The La La Land stars reunited during the season 43 premiere of Saturday Night Live for Gosling’s monologue, which was built around the idea that Gosling bought into the oft-critiqued notion that his La La Land character “saved jazz.”
“I haven’t felt this excited since I saved jazz,” Gosling said after walking out on stage. The star — who scored an Oscar nomination for playing Seb in La La Land, a musician with eyes on bringing jazz back to prominence — went on to explain how instrumental he was in protecting and nurturing jazz music, much to the consternation of Kenan Thompson (“Nobody wants to hear you do that”) and surprise guest Emma Stone.
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“Can I speak to you just for a second? … What are you doing? You didn’t save jazz. How many times have we talked about this?” Stone said, before dropping the punch line: “Because you didn’t save jazz … we saved jazz.”
La La Land was released last year and while the film was an audience favorite and won six Oscars (including Stone for best actress), it was criticized for presenting Gosling’s character as a savior of the jazz genre. Some headlines that sprouted up before this year’s Oscars included: “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: How La La Land Misleads on Race, Romance and Jazz,” “Does La La Land Get Jazz, or Exploit It?” “La La Land Is Clueless About What’s Actually Happening in Jazz,” and “La La Land: A Musical Ode to Men Who Love Loving Jazz.”
Gosling and Stone have appeared together in three films: Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gangster Squad, and La La Land.