Every week, SNL ends up having to cut a sketch or two for time — these segments are released online as “digital exclusives.” Sometimes, those segments are better than anything else that aired, like this short that was cut from the Season 40 finale, featuring Louis C.K. and Kyle Mooney’s pitiful fictional comedian Bruce Chandling.
This season of SNL has had some definite highs and definite lows (I’ve been seriously questioning the writers’ ability to deliver great material for the female hosts), and the last few episodes have only been consistent in their clumsiness. What began as a strong season has faltered in the final lap, but the promise of Louis C.K. hosting the Season 40 finale inspired some optimism thanks to both his comedic talents and his track record with SNL. Sadly, this week’s outing proved to be as so-so as the last few episodes, resulting in a finale that’s merely half-decent.
SNL frequently struggles with its opening monologues and the past few seasons have seen the show retreat to the same well on multiple occasions. That well usually involves the guest host breaking into song, which used to be funny until it became the go-to template for episodes where no one in the writer’s room could come up with a halfway decent idea. That’s why the season finale was right to just let guest host Louis C.K. perform 10 minutes of stand-up. It’s not just funny — it actually allows him to get the show warmed up by reminding us why we like this guy (and why he’s worthy of hosting SNL) in the first place.
The anniversary special well behind us, SNL Season 40 will draw to a close this coming weekend with Louis C.K. reclaiming the stage alongside Rihanna. The last few weeks have lost a bit of steam, but can the esteemed comedian bring us home? Find out with the first avenging promos of the SNL finale!
Every year at SNL brings with it a bit of turnover, and current senior member Kenan Thompson has frequently become a target of speculation. We've one week left in the iconic 40th season, though Kenan himself assures that his SNL exit lies much further in the future.
Reese Witherspoon has had an interesting time lately: the producer of Gone Girl, nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Wild, and the recent star of the not-so-funny Hot Pursuit. But Witherspoon is funny — she’s also immensely charming and versatile (obviously), and she knows how to light up a room. Unfortunately, she’s not really the star of this week’s SNL, suffering from the same fate that befell Scarlett Johansson in last week’s underwhelming episode. Throughout the bulk of the episode, Witherspoon is more like a supporting player than the star, and I’m growing concerned about how terrible these female-hosted episodes have been lately and what that says about SNL in general.
Last night’s generally unremarkable episode of SNL peaked early when it took advantage of its proximity to Mother’s Day to do something kind of remarkable. As part of her opening monologue, guest host Reese Witherspoon declared that the show was going to mark the occasion by bringing each cast member out with his or her mother...and then forcing them to apologize for their childhood transgressions.
SNL proved a bit less mightier than The Avengers this past weekend, in spite of a few inspired bits with host Scarlett Johansson, but with only two installments of the 40th anniversary season left, Reese Witherspoon is in Hot Pursuit. Watch her and Aidy Bryant ditch out for a gorgeous spring day in our first look at the year’s penultimate SNL!
Scarlett Johansson is probably the most interesting actress working right now — the reigning queen of sci-fi and ass-kicking Black Widow has smartly strayed from comedies in recent years, but let’s not forget that she’s got some genuine comedic chops. After all, this is the third time the actress has hosted SNL, and I kept my fingers crossed for the return of Fred Armisen for another hilarious Mike sketch. Did Johansson and SNL make my dreams come true? (Spoiler: No.) The episode is top heavy with comedy, but stumbles in the back-half, which is unfortunate given Johansson’s previous stints on the show. Read on for this week’s SNL sketch rankings.
It’s not coincidence that Scarlett Johansson guest hosted SNL on the same weekend that Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in theaters, so of course the show had to do a Marvel sketch of some kind. And unlike the previous Avengers sketches cooked up for Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner, this one is actually a pretty effective dig at the Marvel movie machine. More importantly, it’s very funny.