Wow, that was a lot of jokes about Canada, right? I don’t remember that many jokes about Canada the first time Drake hosted. Anyway, here is your penultimate Scorecard of the season.
Sketch of the Night
“Chaperone” (Drake, ensemble) This made absolutely no sense. I love that Drake plays a character named Shane and was dressed as Hulk Hogan for no apparent reason? You know, the more I write about this sketch, the more I like it. Shane even made a Wallflowers joke.
“American Ninja Warrior” (Drake, Bennett, Moynihan, Thompson, Bryant, Mooney) I wasn’t expecting this to make me laugh, but this made me laugh! This goes all to Bobby Moynihan’s sheer determination to do a good pratfall. And, man, those were good. The image of Bobby Moynihan trying to run across the water is really just the funniest thing.
“Weekend Update” (Jost, Che, McKinnon, Jones, Pharoah, Drake) I’ve noticed that almost every week lately I give “Weekend Update” a “7.” I’m not sure what to make of that. I think it’s a good thing, especially after the problems “Update” had last year. It’s just really consistent now. I now know it’s going to be “good,” but probably with few surprises. And McKinnon, Pharoah and Jones all had great segments. Sure, we’ve seen all of those characters and impressions before, but it’s still good. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m trying to say here or what this even means, but maybe, right now, it’s just better that “Update” be consistent. And it is.
“Office Boss” (Bennett, Drake, Killam) Over last summer, Beck Bennett made a film about his weight loss. And he looks good! But he looks less like “a baby” now. This is a good thing! Eh, whatever, who cares? It’s still funny. And I think this is one of those sketches that always plays really well in the studio.
“Black Jeopardy” (Thompson, Pharoah, Zamata, Drake) This is a theme of the entire night: Something was off. I usually love “Black Jeopardy,” but this tie, it was just … fine. Honestly, I think it was the Canadian jokes. If this had been the only sketch of the night with Canadian jokes, maybe it would have worked better, but there were a lot of Canada jokes. (And the self-referential Drake joke was just a mistake. Any time SNL has a guest host playing a character who is talking about himself or herself, it’s always the most awkward thing. I think the host always thinks it’s self-deprecating, but it never comes off that way.)
“Drake’s Beef” (Drake, ensemble) This was clever. The tone did seem a little off.
“Dennis Walls and the Cookies” (Drake, Strong, McKinnon, Jones, Mooney) I don’t get it, this is another “this should have been funnier, right?” kind of sketch. Everything seemed to be in place, but it just came off a little disjointed. There was no flow. This seemed to be the theme for the evening.
“Drake Monologue” (Drake, Bryant, Rudnitsky) This should have been funnier, right? Something seemed off. I mean, we all love Drake memes! And here’s Drake singing about his memes. But for whatever reason, it didn’t hit. It was a good idea though.
“Rental Car” (Drake, Bayer, Bennett, Pharoah) I’m not sure what happened here. At least if it were the ten to one sketch, it could be labeled “weird.” Jay Pharoah’s voice made me a little uncomfortable. I’d laugh at the way he’d add these weird “errrrrs” to his words, but the other, more effeminate aspects, I just wish SNL would get away from that. Speaking of Pharoah (who has had a pretty great season), are we really going to go the entire season without seeing Obama? I think we are, aren’t we?
“Cold Open: Donald Trump/Chris Christie” (Hammond, Moynihan, Pharoah) It’s a shame the story about Donald Trump posing as his own publicist broke so late in the week, because that aspect just seemed kind of dropped in to a pre-existing sketch about Trump picking a vice president. Oh well. Listen, SNL doesn’t know what to do with Trump. No one does. It’s still a great mystery. A couple of weeks ago, the parody Donald Trump Twitter account was tweeting that Ted Cruz was the Zodiac, while the real Trump was tweeting that Ted Cruz’s dad helped kill JFK. Seriously, you can’t top him. (Though, Moynihan yelling, “He’s a god!,” about Bruce Springsteen was really great.)
Average Score for this Show: 5.75
· Ariana Grande 7.21
· Tracy Morgan 7.12
· Larry David 7.08
· Elizabeth Banks 6.98
· Amy Schumer 6.53
· Peter Dinklage 6.37
· Chris Hemsworth 6.35
· Brie Larson 6.17
· Ryan Gosling 6.07
· Adam Driver 5.98
· Tina Fey and Amy Poehler 5.90
· Melissa McCarthy 5.79
· Matthew McConaughey 5.78
· Drake 5.75
· Julia Louis-Dreyfus 5.71
· Russell Crowe 5.56
· Miley Cyrus 5.41
· Ronda Rousey 5.09
· Jonah Hill 4.80
· Donald Trump 4.48
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.