SPECIAL EDITOR’S NOTE (11/9/2017): The Following Review was Written Well before the news about Louis CK’s–shall we say–“Misdeeds” was revealed. Said Misdeeds will NOT affect the review in any way, as these were thoughts I had written several years earlier before re-posting them into a blog. Time marches on, and so do we……….a shame, really, I always thought Louie had what it took to be the Next Carlin.
This guy doesn’t need an introduction………well, except maybe this one…
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at Louie…
Louis CK/Rhianna (Original Airdate: 5/16/2015)
SUMMER WITH HILLARY: A Show stopping number to Start the show that’s NOT the monologue…how often does THAT Happen these days? As usual, Kate shows us why she’s a force to be reckoned with; only this time she’s cranked Hillary’s ambition levels to 11. At the same time, remember last year when I mentioned that the (then) oversized cast could’ve lent to a number of “Not gonna Phone it in Tonight” style moments? Well…better late than never, we actually have one that utilized about 95% of the cast + another Hammond cameo. The energy was great from everybody else, Kate remained Great, Hammond was subtle & brief, it all just blended together so easily. With the exception of Kate having to dial down the crazy a little next time, This was about as close to a perfect opening as it could be…which makes me fear that once again, it will be all downhill from here for the rest of the show.
SCORE: 9 out of 10 Gingham Picnic Blankets needed for Summer Outings.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*SIGH*)…Have I mentioned how fickle Hindsight is? ‘Cause it is. I guess the Strangest part of this opening is either how upbeat everybody is, or how 100% certain they thought HRC would run away with everything—and this was only 2 years ago. I like to equate this sketch to a scene from one of my favorite childhood movies growing up; “Fun & Fancy Free”—particularly the “Mickey & the Beanstalk” segment. There’s a scene at the beginning where the golden harp sings about what a lovely day it is in the aptly named “Happy Valley” until the Giant comes in, steals the harp, and then everything becomes immediately desolate in her absence. Unrelated; I’m surprised nobody has tried to make a mash-up of the song to footage of “Mad Max: Fury Road”, but I’ve clearly gone off-topic, moving on…
MONOLOGUE: Let’s be honest, after last week’s Mother’s Day show, Louie is actually coming into this as an underdog so to speak. Be that as it may, it’s still Louie doing very solid stand-up with very little to complain about—give or take a nitpick or two. The Racism & Child Molester jokes will inevitably rub a few cry-babies (and Lenny Pickett in the background, apparently) the wrong way, but I still found it funny. Like most comedy, it’s all in the eye of the beholder—especially if you have a thick enough skin to appreciate the humor and less the shock value. Also, the Molester jokes have been a part of Louie’s repertoire for years, and nobody complained then. It wasn’t the best of his stand up, but As Mel Brooks once said, “Cop a Walk, it’s alright.”
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Herberts from “Family Guy”.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A week before this aired, Reese Witherspoon hosted the Mother’s Day show, and there was a genuinely great monologue where the cast brought out their respective mothers, only for the mothers to embarrass the cast with some home movies of them as kids—Still another monologue I wish I added to the list—I’m probably going to have to open an annex at some point. Anyway, Because sentimentality often scores high in my book, Louie really did come into this show as an underdog…even more so considering the subject matter of this monologue. I’m not a prude by any means; but then again, if Baldwin came back after the infamous “Canteen Boy” sketch, then at least there’s some precedent for Louie to come back after making jokes like these……Not that this isn’t Grade-A material, it just might be a Little uncomfortable to others even though this is one of my personal favorite Monologues in show history.
SHOEMAKER & THE ELVES: Anderlette’s (sometimes flaming) sketch characteristics + The Weakest performers on the show + a non-ending divided by this being the one sketch Louie seems ashamed to do every time he’s on = Whatever the hell this was…something I’d rather call “50 Shades of Elves”. My biggest bone of contention involves (surprise, surprise) Kenan’s character, largely because I’m honestly not sure if he was trying to do an “Elf” voice or a “Mincing” voice or both, even with the subject matter…good GOD, the subject matter. The only thing keeping me from giving this one an F-U to Anderlette is indeed the 4th wall non-ending, Louie’s speech & then Not!Appealing to the audience was just bizarre enough to actually make me chuckle a little—even more bizarre is that according to some sources who attended this show’s Dress Rehearsal, there actually WAS supposed to be a Part 2 to this…which probably would’ve made this a little more palatable on the whole. Otherwise, Anderlette (or whoever unleashed this one on us) has a lot of deep seeded issues they need to resolve over the summer.
SCORE: 3 out of 10 S&M editions of the “Elf on the Shelf”.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m still not 100% sure James Anderson & Kent Sublette wrote this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were involved somehow.
THIS IS HOW I TALK: Louie probably gave the most non-monologue effort of the night here; he carried the hell out of this one by co-opting an otherwise stereotypical black voice, which initially was a pretty good shock, but—as is the way with some of Jonesy’s sketches—the moment had to be squandered away by stumbling all over the place…right up until the end where we think it gets flipped around, only for Jonesy to nail the coffin shut. I would probably have enjoyed this a little better if the whole “White Guy pretends to be black” thing hasn’t already been done a number of times before…such as here…and here…and let’s not forget here……but I’m sure those were just simply coincidences in comparison. Nevertheless, Louie powers through this one the best that he can.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 (*INSERT TYLER PERRY JOKE HERE*)
EDITOR’S NOTE: I couldn’t’ve been more wrong about this sketch, this was probably one of the funniest sketches in recent years, but ONLY because someone like Louie could pull it off. Yeah, Jones was a little awkward in her delivery, but considering Louie gives it his all here, I’m willing to overlook that.
REVISED SCORE: 8 out of 10
BUY WOOD PRODUCTS: Thank God this was a set of ads instead of just one, because the first one by itself might’ve been a far too brief of a non-sequitur. I guess the big takeaway from this is this—aside from the fact that we should (DUH) Buy Wood Products—is the fact that they’re actually able to make their joke in the length of 30 seconds or less, which is pretty hard to do these days. But for the most part, they do it just OK—especially Louie’s costume & Kyle’s hauntingly falsetto. Both spots might’ve been better if it actually felt like 30 seconds instead of 15. I know I say “Less is More” a lot, but at the same time don’t sell yourself too short.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Jobs I never wanted to do so I could really be……a LUMBERJACK! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of…………Nah, I’m not gonna do the whole bit.
Colin’s Best: Bush Co-creating ISIS, Banned Apple Watch
Michael’s Best: The Edge (simply based on the dumbness of the joke), Taco Bell
Commentaries: Hi Ashton…uh, I mean Tom Brady…actually, to be fair this was like a 180 from the opening from January; now Taran seems to be channeling a mix between Eddie Haskell & a Male Stepford Wife—which is actually kind of a plus…as was Jost’s squee-ish interjecting. Pete fails to disappoint (especially on his “how did I get on?” run near the end), and regardless of whether he comes back next year or not, this is certainly a 21st birthday he won’t soon forget. Finally, Just when you think we see an actual genuine moment between Jost & Che to wrap things up, Bobby has to remind us of his one and only flaw in the armor…not that he didn’t try, but seriously, Riblet only worked the first time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When this first aired and I first reviewed it, I had been running sort of a mini-game that tracked the progress of Jost & Che since they were relative newcomers to the show—For reasons I’m now questioning, I thought Colin Jost was the more Dominant anchor than Michael Che during this season, but then a few years pass; and eventually, we figure out that both Jost & Che are as much formidable equals as they are Polar opposites. During Season 40, there was a lot of skepticism as to whether they would work as a duo or not; but by the time this show aired, any skepticism that was had during this year towards Both anchors should now officially be set aside. They Both know what they’re doing, they Both make us laugh/think in their own ways, and they both made Update Watchable Again. Yes, very much like how Norm was a welcome distraction in Season 20, Jost & Che gave the convoluted Season 40 at least One thing to look forward to watching each week…even when the rest of the show clearly isn’t. Without hyperbole, I hope their tenure as co-anchors is a long one…until the inevitable time when both of them get their own talk shows; in which case, Jost will be probably be waiting in the Wings for the Tonight Show in 10 years, with Che taking over for Seth Meyers…just watch.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 WLBZ’s (NBC in Bangor, ME…Home of Maine Justice…and my apologies for reminding everybody of a far more superior sketch)
GEMMA: Again? Really? And not only that, but Cecily Traded “The Rock” for Louie? I know it’s just a sketch, but that’s just impossible in ANY reality (Then again, TV has always taught me a Fat guy can get a Hot Wife). Aside from a new Location, a new boytoy (or Man Toy?) for Cecily to exploit, and a new massive supply of food that she dares Kenan & Vanessa to eat (and they reluctantly do), it’s the Same. Damn. Thing. As. Last. Time…and didn’t need to be done a 2nd time in the first place.
