Louis C.K. lacks tact in SNL monologue

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The monologue that Louis C.K performed when he hosted Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary finale this past week caused an array of responses from viewers and media outlets.

Comedy is supposed to tiptoe on the lines of social grace and tact—but this particular monologue entered into a realm of awkward distaste.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, the monologue was nine minutes detailing the differences between life in the seventies and life now. This centered on the idea of “mild racism,” Palestine and Israel disputes and, eventually, child molestation.

It was the latter that caused controversy. Most of the performance went smoothly and the audience responded well. His section on “mild racism” brought to the forefront of media an idea that has been ignored. He spoke about the inherited political incorrectness that spawned from growing up in the seventies.

“I have mild racism,” C.K. said. “It’s benign. It’s unaggressive.”

He then offered examples of said mild racism. One was a situation where he would be in a hospital and if his doctor seemed Chinese or Indian, he would feel better about his situation.

This portion of the monologue seemed friendly, humorous, and enlightening.
He went on to joke about Palestine and Israel by comparing the disputes to the bickering of his children. He, as a father, represented America. This bit was also reacted to kindly by the audience.

Up until this point, the bits related to sociopolitical problems in a metaphorically laced humor.

However, it took an awkward turn when he brought up child molestation. This bit began with an anecdote about his experience growing up with a town child molester, then snowballed into his analysis of why someone would risk being a child molester.

“From their point of view it must be amazing, for them to risk so much,” C.K. said.

During these last few minutes of the monologue, he repeatedly said that the views were of the child molesters and not his own.

Considering that the opening monologue was nine minutes long and most of it was bearable, humorous and followed a steady thought flow, the bit was about 80 percent successful. But those last three minutes dragged on in discomfort and left people shocked and offended.

Comedians are known to push the boundaries and handle topics that seem taboo to the common conversations of daily life, but this one entered into an area of gray that didn’t seem fit the time nor place.

Saturday Night Live has dealt with negative public response to their pieces before, so they’ll survive this possible blemish, and C.K. made a comment about this probably being his last show. Twitter users responded most rapidly about their discontent with the monologue, some tweeting that it was the worst SNL monologue ever.

The monologue was performed as if it was his own stand-up and not the opening to an award-winning television show. If it weren’t the SNL 40th anniversary finale, and maybe if it were his own performance, then the bit may have had more time to develop into something funnier and far less uncomfortable.

Update: the article was updated with the video that the article talks about. 12:05 p.m.5/24/2015