Many of you have probably already read the e-mail Louis C.K. sent out a few hours before taking the stage on Saturday night. For those of you who haven’t, it is a sweet, heartfelt little note detailing how strange it had been to walk around a devastated city that he’d never known to be less than robust, and how he and the cast and crew at SNL worked hard this week to put on a good show for that city. It is very sweet. And it is very lucky that Bruno Mars was not the host who penned that letter this week, because it would be VERY difficult to criticize a show created with that expressed intention. Hahah. “IT SUCKED.” “thx 4 trying or shuld i say NOT TRYING.” Ahhhh. Luckily, Louis C.K. penned the note and hosted and was just as wonderful as our best hopes imagined. There was a little (pre-superstorm) fear (when everyone was able to be afraid of anything other than whether or not so many people are going to be able to have shelter and food and water) that Louis’s episode would be a disappointment, as some thought Zach Galifianakis’ much-anticipated episode was. (SOME.) (Not even saying me, but some.) Would he merely be given Louis-like characters, rather than anything challenging or interesting? Would the monologue be a song, as it never isn’t anymore? Would he just be a big old grump about it? ??? Well, on Saturday night all of our questions were answered, and the answer was: “No. Obviously it was very good.”

The monologue was just a few minutes of stand-up. Perfect. NEXT.

Oh, the cold open was good, too. The joke about Bloomberg’s expressive signer had pretty much been the #1 joke on the Internet for the week leading up to Saturday’s SNL, which tends to make jokes, by the time they get to SNL, feel more than a bit stale. But, in this case, who cares. It was good! Chris Christie was good, especially. Good job.

Obviously the Lincoln sketch was really great. Many are saying it will be the best sketch of the season. Probably it will be? We’ll have to see what Anne Hathaway does next week, but for now at least I do agree that it has been the best sketch of the season and will reasonably hold that title until the end.

Louis was great in the “Fox And Friends” sketch.

Louis was also great in the “Hotel Fees” sketch.

And the “Last Call” sketch, although the premise was kind of thin and uninventive and there are other ways to complain about it for sure, was entertaining.

(This really only leaves the Mountain Pass sketch and the Australian Screen Legends sketch. I didn’t like those! LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT IT.)

Finally, fun. performed and their singer looked like an at once young and old version of John Mulaney.

Comments (39)
  1. what about the Australian Cinema skit? The best of the night, I thought!

  2. Let’s all take a moment to mourn the fact that Stefan was not there to tell us the hottest clubs that had reopened since the hurricane.

  3. Louis C.K. as Lincoln looks distractingly like Richard Schiff from The West Wing.

  4. Fun is the worst and I will never ever give them the benefit of putting the period at the end of their name.

    Anyone else with me that they’re the by-product of a table of label executives trying to manufacture an Indie band?

    “Make the lead singer wear a trenchcoat or something?”

    Why. Why is he always wearing a trenchcoat? Ugh. Why do they only know 2chords and one march drum beat? Why does anyone like that autotune sound as a deliberate timbre choice? Why? Whywhywhy

    • So I’m a fun. apologist, because of The Format and the first fun. album and because the singer inexplicably reminds me of my aunt. I think they are actually really sincere lyrically, and even though I agree that the autotune is excessive (I think any autotune is excessive) I still find myself trying to make my voice sound like a robot when I sing along to their songs. And when you see them live and they play “One Foot” it’s just a great time.

      But I can see why people would have a problem with them. I don’t watch SNL/late night shows so I have never seen them perform on TV but I imagine it could be a difficult translation from album/live to tv shows.

      • I feel like the excessive autotuning should be blamed on Sufjan Stevens. Once he did it all the bands were like “well if Sufjan can do it and make it sincere, then so can we.”

        for the record, I kind of dislike most of sufjan’s autotune stuff, except “impossible soul.”

      • This is correct because The Format is the best & the only thing that would make fun. better for me is if Sam Means started doing all of their arrangements.

        • A thousand times yes.

          And while fun. definitely has all the markings of a manufactured corporate indie frankenband, they are actually somewhat legitimate (members of former bands joining together at least).

          And Nate Ruess can sing like a mofo. Listen to the Format. Then you’ll probably like fun. also.

    • I could not understand a single word that dude was singing.

    • I agree. I try to like them, but there is something manufactured and stale about them – basically yes, a label exec indie band. Always felt that way about Garbage.

      • I can see that in a sense. Garbage consisted of three music producers/songwriters and Shirley Manson. The band all had 25-30 year careers in songwriting, performing and producing music before Garbage was formed.

    • Since we are getting all stereogum up in this bitch, I’ll second the idea that fun is the worst. I don’t think it makes sense to attribute their shittyness to some imaginary record exec in this day and age – I’m sure they earned their success the indie way, but they just have bad taste and appeal to people with same.

      Ever notice how Nate Ruess tends to sing about himself with extreme self-pity, as if the trials and travails of some marginal pop singer were even remotely interesting?

