Joseph Gordon-Levitt Hosts Saturday Night Live: Best and Worst Skits?

joseph gordon levitt snl stripperIf last week’s Saturday Night Live season premire with host Seth MacFarlane was a delightful comedy smorgasbord, this week’s followup was more like a fetid mystery casserole you might find languishing in a murky Tupperware dish in the back of the fridge.

I worried we might be in for a clunker when the cold open kicked off with Nasim Pedrad’s dismal Kelly Ripa impersonation — Pedrad comes nowhere near capturing the daytime host’s voice, nor does she seem interested in mining anything deeper than Ripa’s standard-operating perkiness — and that apprehension only grew with an opening monologue that inexplicably had Gordon-Levitt doing a thuddingly unfunny bump-and-grind homage to the three-month-old big-screen hit Magic Mike.

Anyhow, in the interest of not turning this recap into a litany of complaints about the entire telecast, let me jump on in and give my picks for the night’s best and worst:

Best: G.O.B. Tampon Ad
“Designed with all the knowledge of a woman’s anatomy that only comes from being a 60-plus-year-old conservative man,” cooed Vanessa Bayer, cheerfully filling her day with yoga and bubble baths. The visual representation of how the product fills the fallopian tubes was matched in gross-out hilarity by Bayer’s description of the “smooth metal applicator” and where it’s meant to end up.

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Best: Mumford & Sons
I usually leave discussions of SNL‘s musical guests to more musically minded Web sites, but the band’s one-two punch of “I Will Wait” and “Below My Feet” proved as refreshing as a toothbrush and toothpaste after a bout of car-sickness.

Worst: London Pub
The Mumford guys popped up in the background as “Hey, Dude,” a Beatles cover band, and stunningly, that was probably the most amusing aspect of a sketch featuring Gordon-Levitt as an about-to-be-married American out for drinks in London with three of his buddies. I’m not sure which punch line inserted into the midst of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” was most cringe-worthy: The one about a vibrator stuck in Jason Sudeikis’ backside, the one about Bill Hader being Jerry Sandusky’s son, or our guest host riffing about sending his orphaned nephew on a one-way bus trip to Mexico. Wait, what? Which part of this was supposed to be funny again?

Worst: “Our Daughter Evelyn”
Gordon-Levitt gamely donned drag as an awkward girl whose parents (Fred Armisen and Kate McKinnon) were so desperate to get her a boyfriend that they performed a musical number presenting her (and all her flaws) to dad’s unsuspecting coworker. There might’ve been a kernel of a good idea in this one, but by the end of the sketch, that promise was buried deep in the bag of birdseed that served as one of the sketch’s props.

Worst: Opening Monologue
I always thought it was the job of the show’s writing staff to whip up at least a handful of funny (or at least not unclever) zingers that can help the host begin his or her night feeling like there’s a shot at comedic success in the ensuing 90 minutes. But after this slipshod intro, I’m pretty convinced Team SNL decided to cut out of work early on Friday and merely recycle Channing Tatum’s “take it off” intro from last February.

What did you think of this week’s SNL? Were you as disappointed with Gordon-Levitt’s episode as I was? Hit the comments with your thoughts!