Splitsider: ‘SNL’ Recap: Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Irreverent Host, Irrelevant Night

For this week’s SNL recap on Splitsider, I discuss how the choice to move the show’s political material to a half hour Weekend Update Thursday special might have hurt this week’s episode, which instead featured an uncomfortable amount of broad humor for such a talented host.


When Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted SNL for the first time in November 2009, he was still a bit of an enigma to the audience. He had redefined himself from child star to an adult actor with serious emotional range in the indie noir Brick in 2006, and now he had just broken into the mainstream as the lovesick lead of 500 Days of Summer. But it wasn’t until Gordon-Levitt stepped onto the SNL stage for his monologue, and performed a showstopping rendition of “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain, that we saw his amiable charisma as a live performer. Seth Meyers said on Bill Simmons’ podcast last week about Gordon-Levitt: “He has a really good, like, Walken-y, offbeat energy, and we didn’t know that until Friday of last time. I feel like we know his strengths a lot better this time.”

Gordon-Levitt returned to SNL during the best year of his career – a summer of The Dark Knight Rises and Premium Rush, this weekend’s Looper, and a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Lincoln. And while he gave every bit as strong a performance last weekend as he did three years ago, the episode as a whole faltered, mostly due to creative decisions beyond his control. Lorne and his producers have shifted the bulk of SNL‘s political material to the Weekend Update Thursday primetime specials for the time being – a move that may have backfired for two reasons: 1) Thursday’s special received an abysmal 1.6 rating, and 2) writing an extra half hour of material seemed to take its toll on the writers, resulting in a show that was atypically broad and uninspired in its humor – not to mention uncannily apolitical in the middle of election season.

Read the full post on Splitsider.com.

About eavoss
Erik Voss is a writer, actor and improv comedian in Los Angeles. Please subscribe!

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