Saturday Night Live

Season 35 Episode 7

Joseph Gordon Levitt/Dave Matthews Band

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Nov 21, 2009 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
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  • Joseph Gordon Leavitt hosts

    For an actor who's so talented and hilarious, this was a pretty disappointing episode. As usual, I didn't necessarily have a problem with Joseph Gordon Leavitt himself. He did great with what he was given. But the problem is that the writers give him (along with most of the hosts) such bad material to go along with. I thought he was hilarious as Jason Mraz in "The Mellow Show," and Dave Matthews did a pretty good job as Ozzy Ozbourne here as well.

    However, in skits like "Secret Word" and that show where the producer answers questions for the women, he was given nothing to do while the stars of the show overwhelmed him. It's really too bad, because he was hilarious in the moments that he was given. And I'm pretty sure in repeats, this skit is cut now, but the one where the country singers sing songs about spaceships and T-Models was hilarious... it may not have been everybody's cup of tea, but it left me in stitches.

    But that's the way the show seems to go: we're given a promising host with a slew of poorly written skits. I suppose it's tough to keep coming up with quality skit after quality skit, but it felt a little sub-par this week.
  • Fun!

    Fact: SNL has been off its game lately but it's still watchable and produces a lot of funny moments each episode for me. And this episode was no exception. Not only was Joseph Gordon Levitts a fun host, but the episode produced some really good laughs.
    The Digital Short was definitely much better than the rest so far this season and the cameos were really funny! (surprisingly) which brings me to the best segment of the episode:
    Monologue. Usually, I'm not that interested in these as they come off as poor attempts for celebrities to be funny, but Joseph Gordon Levitt really pulled out all the stops for this episode. It was a lot of fun to see him throwing himself around, doing backflips and the like to entertain the Audience.
    I hope the rest of this season achieves the status of this episode but to a greater degree, I hope that the hosts are as much fun for the rest of the year and realise that sometimes all that matters is doing somthing different.
  • "Genesis is back together"

    500 Days of Summer and 3rd Rock From the Sun star Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosts and jam band favorite Dave Matthews Band perform

    Cold Open- Jintao and Obama Press Conference- In China, Presidents Obama (Fred) and Jintao (Will) hold a press conference which quickly turns into session of Jintao through translator (Nasim) asking Obama when China will get its money back. I liked it, especially the Chinese slang of "do sex to me". Also, this is the most critical attack on Obama's presidency yet. Monologue- Joseph is really excited to be there. He does back flips and passes out in the end of exhaustion. I like it when the host is excited, makes for a better show.

    2012 re-cut: A re-cut version of 2012 shows the catastrophe a Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck presidency/vice presidency would reek. The counterbalance to the Obama cold open. At least both were funny. Secret Word- On the Game Show Network (some writer really loves cable television), a 1965 episode of "Secret Word" showcases actress Mindy Grayson (Kristin) too eager to give away the answer and a South American singer, Ricardo (Joseph) who doesn't even want to try give a clue to the answer. Maybe I should watch Game Show Network more if this is what it's like. Black Reba McEntire (Digital Short)- a song discusses a man (Andy) being fooled by another (Kenan) who tries to pass himself off as Reba McEntire. The idea was wonderfully delirious enough to work. The Mellow Show- Jack Johnson (Andy) hosts another edition of his show about all things mellow. It features mellow songsters Dave Matthews (Bill), Jason Mraz (Joseph) and the decidedly un-mellow Ozzy Osbourne (Dave Matthews). I wasn't feeling this until Matthews came out decked in Osbourne's usual garb and went on an attack against himself. It's really cool that he was able to make fun of himself. What's Up With That? – Deondre Cole (Kenan) hosts another edition of his talk show, this time with Al Gore (the former vice president as himself), Mindy Khaling (herself) and back for a second time, Lindsay Buckingham (Bill), cutting off the former vice president mid-sentence to break into the show's theme song and showcase a 1987-esqe keytar player (Joseph) and Jake the Snake (Bobby). I didn't really mind this coming back but they got do more with the guests because the premise alone isn't workable for multiple editions.

