIRGIN FLIGHT (Killam, Davidson, Bayer, Johansson, Moynihan, Pharoah, Bryant, Jones)
I was waiting (and hoping) to like this one, because it was just so weird. It may have not been weird enough…or perhaps just too one-note. Either way, it just kind of stayed floating around in first gear and never got towards anything memorable (like much of Johansson’s sketches tonight).
Blackometer: 5.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/virgin-flight-062306011.html

JINGLE WRITERS (Killam, Mooney, McKinnon, Bryant, Johansson)
This is Exhibit A in why I need more Aidy Bryant sketches on the show. I hope we get a couple more of these before the close of the season. It reminded me a little of Tim Robinson’s Roundball Rock sketch in Season 38. Anyway, it gets points for being weird.
Blackometer: 7/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/jingle-writers-062535888.html

Best Sketch of the Night: Blazer
Worst Sketch of the Night: Museum
Joke of the Night: “That knee grows stronger every day”
Observations: At 11 sketches (including Update), the only interesting sketches were the ones which in some way addressed the biggest news stories of the week – all in different ways. The Internet will probably like Johansson’s Black Widow romantic comedy the most (in which she seemed the most comfortable, other than the final sketch). The odds were a bit against this episode, but I have more faith in Reese Witherspoon’s and Louis CK’s final two shows as the 40th season comes to a close.

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.0

Next time: Reese Witherspoon!
-BB2

Michael Keaton: 7.15
Martin Freeman
: 6.98
Bill Hader: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
Dwayne Johnson: 6.81
Chris Hemsworth: 6.81
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
J.K. Simmons: 6.70
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Taraji P. Henson: 6.42
Amy Adams: 6.18
Chris Rock: 5.75
Dakota Johnson: 5.62
Blake Shelton: 5
Welcome to Virgin airlines: Scarlett also portrayed an air stewardess in one of the skits