Saturday Night Live review: Pepsi, Bill O’Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Louis CK (videos)

Alec Baldwin's Donald TrumpTonight, Saturday Night Live is being hosted by Louis CK, but we know that the main event for the start of the show was going to be seeing the latest Donald Trump “highlight” courtesy of one Alec Baldwin. Indications before the show suggested that he would be returning, and the easy guess was that we’d get a spoof about Syria in some shape or form.

The first thing that did surprise us was the show moving to a makeshift “rally” in Kentucky — basically, this was a way to spoof the way that Trump often goes and appeals to his base rather than dealing with tough questions elsewhere. There were a few Syria jokes here and there, but this opening actually felt a little bit awkward. There were some cue card read failures both when it comes to Trump and some of the audience members at the rally, and this felt a little bit like Trump’s greatest hits.

In terms of great one-liners, we had a very good one about Melania Trump living in New York, one about the coal mines, and how apparently Trump is going to make sure that nobody ever needs a doctor again. If we are to get meta, this felt like the first time since Baldwin took on the character that he said “live from New York” his his own voice.

Overall, a decent start to the show, but there have been better Trumps.

Louis CK monologue – He literally started off his set with a “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke, and somehow went from there into a hilarious tear about racism, what animals think, how surprised moose are, are why some motels don’t even have a name, and laundry at fancy hotels.

The funny thing is that this set was both very edgy and very safe at the same time. CK took on some common comedic conventions, spinning them on his head, and delivering a consistent stream of laughs. Genius. Louis CK is a genius. No other way to change it.

Court Case – Apparently, eyelashes go a long way in the case. Somehow, Louis CK’s fake eyelashes were enough to lure people in order to do his bidding. He was manipulative, ridiculous, and sort-of-charming with how he disarmed every single person within the courtroom. There was no reason this should have been as funny as it was.

Scott – This was a music video that was all about the keyboard cowboys, the people who think that they are making a huge difference by posting a story or writing something on Twitter. The issue with the video was mostly that the premise was off — the video was mocking people who, in theory, were trying to show support. They absolutely could do more, but isn’t this better than being a Twitter troll or a force for evil?

Spring Fling – This started as a sort of Grease spoof featuring CK as Sam, the owner of a local diner who took advantage of a young woman. Things got very creepy with Sam hitting on a teenager as a married woman, at least before some really weird turns happened and the sketch ended without warning. Not a graceful end here.

Pepsi ad spoof – How did the Pepsi ad ever happen given how crazy and tone-deaf it was? That was the entire premise of this sketch, which featured the “director” realizing very quickly that things was going to be hated, but not having any time to fixes. This wasn’t hilarious, but obviously it was one that the show needed to do since this was the biggest pop-culture event of the week.

The Chainsmokers perform Click here to get our take on the music.

Weekend Update – First of all, really nice Don Rickles tribute in here from Michael Che, who gave a “you hockey pucks” shout-out at the very end. Really good jokes throughout about the Kendall Jenner video, about manatees, and about Colin Jost wearing a bulletproof vest when visiting Michael’s weed guy. Also, Kate McKinnon doing her take on the Ronaldo bust, which has been talked about a lot as of late, was pure genius.

Bill O’Reilly – It’s hard to do a great O’Reilly impression just because he doesn’t do a lot of obvious tics. We’re going to give the show a lot of credit for trying this, and having Baldwin play both Bill and Trump within the same sketch. It had some funny moments like “dog cocaine” as a sponsor, but it wasn’t especially memorable.

Birthday Party – Louis played the part of a lonely guy who hired a clown to show up at his birthday, and then forced him to perform his act in front of him. For this late in the night, this was a really funny pre-tape with some great physical gags — we also find it really funny that the show forced someone to dress up like Elsa just for two seconds.

Sectionals – Only CK could’ve made this wacky sketch funny since the foundation of it was him trying to find a creative way to sell fancy couches. This was random and irreverent, but we admit that the delivery was so strong we were hooked from start to finish.

Historical reenactment – Remember these rooms in museums that are meant to replicate how people lived many years ago? Well, we got courtesy of CK and McKinnon the story of two racist Polish immigrants — or, as Louie gave us, Borat mixed with a Bond villain. His accent was so terrible it was funny. He and Kate couldn’t keep it together AT ALL during this.

Overall, this was far from a perfect show, but we’ll give SNL some credit for sprinkling in some surprisingly funny late-night entries. Remember here that this is something we don’t often get during the April shows. Grade: B.

We’ll be providing you with our take on all of the various sketches tonight as the show goes on. Be sure to refresh the page for more!

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