    Dave Matthews Band perform the mid-tempo love song "You and Me"

    Weekend Update with Seth Meyers- Tipper Gore's husband comes back to finally explain his side of the Global Warming issue and says if the politicians don't listen, he'll go crazy. I think he's serious. Also, Seth gets in a few great jokes. Solid and short edition.

    Thanksgiving Dinner- After last years Christmas dinner spectacle, dinner guests (Abby, Joseph, Jason, Kristin, Will) reconvene to argue some more over Thanksgiving dinner then break into Wilson Philips' song "Hold On". Nice that this was brought back. I guess Judice still won't sit down. Woman to Woman- While the original host (Nasim) is out sick, gruff host Roger Brush (Fred) fills in and gives terrible advice to women (Kristin, Jenny) and scares away another (Abby). Nice turn for Fred here with this particular character. He generally does characters like these very well. Dave Matthews Band, rollicking and horn-tooting heavy, demand that you "Shake Me Like A Monkey." Adding Big Whiskey and Groogrux King to my "albums to buy" list as I type.

    Say Anything- On TBS, during an airing of the cult movie, a couple (Jason, Kristin) somehow wander into the famous scene where Lloyd Dobler (Joseph) is holding his boombox at the his love interest's house, then asks Dobler a bunch of questions. Best of sketch of night, if only because bizarre non-sequiter nature of the whole thing.

    Second most consistent show thus far. 7/10
  • Make me laugh... Make me laugh... Make me laugh...

    Tonight's host is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I've never seen 500 Days of Summer, so I have no idea who he is, or how he'll be tonight. Our musical guest is Dave Matthews Band, which a lot of people actually predicted would be on this show.

    I'm wondering how tonight's show will be. The past 2 weeks, we've had 2 women host, 1 being good, the other being pretty bad, and a male host will be a breath of fresh air, since the writers are probably more rejuvinated for guy-centered roles. I'm liking how SNL is alternating the women/man hosting thing this year. Last year, out of 22 episodes, we had 3 women host, not even evenly spaced out throughout the season, so writing fatigue was huge here and there.

    Press Conference: The casting choice was awfully weird for this... I know we don't have a Chinese/Asian guy, so this is kind of understandable, but still. This was a really funny opening. The first time Will & Nasim said "doing sex to me!" I almost died of laughter, just because of how much i wasn't expecting that. And then, the next two times were still funny, because of how Will bent over. That being said, I'm pretty sure this can go in the books as another anti-Obama sketch. It's good that SNL is finally making fun of both sides. They're still making fun of conservatives too (i.e: Fox News sketch), and they are finally feeding the media with a bipartisan satire line-up.

    Monologue: Joseph demonstrated a very energetic monologue, and he did a great job with this. Bobby was hilarious.

    Palin 2012: I love these Re-Cuts SNL does... sure, it's only happened twice, the last one was in 2006... but both of these have been really funny.

    Secret Word: Alright, this sketch was not that funny. It made me chuckle maybe once or twice, but it was nothing special.

    SNL Digital Short: Reba: This was actually a really funny DS. Kenan made me laugh a lot in this. And the lyrics were just so weird, that they were funny.

    The Mellow Show: I remember mentally falling asleep during this sketch back when Ashton Kutcher hosted in April 2008... kinda the same for this, except I laughed a few times with DM actually being on and stuff. Joseph was a convincing Jason Mraz.

    What Up With That?: This is a fun sketch, but twice in 4 episodes? Naw. It was still enjoyable, and even though i was surprised to see Al Gore, I was delighted to see Mindy Kaling.

    Musical Performance: DMB performs "You & Me" which was a good performance. I'm not gonna lie though, I dont have any DMB albums.

    Weekend Update: This was a short and sweet Update, and I'm glad they're doing this than having 3 commentaries that go no where. Al Gore's commentary was really funny, and most of the jokes were good.

    Thanksgiving Dinner: Fail. Not even a laugh.

    Woman To Woman: This was a great idea for a sketch, and Fred is better at this than anybody else. I loved Jenny's awkward problem asking, and I do have hope in Jenny... I do...

