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Date Posted: 17:00:24 06/24/17 Sat
Author: that he did WAS damn impressive
Subject: JGL can be exhausting in how hard he tries sometimes, but that first monologue
In reply to: Stooge 's message, "Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Dave Matthews Band - November 21, 2009 (S35 E7)" on 11:10:27 06/24/17 Sat

>Here's the original review I posted back when this
>episode first aired.
>
>---------------------------------------
>
>RATINGS SYSTEM
>***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
>**** = Great
>*** = Average
>** = Meh
>* = How'd this get past dress?
>
>
>Cold Opening - President Obama and Chinese President
>Hu Jintao
>• Ugh… the return of Fred’s on-going non-attempt
>to sound remotely like Barack Obama. And would it kill
>them to do a cold opening that’s NOT political for a
>change?
>• Will Forte playing a Chinese man is funny in
>itself. Obviously, if Fred wasn’t Obama (well, he
>definitely isn’t, but you know what I mean), you
>KNOW he would’ve played Will’s role as the Chinese
>president.
>• Nasim didn’t look very convincing as a Chinese
>woman, either, but I guess she got the role since
>she’s certainly more ethnic-looking than the rest of
>the female castmembers. She still did fine with the
>accent.
>• I’m starting to notice Nasim has a very...
>distinctive, naturally high-pitched voice that may be
>hard for her to disguise in-character. For example,
>when she played Barbara Walters and Kim Kardashian,
>who both have lower-pitched voices, she still made
>them both sound high-pitched. However, her voice is
>perfect for when she plays people like Kathy Griffin
>or Charlyne Yi.
>• Will’s angry yelling when asking Fred to “do
>sex to him”, then leaning over was hilarious.
>• I was wondering during the whole sketch if they
>would let Nasim deliver the LFNY since she was doing
>most of the talking here, and they did. Good for her.
>I was somewhat surprised since this is only her
>seventh episode and she’s just a featured player.
>But then I remembered Abby said LFNY last season in
>only her fifth episode (Neil Patrick Harris/Taylor
>Swift) after getting virtually no airtime her first
>four shows, so that was far more surprising. Nasim has
>already been getting consistently-decent airtime so
>far this season, so her getting the LFNY so early
>isn’t that shocking in retrospect. Now if Jenny
>Slate said it, I would’ve fell out of my chair...
>Stars: ***
>
>
>Monologue - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
>• The “If you haven’t seen that movie, don’t
>worry, your girlfriend/grandma has” bits at the
>beginning were funny.
>• I was looking forward to this monologue from the
>start since I knew JGL would be good, but then as soon
>as he mentioned opening with a big number, I had to
>groan a little bit. And the musical number did start
>out a little slow at first. However, by the time he
>was carried to the next set and his energy really
>kicked in, I got really into this and his performance
>ended up blowing me away.
>• JGL’s whole song-and-dance bit may not have been
>laugh-out-loud funny (the parts with Bobby hitting him
>out of nowhere were hilarious, however), but it was
>VERY entertaining, especially the backflips he did off
>the set walls. JGL went all out and gave this
>everything, and it payed off well.
>• By the end of the monologue, I was like “January
>who?” Last week’s disastrous episode is already
>becoming a faint memory thanks to JGL’s fantastic
>performance here.
>Stars: ****
>
>
>An SNL Movie Trailer Re-Cut - Palin 2012
>• I was very surprised to see the “SNL trailer
>re-cut” segment return. They only did this once
>before, and it was all the way back in 2006 with the
>re-cut Apocalypto trailer in the Annette Bening
>episode. I’ve only seen that one once which was back
>in the original live airing, as NBC never re-aired
>that Annette Bening episode for some reason.
>• I remember wondering back then in 06 if the “SNL
>Movie Trailer Re-Cut” thing would be a new recurring
>segment like the Digital Shorts. Why’d it take them
>3 years to bring it back?
>• This was really clever and turned out to be a lot
>more original and creative than the Apocalypto one
>(which just used Mel Gibson anti-Semitic quotes as
>subtitles for the characters in the real trailer -
>that was still pretty funny, though).
>• The scene with “Vice President” Glenn Beck was
>great as well.
>Stars: ****
>
>
>Sketch - Secret Word
>• Ah, SNL sure seems to love doing retro-gameshow
>sketches these days. Not complaining, just making an
>observation.
>• When I saw Jenny sitting at the table at first, I
>was hoping this would be a big comedic role for her,
>but it just ended up being yet another minor
>supporting character. I can’t help but wonder if
>Jenny’s feeling a little jealous of Nasim’s
>airtime yet.
