SNL: 38.2 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Mumford & Sons

After last week’s strong premiere, I was looking forward to this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, and thankfully it did not disappoint. This week’s host was a man having a very busy year- Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The cold open featured Jay Pharoah again, but surprisingly, not as Obama, but rather Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa’s new cohost. Can’t say it was good. I suppose it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. Bill Hader as a brooding Robert Pattinson was funny, just not funny enough to save the sketch. I will say though, as a fan, it is really fun to see when featured players become full cast members. You would think I had birthed some of them given how proud I get when they make that leap.

When the monologue first started, I’ll admit to getting a little nervous. It was very rushed and the jokes just fell flat.

And then this happened. Oh yes, apparently Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s favorite movie of the summer was none other than Magic Mike. The dance/strip scene came out of nowhere and was appreciated by womenfolk/some menfolk all across the country. Bobby Moynihan and his second vest literally made me laugh out loud.

With the first “commercial”, I began to wonder if we are ever going to see Aidy Bryant for more than a few seconds. The “Undecided Voters” featured both Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson. It wasn’t as funny as it was sad- we all know there are people out there who could fit perfectly in this sketch.

The real question everyone (okay maybe not everyone, but I certainly was) is who is Albert? Some random guy was in the sketch as Albert who wondered where his power cord was. Random guy is random.

Next up was the first of two, “Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World”. I so desperately wanted to like this and it had its moments but overall it just got old. The premise was strong, the execution was a little tired.

Bill Hader as a caricature drawing P.I. was all right, a little odd but then again, this is Bill Hader we are talking about.

Next up was my favorite sketch of the night- “The Hypnotist”. There are many times when I’m watching tv that I’ll look away/do something else and just continue with the show by listening. I am so glad I did not do that with this sketch because I would have completely missed it.  Set up was Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a two-bit hypnotist doing a show in some small hotel. It reminded me of Kevin Kline at the beginning of Soapdish.

The moment that Taran Killam lifted his head to tell the audience that he was not hypnotized, I was sold. And thankfully they found the right length of time to let that one go and it was just gold. Killam in his tighty whitey’s  as a hot lady dinosaur dry humping Keenan Thompson? Yes, please.

Another commercial this time for the GOB tampons featuring Vanessa McBrayer. Predictable, but amusing.

Musical guest this week was Mumford and Sons and thank you sweet jesus they were a thousand times better than Frank Ocean. This could be simply because I am a fan of Mumford and Sons and not Frank Ocean but I didn’t fall asleep this week, so who knows.

Weekend Update was on fire this week. The best friends of the “evil dictator of the week” were on and they are entertaining but featured player, Kate McKinnon stole the show with her Ann Romney impression. I think my new favorite line is “Apple Picking: It’s like Mormon Mardi Gras.”

Who would have thought that Ann Romney was such a big fan of Beyonce?

Mumford and Sons returned, this time as a Beatles cover band called “Hey Dudes”. This was one of those sketches where you fully expected Andy Samberg to jump in at any moment. Outside of a forced Jerry Sandusky joke, it was all right. The real fun of the sketch for me was just watching the actors enjoy it. The “walk out into the audience while singing” was a bit hokey, but I like hokey so I was all over it.

The last three sketches of the night were sadly not very good. Remember last week when I was so excited that the last sketch didn’t suck? The same can not be said of this week. “The Finer Things” was the winner of the bunch- mainly due to Bobby Moynihan as “Teddy Graham” and Jay Pharoah modeling with a Hermes purse. The singing parents sketch was only saved from complete failure by the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a surprisingly good-looking woman. There was no saving “Powers Realty”. Flying wangs drawn on real estate ads is far from new, creative, or funny.

The goodbye’s were cut short, which is annoying, but it’s live tv so what can you do?

Overall? Even though there were some sketches that just did not work for me, I actually enjoyed this episode much more than the premiere. Why? I really like it when the host appears to just be another cast member. Seth MacFarlane was always reading cue cards and was obviously out of his element. Joseph Gordon-Levitt however, fit right into sketches like he does it every week. Perhaps he picked up some tips from the fabulous Jane Curtin while on 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Next week is a rerun of the season 37 finale (with Mick Jagger and Kristin Wiig’s farewell) but will return on October 6th with host Daniel Craig and musical guest Muse.

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