    Musical Performance: "Shake Me Like A Monkey" is the title....

    Say Anything: This was a really funny premise to an annoying neighbor to come out during this. It was a good 5-to-1 sketch.

    Tonight's show was definitely an improvement over last week. Joseph's energy was high, and you can tell he's a broadway actor by his acting skills being more for on stage than for television. Dave Matthews Band had good performances, but I guess I should have researched on their new album. This show was slightly above average, but, I don't know... November Sweeps had a ton of recurring sketches.

    They will not let us forget about Casey and Michaela's firings, will they? I miss Michaela really really much, because she was up their with Kristen for talent. I even miss Casey. I know last year we were all kind of annoyed on how she was just there, but still didn't do anything and never got on, and requested her firing, but all her good roles have been taken. I really do think SNL made some stupid decisions...

    On December 5, we have host Blake Lively and musical guest Rihanna... so no, it's not Jake Gyllenhaal and Fitty Cent, like those 'confirmed' rumors were saying.
  • After the terrific monologue, this episode settled comfortably into the toilet known as the 2009-10 season.

    Given the large number of recurring sketches, I have decided to identify them with [R] after the title.

    Cold Open - America's debt to China is milked for a few laughs. Unfortunately, there is too much truth here to be considered satire. The "getting screwed" joke was funny but wore thin quickly. Grade: B- Monologue - Amazing physical performance from Levitt. I thought this would be a typical singing monologue, but was wonderfully surprised by Gordon's acrobatics and dance moves. Bobby's part was supposed to add conflict, but just slowed the momentum. Nicely done! Grade: A

    2012 Trailer - Not very clever editing results in a ho-hum trailer parody. I personally think Palin would be a disaster as President too, but this message can be delivered with more creativity like Ferrell's great "A Message from a Possible Future" showing W completely clueless as the world crumbles around him. Sometimes life does imitate art. Grade: C

    Secret Word - Wiig is unable to say anything other than the secret word and Levitt's character is unwilling to even try. Not a bad sketch, but the jokes never go anywhere beyond the initial setup. Grade: C+

    SNL Digital Short - Andy is in love with a transvestite. And he raps about too. Lucky us. Grade: C-

    The Mellow Show [R] - This sketch has always been very weak with the Hader providing a few laughs as Matthews. It was only appropriate to do this sketch and bring out the real Matthews who ended up stealing the sketch with his spot-on Sabbath-era Ozzy impression. Who knew? Other than that... Grade: B-

    What's Up With That? [R] - Ooh, wee T-shane, what up with dat? Different sketch, same crap. This sketch was bad enough the first time around, but has become unbearable now that it has been thrown into rotation. Somebody spent all of 10 minutes re-writing the previous version. Grade: F

    Weekend Update - A few good jokes and only one guest. I actually like fewer guests on WU and a shorter running time. The problem this time is that Gore used WU to sermonize rather than make us laugh. His delivery of the "jokes" couldn't have been any worse. Grade: C

    Thanksgiving Dinner [R] - This was done in last year's Hugh Laurie sketch and is reminiscent and vastly inferior to all of the great Ferrell dinner sketches. Here is an example of a sketch that didn't play well the first time and is brought back virtually identical to the first time. It's like handing in the same term paper every year. Changing a few elements won't make it great. Tedious. Grade: D

    Say Anything - I thought this was going to be great as soon as I saw that they were going to spoof the classic boombox scene from Say Anything. It turned out to be nothing more than a chance for Suds to heckle the Cusack character. And it never went beyond that. Too bad. Grade: C

    Overall - Wow, this show was a letdown! After the terrific monologue, this episode settled comfortably into the toilet known as the 2009-10 season. And the misery continues. Sigh... Grade: C

    Some random thoughts here.

    Tone down the TV show parodies. The show has become far too reliant lately on TV show parodies. There comes a point where the humor becomes completely self-referential and ultimately pointless. Try checking out something else in this world other than TV or the Internet. There's a lot of funny stuff out there. Really, I promise.

