Since the top two searches leading visitors to this blog are “Jason Sudeikis dancing” and “Jason Sudeikis What Up With That” I thought that today we’d just give the audience what they want. And even though I’ve been vocal about my dislike for this sketch, Sudeikis’ moves are the saving grace and definitely worth the time.
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Now if they could just deep six the rest of the sketch (except for Galifiankis. He’s pretty incredible in this one).
We’ve talked about the groundswell of support that has erupted around Kenan Thompson for his work on SNL this season, and that “What Up With That?” has perhaps become the premier recurring sketch of the season so far, and while we don’t quite buy into all the buzz, there’s no denying he’s having his best season yet. With his stock at record levels, he was the subject of a profile over at NY Mag, ostensibly cementing this as his breakout season. Apparently even Lorne Michaels agrees, remarking that “Kenan’s on fire this season.” Makes sense that Lorne would have a spot for Thompson, because while Thompson has found his groove, there were many sketches in previous years in which Kenan seemed out-of-place, like the SNL intern, incongruous to the rest of the sketch. Those moments usually resulted some in some of laughter too, but more because they were stilted Kenan Thompson cameos, and not organic comedy. Now he’s truly enmeshed in the sketches and earning the laughs. Now while we don’t necessarily agree with any Kenan Thompson “MVP” chants (our allegiance, obviously, belongs to Jason Sudeikis), we’re starting to forgive him for “Deep House Dish” (but there’s still a long way to go).
But let’s not focus on the present, or even the future. Let’s look back at the past.
And while we’re in the wayback machine, here’s an interview with Thompson I conducted five years ago this month just prior to the release of Fat Albert, and when Thompson was just midway through his 2nd season on SNL. Interestingly, when asked about SNL he says “Probably one of the most stressful situations I’ve ever seen in life. But it’s only going to last a couple more years and then after that you can do whatever.” Well, he’s been on the show for six years now and as he’s just hitting his stride it’s probably going to be a few more before he can do “whatever.” But after paying his dues all this time and likely growing a little wiser, one must wonder if he feels the same way now. At the moment, something tells me he’s just enjoying it. But, you know what, I’ll see if I can’t get a follow-up interview.
Well, there was no denying that the energy level was turned up to 11 on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, with a burst of adrenaline that was no doubt due in great part to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s raucous enthusiasm, and, perhaps, with the scathing reviews after last weekend’s January Jones episode, the cast and crew felt they had something to prove. And they came out and put on an entertaining, upbeat, cue card independent show. But was it actually any funnier?
Well, yes, it was. But was it the “best episode of the season,” the superlative that many blogs have given it, so soon after they did the same for the Taylor Swift outing? That assertion, like the Taylor Swift platitudes, is debatable. Certainly though, there was no arguing it was better, and, at the very least, not nearly as lazy. But in this case, let’s not confuse enthusiasm for a good sense of humor, or entertainment for comedy. They’re definitely related, but one does not necessarily equal the other.
Over on his EW blog Ken Tucker provided an excellent commentary that’s quite similar to my own take (so if you’re in a rush and can only read his review or ours, read his), noting that while Levitt’s frenetic monologue performance of “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singing in the Rain was impressive (especially his two off-the wall backflips followed by a well-executed pratfall) and a crowd pleaser, it didn’t exactly make you laugh. It was almost more like a successful awards show opening number than a sharp, funny SNL monologue. That being said we’ll be lucky if all future hosts can provide as much talent and effort as “regular Joe” (However, with that kind of energy, one has to wonder if JGL was on more than just regular joe).
Read on: What’s Up With Kenan Thompson, Family Dinners & Pierre Escargot? Plus, Jason Sudeikis makes 12:50am safe again…