The overall theme for tonight’s show is to make the host Joseph Gordon-Levitt “do voices.” regardless of his talent, looks or comic timing, the SNL writers seemed determined to make JGL sound like an idiot.
I noticed the voices around the 2nd sketch. After JGL put his clothes back on, he does the Spanish voice, then he does a 20’s Film Noir voice, an over the top teenage boy, and a white rapper guy. So many awful voices, it was hard to focus. Okay, so those are the notes that I have for the host.
On to the best and worst of the night!
The London Pub: This is a sketch that has been done several times in the past, and it works for me every time. A group of friends start to reminisce, and each tells a story, but the story always ends with an awkward confession. This time we get a little Mumford & Sons singing the Beatles. I was amazed that NBC could afford the rights to the song (and that is probably the reason I cannot legally find a clip of it anywhere).
Charicature P.I.: I include this because it is so SNL. What a random and well-planned sketch. Imagine your private detective does not take pictures, but instead draws you pictures. Who thinks of this? SNL thinks of this.
The Finer Things: I usually hate anything Keenan Thompson is in, and this was very close to falling into that category. I included it because this was an ironic take on being a hard-core rap artist. With songs about Cristal and clothing lines like FuBu and Phat, to be a super-rich rap artist means to love “artisanal cheeses” and go “quail hunting.”
Cross-Dressing: It seems like the hail Mary for SNL is to make the host cross-dress. Hilarious? No. Coupled with a song with unintelligible lyrics, the whole sketch was a mess.
Monologue: I don’t usually count the monologue as a stand-alone segment, but this time I couldn’t help myself. Playing off of his last hosting gig, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt danced to “Make Him Laugh” from Singing in the Rain. This time, he decided to strip. There are many words I would use to describe JGL, but sexy is not one of them. His gyrating made me uncomfortable.
Weekend Update actually did something funny. In a new segment called “What Are You Doing?” Seth Meyers showcased his sarcasm. And he was in top form. In what amounts to a caustic rant, Meyers was genuinely enjoyable. But not great. Let’s not forget that this segment used to be called “Really!?! with Seth and Amy,” and it was much better in the past. But still, I give props when they are due.
On to the musical guest!
Oh Mumford & Sons, how I love you. I challenge you to listen to any song and not close your eyes while nodding your head gently to the music. Part bluegrass, part rock, part brilliance, Mumford & Sons played “I Will Wait” and “Below my Feet” from their new album Babel. I was amazed at how flawlessly the harmonies fit together and how each song builds to an emotional breakdown. I am utterly biased and think every human being should give this band a listen.
The best moment of the whole show goes to Bobby Moynihan in the monologue. As one of the back-up strippers, when the whole group takes off their stripper-vests, Moynihan reveals a 2nd vest. Brilliant.
Kate McKinnon: Girl you were all over this show. Strong work as Ann Romney.
Taran Killam: The faces you made behind JGL’s back in the Hypnotist sketch were hilarious. Stripping down to your underwear TWICE in one night is no easy feat. Neither is face humping a coworker. So good job.