    Bring physical humor back. Judging from the spectacular opening, Levitt would have been the perfect host to have in some sketches using physical humor. I remember when Jim Carrey hosted about 13 years ago and the writers made the most of his incredible physical gifts. There was a LOT of physical humor in that episode and in general back then. The Cheerleaders, Roxbury guys, the DeMarco Brothers are just a few examples of recurring physical sketches from the past 15 years. And of course, there was Farley. Whew! These days we get way too many talk show sketches. They were always there, but at least there was a mix of different types of humor.

    Recurring sketches. There is nothing inherently wrong with recurring sketches, but why bring back sketches with virtually no changes from the previous times? Even worse, many of these are complete duds (What Up With That, Gilly, Deep House Dish, Target Lady, etc.). Play to the host's strengths. All too often the same boilerplate sketches that could be used for any host are rolled out. As previously mentioned, there was a missed opportunity in this episode to bring in some physical humor courtesy of Levitt. Disappointing.

    Be more topical. I have to laugh whenever I hear people refer to SNL as a topical show and the difficulty they would have with stockpiling sketches. Give me a break! Outside of the cold open and Weekend Update, there is rarely anything that could be remotely called topical. This is unfortunate as it steals away the "Live" feel that has always been so important to the show. When the majority of the sketches could air at any time with any host, the show has failed to be topical.

    Don't do a digital short just because you can. The quality of the digital shorts has dropped considerably over the past few years to the point where I now dread the words "An SNL Digital Short". Keep us surprised rather than woefully expectant.
  • I can't hear a word you're saying.

    Joseph Gordon Levitt is your host tonight, yet if you watched the show you may have forgotten that as he was a secondary player in just about every sketch. I don't think he shined in any particular scene, and that is not a good sign.

    Cold Opening: Barack Obama speaks to a Chinese translator in the opening scene. More of a criticism of Obama than a comedy sketch.
    Ran for far too long.

    Monologue: Well-done musical number to open SNL. It's been too long since somebody has done something like this. Even if it wasn't funny, deviating away from the typical formula is only a good thing.

    2012: Horrible, unfunny, anti-Sarah Palin trailer implying that if she was President the world would end. I guess one of the writers wanted this sketch in to balance out the anti-Obama opening, but this was just terrible. Secret Word: "I did, I saw it on the screen and I said it!" Good to see a somewhat different Kristen Wiig character in this sketch, but still fairly mediocre as far as SNL game show sketches are concerned.

    SNL Digital Short: Andy and "Reba" perform a rap song. While it is always good when Samberg releases a new song, these days he's hardly writing the next "Lazy Sunday".

    The Mellow Show: The Mellow Show returns and is still really not that funny. Andy Samberg is best as a supporting character, but he fails to work as a talk show host, something that requires him to drive the whole sketch.

    What's Up With That?: Looks like it's cameos a palooza on SNL tonight. Surprised to see this come back so quickly. It did receive some surprisingly strong reviews from the web, but it wasn't that great. Should've saved this for another show.

    Weekend Update: Way too short. Al Gore's appearance was weakened by him appearing in the What's Up sketch.

    Thanksgiving Dinner: A commentary on the awkward, bitter conversations people have at Thanksgiving dinner. It's just not the same without Will Ferrell or Chris Parnell in it though. Woman to Woman: Fred Armisen, plays a fat, accent-filled producer filling in for the host. The, "I can't hear a word you're saying," bit was funny, but I really hope this does not becoming a recurring sketch.

    Say Anything: It seems as if late the last sketch has been the best sketch of the night. A funny, clever take on the film and another great sketch that featured Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig as a couple.
  • Episode is 9 out of 10! Great host. Great musical guest. Great sketches.

    One of the best episodes of the season, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a hit with his monologue. The skits were much improved from last week's snooze fest. Hosts who don't have such an inflated ego shouldn't host, and JGL isn't one of them. He has the creds to host again. The Palin 2012 parody was as good as the Twilight parody. Though I'm not a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band, they are a good band to listen to. Overall, I thought this episode was the best one since the Taylor Swift episode. Al Gore was a hit. He's right about the climate crisis, and he should do his 'crazy' plan if it doesn't go well with politics.
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