>• I was interested in this sketch at first, until
>Kristen Wiig walked on as yet ANOTHER new hammy, loud,
>wacky, annoying, attention-starved character that’s
>no different at all from any of her other 473,268
>hammy, loud, wacky, annoying, attention-starved
>characters. Ugh... Funny that Kristen’s first line
>in this sketch was “Look at me!”, which is
>virtually what she’s yelling when she plays all her
>other recurring characters similar to this.
>• As if we didn’t have enough proof that Kristen
>must be the lovechild of Mo Collins and Molly Shannon
>- Kristen’s character in this sketch reminded me A
>LOT of a god-awful character Molly played once, late
>in her tenure. It was when Charlie Sheen hosted in
>2001, and the sketch took place on a soap opera set
>and Molly played an overly-hammy, hyperactive, loud,
>wacky, attention-starved theatrical actress with red
>hair. Sounds like a certain someone’s character in
>this Secret Word sketch, doesn’t it?
>• At least JGL was funny as the Latin crooner with a
>few funny lines and Bill Hader got some good laughs as
>the host, like the Vietnam line at the beginning and
>the way he frustratingly said “Uh, I’ll... tell ya
>when to start...” to Kristen.
>• The calm, deep, whispery voice-over announcing
>“The secret word is _____” amused me for some
>reason.
>Stars: **½
>
>
>Digital Short - Andy & Reba
>• Another musical/rap short with Andy.
>• It was kinda strange seeing Kenan co-starring in a
>musical digital short, his very first one if I’m not
>mistaken. In fact, I can’t remember Kenan ever
>having a lead role in any digital short before,
>musical or not. But he actually made me laugh here and
>I liked him in this. The premise of Kenan being
>mistaken for Reba MacEntyre was silly enough that it
>actually worked, and his usual mugging and bug-eyed
>facial expressions actually fit in this short instead
>of detracting from the sketches he usually does those
>facial expressions in. His southern/country accent
>cracked me up as well.
>• The lyrics were hilarious, with a couple of lines
>I’m surprised made it past the censors like
>“I’ll never leave your sweet balls blue” and
>“I made him suck my dirty c___”.
>• Several parts of the tune were very catchy as well.
>Stars: ****
>
>
>Sketch - The Mellow Show with Jack Johnson
>• How random of them to bring this back. This was
>originally a forgettable post-WU sketch that was done
>in the Ashton Kutcher episode two seasons ago in 07-08.
>• I wasn’t excited about seeing this again at
>first, but this ended up actually being a lot funnier
>than the first installment. Having Bill co-host as
>Dave Matthews this time helped as well (in the
>previous one, Hader-as-Matthews was just one of the
>guests instead of the co-host). He looked exactly like
>Dave Matthews from certain angles.
>• Every time they do this sketch, I always easily
>picture Adam Sandler in this exact same bit if SNL
>ever did this sketch in the early 90’s. I think
>it’s because of the Sandler-esque wig Andy wears as
>Jack Johnson (also when he plays Kevin Federline), the
>guitar he carries, and the high falsetto, sing-songy
>voice he uses also reminds me of some of Sandler’s
>characters. I wonder if Andy can do an impression of
>Sandler himself.
>• JGL did a good Jason Mraz impression and he
>sounded just like him when he sang that song. It was a
>lot better than Kutcher’s John Mayer impression in
>the previous installment.
>• Andy and Bill’s “foot five” came out of
>nowhere and was priceless. You could tell Andy was
>trying not to laugh after that.
>• Since Bill was playing Dave Matthews and Matthews
>himself was the musical guest tonight, I wondered who
>he would play in this sketch. Having him show up as
>Ozzy Osbourne was really clever, and he pulled off a
>perfect and hilarious impression of him. His insulting
>remarks to Hader-as-Matthews were funny as well.
>• The parts with Andy showing pictures of his pets
>throughout the sketch are still kinda dumb, though.
>However, at least his pets didn’t die like in the
>first installment.
>Stars: ***½
>
>
>Sketch - What Up With That?
>• Oh, geez... I loved this sketch the first time,
>but I was worried they would ruin it by making it
>recurring due to its popularity. However, I did not
>expect them to make it recurring THIS soon. They just
>did the sketch three episodes ago! If SNL had to bring
>this back, couldn’t they have waited until
>mid-season when the original installment wouldn’t
>have been so fresh in viewers’ minds?