SCORE: 1 out of 10 Recycling Bins the Writers must’ve dumpster dived through.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Well, I can’t talk about This sketch without talking about the first time they did it, so pardon me a sec…(*THUMBS THROUGH ARCHIVES*)…OK, the first time they did this sketch was when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hosted a couple months earlier in March 2015; and I Quote: “This has to be the “Anderlette” sketch for the night. You’ve got Obnoxious characters, Cecily with an indeterminate accent (despite being identified as British), Vanessa barely doing anything worthwhile, and a Disappointing resolution. I’m not sure if Cecily is trying to do a proper British accent, more like Cockney meets Australian. The only positives I can think of for this is Kenan acting somewhat normal, and Cecily in an obvious Push-up Bra. I can understand that there are people like this in real life, but that doesn’t mean we should give them any attention…Fuck You, Anderlette.” I wish there was an easier way to find out who wrote these sketches without circling over writer’s Twitter feeds, because hitting the same target over and over (Especially if they DIDN’T write the sketch) gets boring after a while.
POLICE LINEUP: This was actually a semi-unique idea, mixing police work with acting auditions. And having witnessed a number of auditions first-hand in my lifetime, everybody involved plays their parts as well as any other auditioning actor, if not a little too hammy in certain places. If I had to choose, Beck did it best out of the 4, then Kyle, then Taran, and finally (and unfortunately) Louie in Last Place. Certainly one of the more above average pieces tonight, if not a little pretentious.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 lines in the Miranda Warning.
FORGOTTEN TV GEMS: Kenan notwithstanding (give or take a good line or two), this was FAR better than the other TV Gem from Early in the season with Sarah Silverman…largely because I’m a sucker for REAL retro homages (Especially people speaking in “50s voices”). Kate & Aidy pretty much give us the 1950s version of “Dyke & Fats” minus the cop aspect while Louie & Bobby are there to watch/be confused by the turn of events. Even the rather nonsensical 180 Kate does at the end—which despite being WTF-y, still made me laugh the most in this. Otherwise, it’s kitschy, it’s campy, it has Kenan In it, Louie has a hard time acting, so it remains a pretty neutral and disappointing way to end the season.
SCORE: 5 out of 10 hours a day I watch “COZI TV” (check your local listings)
+1 for Louie w/the NYPD & the Horses they rode in on
+1 for getting “Hilariously” hit by a Cab
+1 The Skeleton at the 30 Rock Lobby
+1 for Louie playing Poker with the Crew
+1 for the Shout out at the end to Dave
And even though I’m not a fan, I gotta give +1 for the visuals on Rihanna’s 2nd song…makes you think.
FINAL SCORE: 58 out of 90 (64.4% Watchable)
REVISED SCORE: 60 out of 90 (66.7% WATCHABLE)
FINAL THOUGHTS: It looks like we’ve finally discovered the show’s central theme for the entire season with this episode; Have an absolutely strong Opening sketch and/or Monologue, and then watch as it becomes a disjointed (but still somewhat positive) mess in the end. It also doesn’t help that Louie wound up being afflicted with what most 3-time hosts wind up doing…getting a little too cocky (Paging: Jack Black & Jon Hamm). Again, this was not “Terrible”, or even “Bad”; but as far as finale episodes go, this was about 3 hairs above average…it might’ve gone over better if SOMEBODY wound up saying goodbye tonight, but just like the Cubs we have to “wait til next year”. If you think about it, this was actually a fitting bookend to the year, considering Chris Pratt’s show kinda felt the same way in retrospect…so…yay for that (/sarcasm).
REVISED THOUGHTS: Little did we realize that this episode helped set the wheels in motion for a 2 year (and counting?) improvement across the board for the show—of course, it also helped that they were starting to gear up for an election cycle that few want to remember, but none of us will ever forget. I wasn’t kidding when I said that Season 40 could be best described as “Schizophrenic”; it seemed as though they would switch back & forth between Good and Bad shows with very little consistency. Also, if you re-look at the beginning of my list on Season 20, you’ll see that Season 40 had a remarkably high number of similarities between the two years—but there was at least one difference; Season 40 still had some effort behind it despite some of its flaws, and even though this episode showcased that effort at the buzzer, it was still marked by some as a turning point and a stepping stone that helped make the next season (and by extension, this current season) a vast improvement.
TOMORROW: “Now Batting…Num-bah Two…Deh-Rick Je-Tah…Num-bah Two…”