Hillary Busis, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
NEW YORK (EntertainmentWeekly.com)—Lesson learned: Don’t start your show out with Ebola jokes… then try to lighten the mood with a little 9/11 and Boston Marathon-based humor.
We shouldn’t fault Chris Rock for trying to be edgy. Edge, after all, is kind of his stock-in-trade—or at least it was, before the comedian retreated into the safe haze of Madagascar movies and Grown Ups 2. That said, critics have been lauding his latest film, Top Five, as a welcome return to form; the movie became one of the Toronto Film Festival’s hottest properties, sparking a bidding war that ended with Paramount paying around $12.5 million for distribution rights. It makes sense, then, that he’d try to shake things up on SNL by joking about taboo topics in his opening monologue.
The problem: Rock’s attempts at cutting-edge humor revolved around a bombing that happened a year and a half ago, the Freedom Tower (which has been in construction since 2008), the commercialization of Christmas (which Americans have been complaining about since, oh, forever), and gun control—an actually hot topic that led to his monologue’s only big laugh.