>• I’m very mixed on my feelings about this
>returning. On one hand, this wasn’t as great as the
>original sketch, which comes as no surprise to me. I
>mean, you can’t really replicate a sketch like the
>first What Up With That and just repeat most of the
>same jokes; the first installment worked because it
>was so random and unexpected and silly, and it stands
>better being left as a one-off. Bringing this back was
>almost as absurd as when they did Forte's hilarious
>original Dancing Coach sketch a second time. On the
>other hand, some of the repeated bits tonight were
>still somewhat entertaining and fun the second time
>around: Kenan’s manic energy, the catchy theme song,
>the random special guests, and of course, Jason
>Sudeikis dancing (however, the camera didn’t seem to
>linger on his hilarious dancing as much tonight).
>• This also had a few funny new additions I liked,
>like the singing choir, Bobby as a tap-dancing Jake
>“The Snake” Roberts, JGL as the bizarre singer
>from the future (although he looked more like he was a
>singer from 1985), and Bill pretending to be pissed
>about his interview being bumped at the end, only to
>jokingly smile afterwards. Oh, and this one didn’t
>have Kristen Wiig, so there’s another plus!
>• And hey, Nasim and Jenny can now proudly say they
>each have their first recurring character: uh,
>Background Singing Lady. I guess that’s SOMETHING
>for them to be happy about...
>• So overall, they didn’t quite “ruin” What Up
>With That like I was expecting by doing a second one,
>but it still wasn’t really necessary. I hope they
>just leave it at this and don’t do anymore future
>installments, or if they do, at least wait until more
>than THREE episodes.
>Stars: either **½ or ***, I can't decide yet
>
>[2017 UPDATE: In a later installment of this
>sketch from the Ed Helms episode in 2011, the two
>"Background Singing Lady" characters (as well as all
>the other background recurring characters in this
>sketch like Sudeikis' track suit dancing guy) would be
>given names and would actually speak, though by that
>point, Jenny Slate was gone and Vanessa Bayer had
>replaced her in this sketch.
>Also: "I hope they just leave it at this and don’t
>do anymore future installments, or if they do, at
>least wait until more than THREE episodes." Not only
>would they of course do many more future installments,
>but guess when the next one was? THREE episodes
>later.]

>
>
>Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Al Gore
>• Best jokes: Light smokers, Bush, subway sex abuse,
>turtle, Kosher soup kitchen, NYSE
>• I was a bit surprised to see a second appearance
>from Al Gore tonight, but this was most likely the
>REAL reason he showed up in this episode in the first
>place, and his earlier appearance in What Up With That
>was probably just a last-minute addition.
>• Gore’s appearances on SNL have always been funny
>and tonight’s commentary was alright. However, it
>reminded me a little too much of one of John
>McCain’s previous Update appearances. But Gore had
>some good lines tonight like the stuff about the
>popular vote, some of his out-crazy suggestions, and
>his line about having a bully pulpit on a fourth place
>network.
>• Wow, that’s it? Shortest Update in the longest
>time I can remember. I liked that, though; it was
>refreshing. Ever since around the time Amy Poehler
>left midway through last season and Seth went solo,
>they started padding out each Update by cramming in
>three, sometimes even FOUR guest commentaries. And the
>commentaries are always so wildly hit-or-miss; a weak
>commentary or two will bring down the overall
>grade/rating of a Weekend Update, even if everything
>else on Update that night was great. They should go
>back to regularly doing more Updates like tonight:
>mostly just strong jokes from Seth and only 1-2 guest
>commentaries.
>Stars: ***½
>
>
>Sketch - Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinner
>• Oh, you have got to be kidding me. I NEVER would
>have expected this once-great sketch from last
>Christmas with Hugh Laurie to be brought back again.
>Seriously, is there anything that SNL won’t make
>into a recurring sketch?
>• This couldn’t hold a CANDLE to last season’s
>Dysfunctional Christmas Dinner sketch. Everything here
>was an inferior carbon copy from the first, right down
>to the forced harmonizing at the end (besides, who the
>hell sings on Thanksgiving - that’s a Christmas
>thing) and all the “Sit down, Judith!”s. The
>“sit down” thing with Kristen was funny in the
>first sketch because it was done the right number of
>times without getting old. But tonight, they literally
>repeated it every 15 damn seconds. Hmm, get that -
>Kristen Wiig being the focus of a joke that’s
>repeated over and over again until it gets annoying...
>wow, what else is new?
