In 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt set the gold standard for lip sync battles when he demolished Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Merchant with a performance of Nicki Minaj’s “Superbass” on The Tonight Show. Since that seminal performance, the beloved recurring sketch became its own TV show on Spike, spawning plenty of insane moments, and LL Cool J GIFs. But nothing has quite filled the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-sized hole in our hearts since his masterful lip sync all those years ago. Until now.
The lip-sync master himself stopped by the show to face off against (and destroy) Anthony Mackie, whose performance of MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” was nothing to sneeze at. But it didn’t hold a candle to Gordon-Levitt’s performance of Janet Jackson’s 1989 banger “Rhythm Nation”. With full makeup, a glorious ponytail, and a horde of background dancers all wearing the same minimal/dystopian black jumpsuit from Jackson’s original music video, JGL swept the mother-funking rug right out from under Mackie, LL Cool J, and the entire audience.
Not only does Joseph Gordon-Levitt completely capture young Janet’s emotive hurricane with his lip-sync, but he MEMORIZED THE ENTIRE CHOREOGRAPHED DANCE FROM THE ORIGINAL MUSIC VIDEO. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Cool J and Mackie both dropped their jaws to the floor before JGL even made it to the chorus. I think this means that the man is the undisputed king of the Rhythm Nation.
For reference, check out the OG music video below:
Motivated to work on your dance moves? Impressed by how well Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls of that ponytail/jumpsuit combo? Confused by the magnitude of sheer excellence? Sound off in the comments below!