Drake tries so hard, you guys. He labors over his lyrics, taking months where other rappers take weeks, and even when he’s out of the recording studio, and in Studio 8H, it’s clear he wants to impress every last person in the audience, and at home. Most people couldn’t get away this; their trying would reek of desperation. But Drake, somehow, is charismatic enough that he can get away with it. Maybe it’s his natural goofiness (dude’s a black Jewish rapper from Canada — he’s the punchline for a million Def Jam comedy jokes), or maybe it’s because he learned how to play to the camera during his time on Degrassi, but Drake made for a solid SNL host, despite the neediness.
Nowhere was that more obvious than in the Indiana Jones sketch. It was AWFUL, but Drake’s intense enthusiasm never waned — even when the audience clearly gave up on the Adventures of Rahat, he was still searching for a heartbeat (new Drake album title?), for a hint of life in a dead premise. Also, he agreed to wear shorts. #yolo
As far as cold opens where SNL shoves three weeks of news items, including Chris Christie’s bridge scandal, A-Rod’s suspension, and Justin Bieber’s never-ending douchiness, into one sketch, they’ve done worse. Special mention goes to Kate McKinnon for proving that yes, Bieber IS a 30-year-old lesbian.
“GIVE ME OUR SHORTEST WOMAN TO PLAY NANCY GRACE” — Lorne Michaels.
The studio audience was having none of Noël Wells’s fairly decent impression of Nancy Grace, for some reason. She didn’t do a bad job; it’s just hard to mock someone who’s already a walking, shrieking punchline. Grace is interviewing bakery owners and Katt Williams, obviously, about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, probably because Drake told the writers he could do a Katt Williams impression. And he can, right down to the constant hair swoops. This sketch isn’t as good as it could have been, but it’s not a dud, either.
Welcome to SNL, Sasheer Zamata. She wasn’t asked to do too much — think of this way: she provided the hook, but didn’t get a verse of her own — but she blended into the cast fairly well, and seems like a nice addition to the show. Anyway, “Resolution Revolution” ended on an incredibly strong note, but overall, it’s not so much hilarious as it is still stuck in my head the next morning. Between this and “Boy Dance Party,” SNL needs a soundtrack.