SNL #38.2 RECAP: Host Joseph Gordon-Levitt, musical guest Mumford and Sons

It’s the first SNL after a primetime Weekend Update Thursday. Will the short rest affect the performances? Should the NFL address the violent nature of its sport and take that into account?

Let’s recap.

Good for Jay Pharoah! All of the hubbuzz was about Jay earning the Obama impersonation, but here he is in the cold open as Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s new co-host on ABC morning-time chatty chat. Nasim Pedrad is hotter than Kelly Ripa. Let’s not talk about it. Instead, let’s talk about how SNL head writer Seth Meyers also was up for Ripa’s co-host job, and recently told Bill Simmons how little he had to prepare for each morning’s live hour of TV talk. So if you think this is about how Strahan is excited for how easy his new gig is, just know that. Bill Hader is here, too, as RPattz, which if you have to ask what that stands for, means that you’re old and wise and not paying attention to why the kids these days are so God-awful in their shallowness.

Wasn’t Don Pardo old and sick? Welp. He’s better now! Or they’ve figured out how to make voice-over holograms now. Either way.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is back for his second time hosting. First time, he literally did back-flips for us. Feel free to say “literally” the same way Rob Lowe does. But. JGL had to go and dance to music that the show hadn’t licensed for infinity viewing online. So what does he do this time around? A “Magic Mike” routine to “It’s Raining Men.” Tanks a lot. Now we’ll never see Bobby Moynihan dry-hump an audience member with his member.

Fake ad slot goes to another fake election ad, for the undecided voter. Cecily Strong! Extra timely because Bill Maher made his big “New Rule” about mocking “undecided voters,” tapping into the zeitgeist because of it, or just oops? More importantly, who is THIS GUY?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Real talk! Followed by. Real ads.

Now that Kristen Wiig has left the building, SNL can take on the liquor campaign that rips off her Penelope character that rips off Judah Friedlander’s stand-up comedy. It’s another taped bit. Not to be confused with the “SNL Digital Short” that the Lonely Island trio co-opted to the point that people thought their music videos were the definition of SNL taped bits.

JGL and Hader are in an office now. Hader is the P.I. who discovered JGL’s wife was captured by a caricature artist. So. Yeah. That was a thing.

The “son of the most interesting man in the world” bit is a running bit now. You’re welcome. This time, Jason Sudeikis shows up as “The most interesting man in the world” to intervene.

Week off before Daniel Craig and Muse. Please make a note of it.

JGL is a magician who speaks like Batman. Or rather, Christian Bale’s Batman. Fitting! Taran Killam is the audience volunteer. No, wait. Hypnotist. Not magic. Unless you consider hypnosis is magic. “It’s OK. I’m not really hypnotized.” Wait. That makes this OK?!?!?!? Tommy Bergamont. Here all week. Try the veal. Wait. Who still serves veal?

Another fake ad. This time designed to mock the GOP with their G.O.B. tampons to know how ladies should live their lives. Brought to you by old white men.

There’s that old joke that, 38 seasons in, and Lorne Michaels still has to answer questions by telling people that Saturday Night Live is, in fact, a TV show that airs on Saturday nights, and is, in fact, aired live on TV. And yet. Somebody is going to notice how much of this episode is pre-taped, right? Right? Right.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mumford and Sons.

Weekend Update with Seth Meyers. And here are tonight’s top stories.

OK. So this is interesting. If you pay attention to SNL and such matters. They brought back the “best friends” of a dictator back for a DIFFERENT DICTATOR. Gaddafhi is gone. Done dead. Killed. So Fred Armisen and Vanessa Bayer are back now as the friends of Syria’s dictator. Does that = SNL Fatwa? Discuss.

Ann Romney, pictured previously in Thursday’s “Weekend Update’ video sketch, is now back and on her own as portrayed by Kate McKinnon. And she’s willing to tell it like it is. Just say “Rick Perry” three times. Try it. You’ll like it. If you like Rick Perry.

Meyers also had to answer from Simmons about when SNL would fit in a Tim Tebow appearance. Not yet. But they did have Stephen A. Smith (Pharoah) to talk smack about Tebow. Close enough?

And just in case you thought SNL wasn’t hard enough on President Barack Obama, Seth Meyers offered this segment, called “What Are You Doing?”

Who put a live ad for Weekend Update Thursday into my SNL? Moving on.

Not confused enough. Must witness a sketch that recycles the four-guys-telling-wild-stories-whilst-singing-along-with-the-chorus-of-a-popular-old-song but also add in the musical guest pretending to be a more famous musical guest. Take that, jukebox. “You’ve got to hide your love away!” HEY! Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles! Where’s Ed Sullivan when you need him? Oh, dead? Same with half of The Beatles? Alrighty then. And, well, look at this. They’ve already adopted the end-of-season theme of singing whilst leading everyone into a clap-a-long as they walk out of the scene. Too soon? Bonus points if you can tell me who the three “extras” sitting on the back wall are. Go! (offer open only to those who saw this on the telly)

Here’s something you haven’t seen on SNL in a long time. Two black men leading a live comedy sketch on SNL. “The Finer Things” celebrates the hip-hop mainstreaming, hosted by Jay Pharaoh and Kenan Thompson as rappers with mix-tapes. I’m thinking first about how much I’m glad to know there will be no more “Deep House Dish” since Andy Samberg left the cast.

Once again, Mumford and Sons. Not Sanford and Son. Not The Beatles.

Time for the weird stuff.

A guy (newbie Tim Robinson) comes over to have a date with a bird-feeding girl (JGL), but first, the parents (McKinnon and Armisen) have a song to introduce her again as a potential girlfriend. So it’s still presented as the weirder half-hour of SNL, just earlier? Evelyn? Evelyn!

Tim Robinson sure gets more early live chances to be on live TV, compared to the new ladies, doesn’t he? Speaking of which…

Burt and Blair Powers Realty has a live ad to sell you. Please stop putting drawing penises on her face? Robinson and Pedrad.

Roll credits. Wait. No credits?!?! Next week is the Mick Jagger repeat, then Daniel Craig and Muse. See you then!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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