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Review: Saturday Night Live - Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Dave Matthews Band

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 22nd 2009 12:38PM
joseph gordon levitt snl
I imagine it played out like this: Joseph Gordon-Levitt was at home last week, trying to mentally prepare for his first go as Saturday Night Live host by watching January Jones. Her performance turned out to be wooden and incredibly low energy and, consequently, the laughs were minimal. This struck fear into Mr. Gordon-Levitt's heart, and, terrified, he dropped the pint of Phish Food that he was eating in my imagination. "I won't let this happen to me," I bet he said. "I'm going to eat two fistfuls of Pixi Stix at 11:25 p.m. Saturday night and have someone inject me with a near lethal dose of adrenaline. I'll also wear a lot of vests."

And that's how Joseph Gordon-Levitt managed to exhaust a seated audience through sheer enthusiasm and volume alone. Maybe.

Here are some notable sketches from the evening (more clips as they are available from legit outlets).

Cold Open: This sketch featured Fred Armisen as Barack Obama, Will Forte as Hu Jintao and Nasim Pedrad as the screeching translator of Hu Jintao. I actually thought this sketch could have been funny if not for Pedrad's voice. Yes, that was the dealbreaker. I swear to God not all Chinese women sound like that. Pedrad's Kim Kardashian from last week was pretty amusing too, but also had a similar problem where it was surprisingly screechy. On another note, I was amused that in any other situation, Fred Armisen, the go-to any-ethnicity guy on the show, would probably have played Hu Jintao.

Monologue: Man, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not a singer, but bless his heart for giving it all he had (and doing three off-the-wall backflips). The whole night, he seemed like he was having the time of his life and, actually, it was a little unnerving at times. He wins for most enthusiastic host so far this season. Also, what was up with him singing through, like, the entire first hour and fifteen minutes of the show? I was starting to wonder if he was trying to break some sort of record and, even though his singing voice isn't exactly amazing, as 1:00 a.m. drew closer and closer, I kind of hoped that he would just sing the rest of the night and make it an inexplicably extra-musical night.

Palin 2012: Ridiculously simple but effective.

What Up With That: Unexpected highlight of this sketch: The random celebrity that has to silently sit there for no reason. The first time, it was James Franco, and now Mindy Kaling was the lucky celeb.

Weekend Update: Al Gore made another green NBC appearance (Gore appeared on 30 Rock) and did incredibly well. His straightforward delivery can sometimes be dangerous ground, but it totally worked with his "crazy" angle and made it super-funny. Hell, I didn't even mind the preachiness of it.

Jack Johnson's Mellow Show: I was not aware that Jack Johnson is still relevant. Then again, I didn't know that Dave Matthews was still relevant, but there he was. Dave Matthews' appearance as Ozzy Osbourne was kind of a dated reference, though I'll admit he came pretty close to nailing Ozzy's singing and screaming.

Digital Short: Two Worlds Collide Ft. Reba McEntire. Yet another amusing but groan-worthy musical Digital Short. I don't mind that Andy Samberg keeps revisiting the rap motif because he does it really well. I laughed, but I won't be downloading this tune any time soon. Maybe it'll start sounding catchy to me after a few more listens.

Now, I must close with a question. I don't have this problem, but I've been hearing from some people that they often confuse Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate. Is this an actual prevailing issue or do I just know weird people?

Do you occasionally confuse new girls Slate and Pedrad?
Yes.581 (63.0%)
No, that's never happened before.212 (23.0%)
Which one is Chris Elliott's kid?129 (14.0%)

(Psst. Abby Elliott is Chris Elliott's kid.)

[Watch episodes and clips of Saturday Night Live and other shows over at SlashControl.]

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- Cold open was much better than people are giving credit.
The heavy sarcasm helped sell the entire sketch.


- Worlds Collide: Featuring Reba McEntire video was another (see I'm On A Boat) in the continuing series of fantastic/hilarious rap videos from the Lonely Island boys.


- Angry Thanksgiving sketch was better the first time around when Will Ferrell did it


December 09 2009 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can disagree with Annie, but don't be mean.

My take on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's singing: he's putting it out there that he'd like to host an awards show.

November 24 2009 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Annie, you're an idiot. DMB isn't relevant? They problem sell more tickets than those 3 others combined. Do some research and try some good music for once.

November 23 2009 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kaycee's comment


November 23 2009 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chi-Town Girl

Forgive me for not realizing, Annie, that you are the knower of all that is relevant. Dave Matthews not relevant? Have you ever taken a look at ticket sales? Album sales? Just wondering. Let's be honest...who's really irrelevant here???

November 23 2009 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved What About that. I had to watch it again and now I can't get that tune out of my head.
I also love the drag Reba. That was hiliarious. Listen to the words.

November 23 2009 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first 30 minutes were so good, this episode had nowhere to go but down.

Random notes:

* Palin 2012 was funny but a little too obvious (at least if you've watched Letterman any time in the last few months).

* The digital short made absolutely no sense to me.

* Weekend Update was really short. Makes you wonder if the commentaries every week are just filler.

* The Thanksgiving dinner sketch would have been brilliant if any one of them yelled, "I drive a Dodge Stratus!"

Annie: I thought Joseph was a pretty good singer, but I do love your line about his vests!

P.S. I have no trouble telling Pedrad and Slate apart. Pedrad has talent; Slate has a lisp.

November 23 2009 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How to tell them apart? Easy one has a beak that a eagle would envy while the other doesn't. Now the tricky one is to tell Chris Elliots' kid apart from Emma on Glee.

November 23 2009 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Al Gore=Comedic Gold.

November 22 2009 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

obviously Annie, you dont know that DMB has been one of the top selling bands and concerts for the past several years. You really don't know what you're missing. You should try going to one of their concerts-You might see why they are so loved.

November 22 2009 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am able to usually tell Nasim and Jenny apart because Nasim actually seems to be funny, and has gotten more screen time so far. The only thing I remember from Jenny Slate is the f-bomb and attempting to replace Michaela Watkins as Hoda last week.

November 22 2009 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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