He Made Us Laugh!

Since the season began in September, Saturday Night Live has been, in my opinion, only sporadically funny. My favorite parts of SNL are usually Weekend Update, the digital short and the cold open, in that order; the sketches are not consistently funny or sometimes the funniest sketch is on at 12:50, rather than in a prime pre-Weekend Update block. This past Saturday’s episode, though, hosted by the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was entirely funny.

The late-in-the-show Thanksgiving sketch had a good pay-off after a slow start: When the family began singing Wilson Phillips, I was laughing out loud. (Watch highlights from the episode on Hulu.) And, more remarkable, the final sketch – usually more of a filler than anything else – could easily have been slated in the front of the show: Recreating the infamous “Lloyd holding the boom-box” scene from Say Anything, Gordon-Levitt’s deadpan Lloyd was smartly contrasted with Jason Sudeikis’s wise cracking neighbor. The digital short was definitely funny, if a little tawdry, and I was happy to hear a new song from The Lonely Island after the last few digital shorts were music-less. A friend of mine just suggested why this entire episode was funny: The host committed to the comedy. The last few weeks have seen uncertain and uncomfortable hosts, mostly all doing variations on boring characters. Gordon-Levitt played different characters and went big on each of them, not that I’d expect anything less from such a talented and committed actor.

The highlight of this episode, though, was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s opening monologue. Proving he’s a true showman, Gordon-Levitt gave us his fully choreographed rendition of the Singin’ in the Rain classic, “Make ‘Em Laugh”. As he explained earlier in the week on Jimmy Fallon, Gordon-Levitt hatched his idea for the opening monologue two months ago when he learned he’d be hosting the late-night comedy show, now in its 35th season. Working with the choreographer from his summer hit (500) Days of Summer, Gordon-Levitt was palpably excited to share one of his favorite musical comedy moments with us all. Gordon-Levitt is a skilled and respected actor and a charmer to boot, and clearly he just gave his audition for whatever the next movie musical is (or, dare I dream, a stint on the boards). Maybe Nicely Nicely in Guy Ritchie’s remake of Guys and Dolls? I’d suggest him for Nathan, but I think JTims has that covered. Or, even better, perhaps Joseph Gordon-Levitt could book himself a recurring role on Glee. *swoon* That might be too much to handle!