On the November 1 Saturday Night Live Chris Rock was bringing the show back to its roots in his opening monologue with edgy humor that used to be the mainstay of any Saturday Night Live broadcast. Relying on comedy that approached the boundaries of poor taste and, according to some, breached them. It has to be admitted that Chris Rock’s humor is not for everyone. Not quite an acquired taste but close, the comedian’s approach to topics of comedy has always been irreverent and “close to the bone.” Having the former cast member back on the show was obviously another move intended as a celebratory move for the SNL 40th anniversary series.
The show’s opening monologue was the best part of the show, although the Taylor Swift gag felt close to comic perfection and the bank robbery skit was funny, but confusing overall. The show’s prologue, dealing with the real life ebola quarantine violation of Kaci Hickox, who incidentally finally decided to abide by the initial measures imposed by the state of Maine, using Kate McKinnon and allowing to do what she does best, lampooning to her heart’s content. One bone of contention, it is hard to believe that no one made use of the clearly drawn on eyebrows of the ebola nurse in the skit. Certainly in the old days of Saturday Night Live, that would have been capitalized on.
Chris Rock followed the “open” with a monologue that, despite media making a big deal about his jokes about the Boston Marathon bombings. While that was the most controversial item in his act, in terms of time period, the comic was bringing it back with all his topical humor, on the night. Joking about the Freedom Tower, or by inference 9/11, gun control, Martin Luther King, and Jesus (along with his birthday). With all the “news” about a backlash for his gag based around the marathon, it is amazing that no one noticed that the 49 year-old one man comedy industry – writer, stand-up comic, actor, producer, director – and declared to be number five in a list of the greatest stand-up comic of all by Comedy Central – managed to make it through his entire monologue without uttering any variances of the “F” word on Saturday Night Live.
In fact, “t*tties” was the only potentially offensive word in his entire gag. So even though Chris Rock managed to keep the profanity out of his performance, he still kept it on the edge and it was funny, except to the anally retentive who refuse to see humor in anything. For all those who tuned into Saturday Night Live who did not find Rock’s opening act funny; what were they doing watching the show. Has SNL gotten so bland that cutting edge humor is no longer expected? Of course there could be another reason, perhaps there was nothing else on television and a few humorless folks decided to check out Rock’s delivery to pick at it. Just a thought, as all this excitement about the comic’s subject matter is nonsensical.
It is Chris Rock, the comic who makes fun of everything. Live with it, or change the channel next time you see him. Simple. Another possibility is that those who did not find Rock funny, tuned in to see Prince…formerly known as symbol…formerly known as Prince. Certainly his performance was worth tuning in for, if for no other reason than to clock the performers “tri” reflective sunglasses.
Sadly, the opening monologue, along with the Taylor Swift fake advert skit, was the best bit. Cue card reading is still a problem with the vast majority of the cast, and with guest Chris Rock which is a little bit more forgivable, although some of the “older” members of the Saturday Night Live troupe, like McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan, have seemingly perfected the art or doing their lines “live” off of cue cards. Unfortunately, while Rock’s open was bringing the show back to the old days, when controversy was courted on a Saturday night, the vast majority of the skits were not overly funny or edgy. Although the “GoProbe” commercial did feel like another trip down memory lane in terms of almost completely tasteless, but very funny, humor. Happy 40th, SNL and for those who missed Rock’s monologue is is down below. Offensive, or funny, thoughts on a postcard please…
Opinion by Michael Smith