      And I was offended by the way the band lip-synced along to the backing track for the first tune. Dudes, that is obviously not live.

    • The first fun. album is great and not autotuned and awful. The band is actually made up of members of “indie” bands: the format, steel train, anathallo. The second feels like the band challenged themselves to make a Top 40 record as a joke and then actually got famous off of it. It’s very odd and disconnected from the band I saw play 3 years ago. They were great live and I ended up chatting with them after, seemed like cool people.

      I agree, though, that the new direction is very weird. Maybe the lead singer got sick of being in unknown bands for so long and just decided to say screw it to integrity and just make what he knew people would like.

      • Their “We Are Young” was my son’s unofficial high school graduation song, and my sister used it in a slide show of his life so far. It goes without saying that now it makes me cry.

      • People like march beats and earnest-appearing singing apparently?

        One thing that bothers me always about any band that I think puts me in a minority is how much effort I perceive goes into them looking a certain way while playing their instruments. If you need to work really hard on looking a certain way, that’s energy you are expelling not being better at your actual musical performance.

        It’s one thing to dance and move around while you play, but it’s another to be very overly theatrical. The whole band does this (and the music they play is really easy, which facilitates that) and I think that’s where the integrity thing gets me. You can play music you think people will like – I don’t think that’s an integrity issue. The issue is doing it so incredibly deliberately to exploit and manipulate the public’s consumption of a visual aspect of something aural-based.

        • That’s not to say you can’t put effort into visuals. I saw Sqaurepusher this weekend and he was INCREDIBLE but also he’s spend a lot of time working on LED light shows and playing while wearing an LED helmet. But this all goes into the difficulty of syncing music and lights (also playing while wearing a helmet!) so it’s forgivable. While just moving around on stage while being autotuned is not difficult and jarring and phony.

        • Like I said, this whole theatrical thing was not part of the band I saw 3 years ago. They were just a normal indie rock band that played their music and looked like they were having a good time.

          I’m not opposed to theatrical performances. A lot of bands lately have been using projections in their live performances that make for a cool experience (most recently: new order, stars, of montreal, explosions in the sky, feist).

          But yes, the new album does feel exploitive. It feels like a joke to me, not at all what I expected. I do like some of the songs, but the whole thing feels, to quote Holden Caulfield, phony.

      • @neverabadidea See previous entry, Sugar Ray.

        Right?

      • When I was “Young” (lol. you get it.) and still pretty confined to listening to Christian bands, Anathallo was the greatest band in the world. I’ve moved far away from that position, but I still remember their live shows in the early days being revelatory and fun. (hahahaha more fun. puns)

        • anathallo is great! I know their early stuff is a bit Christian, but Floating World and Canopy Glow are lovely “secular” albums. I managed to see them twice before they disbanded. Always a good show.

    • Oh my god I agree with you so much. The first time I heard “We Are Young” it was in a car on what was more or less a roadtrip with some friends. A few people in the car were really into it and sang along, and I just remember hearing the lyrics and noticing how musically simple the whole thing was and I just thought that it was so manufactured, like everything about the song, to appeal to people who don’t really listen to music but want to be able to say they listen to a “real band” or whatever.

    • Also, while I do enjoy fun. (I agree the newest album definitely has some big time misses. Auto-tune, ugghh), they are at the very least a bright spot in the utter wasteland that is pop music these days. Grading on the pop curve, they are actually pretty damn great. In my opinion.

  5. I thought it was going to be bot so good and it was good! I eat my words, everyone.

    I saw Louis do that exact monologue bit last week at his live show, and it was almost exactly the same but it still felt fresh and funny. Guy’s a pro.

  6. I liked Louis’s mess-ups in the horn-blowing skit. He would take his lips away from the horn before the sound effect had finished, which he visually was like, “fuck. screwed that up.” Then once he got that under control, he flubbed a line (or maybe the cue card wasn’t up or he couldn’t see it). Whatever the reason, I loved how he covered by just saying something vaguely along the lines of, “It’s like something or some shit or whatever. Y’know?” I really liked that ad-lib. Wish i could remember what he said exactly.

    • I thought his flubs were a result of him thinking this was a terrible skit and maybe kinda phoning it in. They were funny, and I don’t think he did it intentionally…but to me he seemed a bit “off” the whole skit

    • That was the requisite ten-minute-sketch-with-no-jokes for the evening, just so everyone would remember that they were, in fact, wacthing Saturday Night Live.

  7. How easy must it have been to come up with the Lincoln skit? “Let’s do a mini-episode of Louis, but replace Louis with a character from this upcoming blockbuster/Oscar-bait film!”

    The answer is who cares because it was AMAZING!

  8. I haven’t watched a full episode of SNL in…maybe ever? But this was on Hulu and I love Louis and some of the sketches were really great! Lincoln was obviously the best. It should be mandatory viewing for all fans of Louie.

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