At the end of what was possibly the most painful, awkward, aggressively unfunny hour of television I’ve ever seen, comedian Louis C.K. stood on live national television and asked us, his audience, to cheer for the collection of no-talent no-names that he described as the “great cast” of Saturday Night Live. He had the further audacity to ask us to applaud the writers, who had produced “a great show.”
I had to ask myself… what happened? Maybe somebody can help me out – is SNL still a comedy program? Or is it some kind of surreal anti-comedy where you laugh because you can’t believe someone thought this was funny enough to put on TV? Let me run a few names by you: Aidy Bryant. Taran Killiam. Beck Bennett. Mike O’Brien. Nasim Pedrad. No, they’re not the 3 – 11 shift at Applebee’s. These are the people I’m supposed to regard as the modern-day equals of such real-life comedy greats as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and Phil Hartman. Has popular culture really sunk this low into the putrid green-brown mass at the bottom of our society’s outhouse?
The first sketch was “Black Jeopardy,” and the biggest shock was seeing that Kenan Thompson is still on the show. Somebody please… get this man off of television forever. Anyway, it was funny (I assume) because Louis C.K. is a white guy.
Next up was a sketch I’ll call “Boss Baby,” because the “joke” was that the CEO of a large company has “the body of a baby.” That’s it. Who came up with that idea? Who actually sat there and pitched it to a room full of supposed comedy writers, and who else sat next to him and said, “You know what? That would be absolutely hilarious.” But it wasn’t even two of them – the majority of people in that room actually thought this boss baby sketch was better than some of the other ideas they came up with. Think about that.
“Weekend Update.” Yikes. I’m not sure I heard one laugh from the audience that wasn’t saturated with pity for the two stiffs sitting behind the desk. One thing I’ll say is that the girl was cute. I even liked the way her enormous front teeth made her vaguely resemble a human chinchilla. Don’t get me wrong, chinchillas are great pets and adorable little animals. A sort of chinchilla-looking girl could definitely hold a special place in my heart. In fact, I wouldn’t say it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility that, in some future world where human/chinchilla hybrid creatures are common, I might be tempted to sleep with one. And I might even fall in love with one. Yes. For after all, human DNA would course through her veins right alongside that of the chinchilla. I look forward to that world, a world where the new girl from Weekend Update has those huge chinchilla ears and a wacky chinchilla tail, and we take dust baths together three times a week to prevent fungal growth and fur rot.
In the next sketch, four women sing “Mr. Big Stuff” to Louie. I’m not sure what else to add. That’s what happens. Following that, we go to a doctor’s office where a bunch of people think they have Star Wars action figures stuck up their asses. It’s predicated on the notion that it becomes funnier with each additional person who thinks there’s a Star Wars action figure stuck up his or her ass.
Following that hilarity, Louie and a woman appear to be detectives having some kind of affair. There’s music playing in the background, they talk in stilted accents and blend words together (“pineapplejuice”). What on earth…? Was it a parody of something? If so, I have no idea what. Then we get to enjoy a sketch where there’s a lesbian police officer named Dyke and an overweight officer named Fats. That’s basically the joke. Finally, in the only sort of maybe nearly half-way somewhat amusing sketch, Louie begs his girlfriend to take him back and there’s a lot of odd wordplay. Louie is very obviously reading off the cue-cards.
What depressed me most about all this travesty was that Louis C.K. was involved. His stand-up is funny. His show is groundbreaking. He presents himself as the rational everyman, the guy who has seen too much of society’s garbage and won’t accept it anymore. He hates the traditional, he challenges convention. And yet he stood up there and asked us to applaud the miserable cast and hack writers who vomited pure dreck into our mouths for a full hour. For all his facade as the guy who hates phonies and calls out the shallowness of fame and stardom, he came across as a real stooge. I know it would have been hard and he wouldn’t have been invited back, but couldn’t he have at least given a little shrug and said, “Hey, I tried! Sorry folks.”
The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.