Last time Louis C.K. hosted Saturday Night Live in November 2012, it was arguably the most-anticipated hosting gig of the season. He sent out a stirring email about New York City’s collective will in the face of Hurricane Sandy. He was coming off the incredibly successful independent digital release of his stand-up special, which confirmed his status as one of the world’s biggest standups. And he did a great job, opening with a monologue straight from his act but sliding into the show’s typical material very nicely. The best-remembered sketch was probably a collision of Abraham Lincoln and C.K.’s own self-titled program.
He also showed up as “Australia’s Steve Zahn,” as the bored guardian of a mountain pass, and as Kate McKinnon’s chosen mate at the end of a long night. The best quality in any SNL host is being game for anything, and C.K. threw himself into the bits with near-total disregard for his standup persona.
Now, the question is, can he beat himself at his own game on March 29th? I think C.K. would be the first to admit how terrified he was for his first go-round. He mentioned that he hated the “Mountain Pass” sketch but insisted they do it just for the character-building experience of performing in something he didn’t like. Often, the second go-round when guest hosting is a vast improvement on the first: Melissa McCarthy and Jon Hamm, two recent SNL favorites, come to mind as guest hosts who built on their well-received first appearances. Here’s hoping the same goes for Louie (and that he turns out to be the musical guest as well, since no one else has been announced so far).