Given that it is the first show of the year, you would think that “Saturday Night Live” would come out with a bang. However, that is only rarely the case. Last year, the Jennifer Lawrence hosting gig was mostly just interesting because she’s a big star; before that, the Charles Barkley gig was most just interesting because it came after football and a ton of people watched it.
Tonight, we had Drake starting off the year, and he was decent … but not exactly a revelation. While he did a good bit with his material given to him, we didn’t really see the material go too far down a particularly brave road. His duties mostly included rapping / making fun of other famous people.
We also want to spend a minute beforehand talking about new cast member Sasheer Zamata, Was she solid in her first show? Sure, but the interesting thing about her is that we don’t really think anyone is going to be too happy. Fans of hers are probably bummed that she really didn’t have that much to do despite appearing in a good many sketches; meanwhile, “SNL” veterans are probably somewhat surprised that the show bucked tradition, and gave a new cast member a ton of screen time right away.
“Piers Morgan Tonight” opening – It’s pretty interesting that we liked this, since most of the impressions were horrible. But, we give most of the credit to the writers for giving Drake (as Alex Rodriguez) great lines, and for Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber just doing so many facial expressions that we cracked up regardless. Now, let’s forget that the impression of Chris Christie ever happened.
Before they Were Hip-Hop Classics – A pretty funny idea, mostly because it was at least a chance for some decent impressions. While we enjoyed Drake doing Lil Wayne doing Steve Urkell, watching Taran Killam play Eminem also perfectly was the best moment of the night to us.
Resolution Revolution – Not the best pre-taped video ever, but a funny look at just how quickly folks tend to give up on their New Year’s resolutions after making them. The winner her is probably again Killam, who ate various foods like a madman.
Weekend Update – A good, but not amazing edition of the show. The big winners were some of the jokes, even though Nasim Pedrad still does a great Arianna Huffington and the Jacqueline Bisset bit was fairly entertaining.
Indiana Jones – A very silly sketch after the break, and a great performance here by Drake as a character that we have seen so many times in real life: A Disney employee who is forced to hype up some event that is corny, and a volunteer who is really horrible. He carried it with his energy, and those shorts were probably the most ridiculous costume yet.
Morning Miami – We really are starting to find charm in this recurring sketch, mostly because of the writing of the little teases that this grumpy news crew is doing. Drake’s reading of these lines was also perfect, and good evidence that when given the right stuff, he was a pretty excellent host.
Drake monologue – Okay, so watch the video below from Funny or Die featuring Kat Graham. The “Black and Jewish” thing has already been done! Therefore, it feels almost like “SNL” thought that they had this really original thing here with Drake when it didn’t.
Slumber party – A nice little showcase for Aidy Bryant to act somewhat ridiculous, but the problem here is that we really didn’t laugh at all during it.
Nancy Grace – Easily the worst sketch of the night. The Nancy Grace impression from Noel Wells was actually not bad, but the “babies” tagline didn’t really work. Just not great writing, and it’s a shame since it was finally a chance for her to really shine in something.
Poetry – This bit only got funny towards the very end, mostly because of Vanessa Bayer sounding like a dolphin as she started to get very exciting about this poem Drake wrote for her about older women.
I Know – These little skits featuring Kyle Mooney and company are usually more weird than they are funny, and they don’t completely fit the tone of the rest of the show. Also, is this all that we are ever going to be seeing Kyle Mooney do?
In the end, Drake did a pretty good job with what he had, and this show ends up as a mixed back. We liked a lot of it, but the good sketches don’t make up for all the bland ones. Grade: B-.
What did you think about this “SNL” episode, and was Drake a good host in your eyes? Share below, and click here if you want to see some other highlights from the fall half of this season.