SNL Digest: Louis CK/Rihanna (5/16/15)

(Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)

Louis CK and Rihanna close out #SNL40 with a strong finish.

SNL’s 40th season is over!  The last few weeks have been rough, but Louis CK’s past experiences with the show have been right in my comedy sweet spot.  CK is willing to go weird for a joke, and that served him well on the show this week.  Everyone appeared to be giving their all before everything goes on hiatus for the summer, and I can’t recommend skipping any sketches this episode.

What You Missed

Cold Open: Summer

I was really thrown off by SNL opening with a musical sketch with seemingly no political connection – and then Kate McKinnon’s Hilary Clinton showed up.  And kept going.  And hit so many weird wonderful notes.

“Bill told me to tell that to young males”

Louis CK Monologue

Louis CK is a great standup, and SNL always lets him do his thing for the monologue, as they should.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

This was the first post-monologue sketch of the night and it played like the 5 to 1.  It’s a little odd, but I ended up liking it.


This was a well-executed sketch.  Comic idea, heightened a few times to their natural conclusion, then done.


This was so brief I almost missed it, but then it recurred.

Rihanna: “Bitch Better Have My Money” / “American Oxygen”

This definitely just elevated what an SNL music performance can be.  That said, it seemed pretty clear that Rihanna wasn’t singing most of “BBHMM” (and didn’t really seem to care if we knew).

Weekend Update

  • The ISIS credits gag was perfectly executed
  • Taran Killiam’s Tom Brady bit with Michael and Colin was hilariously done
  • Pete Davidson!  Unlike Brooks Whelan last year, they’ve found a way to incorporate him as both a standup and a sketch performer.
  • I liked the resurrection of cut jokes, but I did not like the resurrection of Riblet.


Cecily did this Gemma character earlier in the season.  I liked it then and I liked it now.

Police Lineup

Like the Sprint sketch earlier in the show, good concept, executed well.

Forgotten TV Gems

Keenan’s Reese De’What has gotten a lot of use this season.  This was cute and didn’t stay on too long.

And that’s it for the season!  We’ll be back1 in the fall.

  1. presumably.  SNL is a TV institution at this point  

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About Ben Smith 252 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail:
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