>• And Abby reprising Casey’s original role as the
>head wife of the table just pissed me off. This is the
>second episode in a row with Abby doing a role that
>Casey originally did much better. I mean, it was bad
>enough having Abby take over as Joan Holloway from Mad
>Men last week when she doesn’t even have the body or
>curves to pull it off like Casey did, but it was still
>passable. But it’s hard for me to excuse this mess
>tonight. I mean, didn’t Casey co-write the first
>Dysfunctional Christmas Dinner sketch with Kristen? It
>seems kinda like a huge slap in Casey’s face for SNL
>to - even after her firing - continue doing a bit that
>she not only had a big part in penning the script of,
>but played the main female role in the sketch itself,
>and to just have someone else take over that same role
>like Casey never even existed.
>• And I already mentioned in a previous review (I
>think the Taylor Swift one) that Abby needs to stop
>playing "characters" because it's NOT working for her.
>Celebrity impressions are clearly this girl's forte.
>Sarah McLachlan, Anna Faris, Joan Cusack, Christina
>Aguilera, Drew Barrymore... this is the type of stuff
>Abby actually excels in.
>• So I finally got SNL's strategy figured out now:
>Abby will be given all of Casey Wilson’s old roles
>and Nasim & Jenny will be alternated in Michaela
>Watkins’ old roles. Brilliant, Lorne. Just pure
>brilliance. Seriously, what was the point of even
>firing Michaela and Casey if you’re still going to
>continue doing old sketches they played a prominent
>part in? This would be like if in 2001 after Jerry
>Minor got fired, Horatio Sanz would’ve continued
>doing those Rap Street sketches but with Dean Edwards
>taking over Jerry’s character. Or in 1996 if they
>continued doing those British Fops sketches after
>David Koechner’s firing and replaced his character
>with Chris Kattan. Or (and this is really going
>obscure) in 1992 after the firing of Siobhan Fallon
>and Beth Cahill, if they would’ve let Melanie
>Hutsell continue doing those Delta Delta Delta
>sketches by replacing the other... alright, alright,
>you get the point.
>• I’m TRYING to get over Casey and Michaela’s
>firings, but it’s almost impossible to forget about
>those two when SNL keeps blatantly replacing their
>roles like this. Hell, at this point, I almost
>wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see Jenny take
>over as Michaela’s Bitch Pleeze blogger character,
>Nasim as the new Arianna Huffington, and Abby as the
>new Paraplegic Stripper.
>Stars: *
>
>[2017 UPDATE: "Hell, at this point, I almost
>wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see Jenny take
>over as Michaela’s Bitch Pleeze blogger character,
>Nasim as the new Arianna Huffington, and Abby as the
>new Paraplegic Stripper." Guess which one of these
>ended up actually happening later on? Granted,
>Arianna Huffington isn't a "character" like the other
>two I listed, but still...]

>
>
>Sketch - Woman to Woman
>• The opening sequence/photos had me fooled into
>thinking this would be a sketch starring Nasim, which
>I was looking forward to seeing (while simultaneously
>feeling bad for Jenny), but I had to laugh out loud
>when the camera instead cut over to a bald, bearded,
>heavy Fred Armisen leaning back in a chair. They got
>me.
>• I loved Fred as the guest host in this sketch; he
>was hilarious and I was glad to see him playing an
>original character like this. His lousy advice to the
>ladies, him barely being able to understand a word
>anyone was saying, and even just some of his mere
>facial expressions and physical demeanor all cracked
>me up.
>• Before this sketch, I was starting to get a little
>worried about Fred lately. After having several strong
>performances in the season premiere, it seemed like
>all he played for the next few episodes that followed
>were Obama, Nicholas Fehn, and gay guys. I was worried
>that he was getting burned out with this being his 8th
>season. But this sketch proved me wrong. Fred’s
>still got it, and I could easily have pictured him
>doing this same sketch in his earlier seasons back
>when he frequently did original, funny characters like
>this all the time.
>• JGL did another good job, too, as the stage
>manager and how he ended up giving the ladies better
>advice than Fred, the actual guest host.
>• I just realized that this was the first sketch JGL
>was in all night where he didn’t sing at all. Before
>this, he sang at least once in every single sketch he
>was in tonight, including the monologue. Normally,
>that might bother me a little (I remember Forest
>Whitaker breaking out into song in almost every sketch
>when he hosted, and it bugged the hell out of me…
>and if you know me, you also know how I feel about
>Maya Rudolph’s constant need to sing whenever
>she’s on), but after a host like January youknowwho,
>I’m just happy to have a host this week who actually
>knows exactly how to perform on live TV and in front
>of an audience, even if that has to include some
>singing. He’s been doing an awesome job in
>everything tonight.
