Everyone's Freaking Out Over Louis C.K.'s Opening Monologue on "SNL"
Yes, he went there.
On this week's episode of Saturday Night Live, C.K. gave a nine-minute monologue that touched on the comedian's upbringing, first admitting that he still has ingrained "mild racism" and then drawing groans from the audience when he began joking about child molesters.
The comedian pointed out that while he grew up relatively recently, in his 1970s childhood it was still common for people to make openly racist remarks without fear of social retribution. C.K. gave some examples of the kind of mild racism that growing up in that time brought with it — for example, he'd definitely think it was unusual to see four black women running a pizzeria, while if he visited a doctor who was Chinese or Indian, he'd say "oh, good."
The comedian also brought up hoodies, mentioning that if a white guy walked into a convenience store late at night with one on, he'd assume it was an "athlete." But if it was a black guy, C.K. said, his inner monologue would change to assuring himself he wasn't a racist.
Thinks got even darker when C.K. turned the subject to child molestation, which like racism, the comedian said didn't generate nearly as much concern several decades ago.
C.K. delivered a series of jokes about pedophiles, at one point going on at length about the risk they were taking to satiate their depraved needs:
That last line was met with a combination of laughter and grumbles from the audience, especially when C.K. began comparing pedophilia to his love of Mounds chocolate bars. At times, the audience sounded pretty uncomfortable.
C.K. is known for going really dark during his routines, but this was pretty far even for him. The comedian seemed to realize that he might have gone too far, quipping "How do you think I feel? It's my last show, probably," before signing off on his monologue. The bit seemed ill-timed, given that just over a month ago the show misfired on another molestation-themed sketch.
Fans on Twitter were ultimately split between whether C.K.'s jokes about sexual abuse crossed the line or were just the latest byproduct of his dark genius.
According to Deadline, a promo featuring cast member Kate McKinnon and C.K. in which McKinnon said he would never be hosting the show again "seemed to take him by surprise," though it was ultimately unclear whether it was a joke. But C.K. has a more than two-decade history of working with the show and many of its key performers, so a backlash that might sink a lesser comedian seems unlikely to sabotage his relationship with NBC.
Watch the full monologue below: