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.
“Slumber Party” is what happens when Aidy Bryant’s character from “Girlfriends Talk Show” turns into a horny adult who doesn’t know how to properly release the tension. She’s a ticking time bomb of passion, and the passion is ready to explode all over Drake, or a pillow. Whatever works. I like the reveal that Bryant is 25, not 13, courtesy of a Vicodin coma, but dear god, that’s tragic. Girl just wants to get in on with Drake’s mustache.
WEEKEND UPDATE: JACQUELINE BISSET
A week ago, most people (Bullitt fans excluded) had no idea who Jacqueline Bisset is. Now, she’s being mocked on SNL for acting like an wild-haired, insane woman at the Golden Globes. Being famous is the best.
DISNEY WORLD SHOW
This is why rappers shouldn’t wear shorts. Or bright polo shirts. And bright polo shirts with shorts. If this whole acting and rapping thing doesn’t work out for Drake, here are some other jobs he might want to take a look at: air boat tour guide, movie theater ticket-taker, pottery class instructor, overly helpful mall kiosk manager. The possibilities are endless. (As for “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular,” eh, still better than Crystal Skull.)
Miss Meadows isn’t a character viewers were demanding to return, but sure, she can come back, the operative word being “come.” The premise is the same: bad poems, say the word “OK,” then get turned on by a student’s poem. Drake’s ode to older women was highly seductive, but I’ll take “HELL YEAH” any day. HELL YEAH.
The original “Mornin’ Miami” is one of the best things SNL has done this season, or any season. The sequel isn’t as spectacular — it can’t be, since the escalating weirdness was a total surprise the first time ’round — but there are still some great teasers in here, many coming from the immortal Burt Fingerblast. (Where was Bobby the rest of the night? Is he too famous now, with that Chozen money rolling in?) Though Kate gets the line of the night: “Jeanne Tripplehorn is back from the dead to tell us how we were wrong and she was never dead in the first place!”
Not one of Kyle and Blake’s strongest efforts, “I Know” never really took off, unless you consider Kyle’s soul leaving his momentarily-lifeless body taking off, in which case, it took off, then immediately stalled. It’s their first mini-dud of the season, so they’re forgiven; plus, hey, neither one of them wore shorts, so it’s all good.
I don’t know if Team Jhene Aiko is a thing, but it is now.