>Stars: ***½
>
>[2017 UPDATE: This was the debut of the
>recurring sketch where Fred would play a brash male
>guest host on an advice show directed towards women.
>I ended up getting SO sick of this sketch in future
>installments that it's easy for me to forget I
>actually LIKED it a lot the first time. And boy was I
>off in my comments about how Fred's "still got it" and
>how this sketch "proved me wrong" regarding my worries
>of him getting burned out. Those worries of his
>burn-out would soon prove to be far from wrong. This
>was just the early stages of his long downhill
>slide...]

>
>
>Sketch - Say Anything
>• Kinda random for SNL to now do an entire sketch
>spoofing the famous boombox scene from this movie, but
>I didn’t mind because this parody worked and this
>was an original way to approach it. This turned out to
>be a strong closing sketch. Jason’s interruptions
>and comments to JGL were very funny.
>• I did get a Family Guy-esque cutaway vibe from
>this, though. Just imagine Peter Griffin in Jason’s
>role and there's not much difference.
>• When Jason said “Let me get my wife”, I had to
>groan a little because you just KNEW that meant
>Kristen would appear, despite the fact that SNL has
>three other ladies in the cast. Yeah, my growing
>dislike of Kristen Wiig has evolved further to the
>point where I’m now somewhat bothered by ANY walk-on
>she does, even as normal characters like this one.
>I’m sorry, but I just pretty much can’t stand Wiig
>anymore and I’m sick and tired of seeing her face in
>practically every single sketch every single week. She
>didn’t really do anything in particular to actually
>bring down this sketch, but I just don’t see why her
>small part was necessary at all; I was enjoying the
>sketch just fine with Jason and JGL as the only
>performers. I think SNL might be trying to drive me
>insane by including Wiig in every sketch I was
>perfectly enjoying. If that’s their goal, then
>they’re succeeding...
>• Loved the ending with Jason also holding up a
>boombox of his own and saying to JGL “Genesis is
>back together!”
>Stars: ***½
>
>_______________________________________________________
>__
>
>Episode Highlights:
>• Digital Short
>• Monologue
>• Palin 2012
>• Say Anything
>• Woman to Woman
>• Weekend Update
>• Dave Matthews as Ozzy Osbourne
>
>Episode Lowlights:
>• Kristen’s character in Secret Word
>• Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinner
>• Fred as Obama
>• A few parts of What Up With That 2
>
>Best Performer of the Night:
>• Joseph Gordon-Levitt
>
>
>FINAL THOUGHTS
>Definitely an improvement over the trainwreck from
>last week. Several strong pieces throughout
>tonight’s show, but like the Taylor Swift episode
>from two weeks ago, this was also bogged down by an
>overabundance of recurring material, several of which
>shouldn’t have been recurred and only seemed to be
>recurred simply because it happened to work the first
>time. SNL needs to stop falling back on stuff like
>this so damn much.
>I already had a feeling that Joseph Gordon-Levitt
>would end up being an impressive host, and he still
>ended up exceeding my expectations. Funny, likeable,
>versatile, PLENTY of enthusiasm, played all of his
>parts very well... In short, JGL was the exact
>opposite of January Jones, and he also gave the whole
>episode a high-energy vibe that was very refreshing. I
>hope we see him hosting again in the future.
>
>
>CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
>ARMISEN: 3 sketches (President Obama, What Up With
>That?, Woman to Woman)
>FORTE: 5 sketches (President Obama, Secret Word,
>Digital Short, What Up With That?, Thanksgiving Dinner)
>HADER: 3 sketches (Secret Word, Mellow Show, What Up
>With That?)
>MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
>SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Digital Short, Mellow Show, What
>Up With That?)
>SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (What Up With That?, Thanksgiving
>Dinner, Say Anything)
>THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Digital Short, Mellow Show, What
>Up With That?)
>WIIG: 4 sketches (Secret Word, Thanksgiving Dinner,
>Woman to Woman, Say Anything)
>
>ELLIOTT: 2 sketches (Thanksgiving Dinner, Woman to
>Woman)
>MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Monologue, Digital Short, What
>Up With That?)
>PEDRAD: 3 sketches (President Obama, What Up With
>That?, Woman to Woman)
>SLATE: 3 sketches (Secret Word, What Up With That?,
>Woman to Woman)
>
>JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: 7 sketches (Monologue, Secret
>Word, Mellow Show, What Up With That?, Thanksgiving
>Dinner, Woman to Woman, Say Anything)

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  • The Rodger Brush sketches were written by Fred and James Anderson -- --, 00:13:29 10/23/17 Mon
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