Well, this is awkward: Hulu has scrubbed videos of Eminem’s performance on last night’s Saturday Night Live from the internet, or tried to, at least. We’d guess that it could have something to do with the album leaking a week before its release date, but the Marshall Mathers EP 2 leak is old news at this point — and the SNL performances of “Berzerk” and “Survival” were posted Sunday morning as they typically are after every SNL broadcast. So why were they pulled? If we were Eminem, we’d try to save as much face possible, because that SNL performance — if you can call it that — was an indisputable failure.
See also: Janelle Monae Electrifies SNL Stage
Why? There was absolutely nothing about “Berzerk” that sounded remotely live, and it was so painfully obvious that Eminem was lip-syncing, or at the very least rapping over a backing track. (If he was indeed making actual noise with his mouth in real time, the backing track overwhelmed him, and that in and of itself is a huge problem.) Rick Rubin — Def Jam co-founder, prolific producer and the main man behind the boards on Marshall Mathers EP 2 — was reduced to nothing more than a prop Saturday night, scratching at a turntable and standing off to the side as Eminem hopped, skipped and jumped around as his voice piped in from behind him.
“Survival” was only slightly more tolerable, as Skylar Grey–painful to endure though she was — sang her part, and Em very well could’ve this time around, too. And that’s just it: when it comes to lip-syncing or an alleged phoned-in performance, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Even if it comes out that Eminem did in fact rap a proper SNL set as opposed to a glorified karaoke trip with an audience, “Berzerk” and “Survival” are now tainted until someone who was in the studio that night corroborates that the speakers on set told a different story than the ones on our televisions at home.
Maybe Lorne Michaels got an angry phone call from the label and has (yet another) behemoth of a PR nightmare on his hands, so Hulu took the clips down until it gets sorted. The disappearance of the Eminem SNL performance clips is unfortunate, because dude should be held accountable for a job poorly done — and SNL should be, too, for greenlighting it.
And we’re not alone in thinking so. With the exception of Eminem’s devoted (and vocal) fan base, the internet collectively scratched its head in confusion over the mystery du jour: The Case of Marshall Mathers’ Absent Rap Game.
All signs point to the fact that a legend DIDN’T perform on SNL last night, but okay.
Our thoughts exactly:
And when puns are left out of headlines? SRS BZNZ.
Hopefully the Nyquil made SNL a more enjoyable experience …
… or this. This would’ve made for a more enjoyable experience entirely.
You know that wide-eyed emoji with the ruddy cheeks? That one? Insert that here.
A “mrgh” heard ’round the world.
Will Ferrell raises a solid point:
And there’s really nothing to be said in the defense of Rick Rubin.
That jacket, though.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 4, 2013