Cold Opening – Trump Tower
- It still feels weird seeing Vanessa play Ivanka Trump, knowing that a certain future host will play her regularly starting with next season.
- A pretty dull, low-energy cold open so far, especially with Darrell’s snoozefest of an impression being the center of it. Aside from Bobby’s always-fun Chris Christie, nothing is working for me here.
- Great to see the return of Jay’s hilarious Ben Carson impression. Sadly, this is his final appearance ever.
- Much like Bobby, Jay is bringing some good energy to this dull cold open with his fun performance.
- Boy, was that one poorly-timed group LFNY.
- This cold open turns out to be, thankfully, the final appearance of Darrell’s Trump, as he’ll be replaced starting with next season with a certain SNL hosting legend who would go on to play the GOP nominee, and afterwards president for the next four-and-a-half seasons, of which I covered the final half season on this blog. I’ll, of course, have my problems with his version, but at least it’s better, to me at least, than this dull, stuck-in-2004, lethargic impression.
- Much like in his previous hosting stint, Drake is already coming off very likable and with great stage presence.
- A pretty flimsy premise for this musical monologue, with it revolving around memes about Drake. Yet, I’m sure he’ll make it fun with his natural charisma.
- Some ok laughs from some of the memes, although some of them are kinda eye-rolling, like that Obama one, and the one with Drake on a wheelchair.
- Aidy steals the monologue with the cutaway to her in that costume.
- A good, fun monologue, and Drake actually made it better than it could’ve been.
- It feels bittersweet in hindsight seeing Jay in a lead role, as we are almost at the end of his tenure.
- Good straight man reactions from Beck & Vanessa to Drake’s character, and the latter is most certainly doing the best he can with the lines that he’s given; a testament to his talents.
- What’s with all of the wrong pronunciations by Jay’s character? Is that supposed to be amusing? Please don’t tell me which certain writer helped write this sketch…
- Drake & Jay are working well together here, and their chemistry is elevating the somewhat dull material.
- A random, weak ending.
American Ninja Warrior
- Man, as this season progresses, you could feel Beck getting more and more utility roles. It is no wonder poor Taran got fired after this season, as Beck easily took over his roles.
- Solid & spot-on sports anchor delivery from Beck & Drake.
- A big laugh from Bobby’s fall, especially the slow-mo footage & reactions from his fans.
- Very funny comment from Beck in regards to Bobby’s character’s ring name being the cause of his fails.
- I love the footage of Bobby’s character just running on the water & then losing his pants by the end.
Sexy Kinda Evening with Dennis Walls & The Cookies
- Hilarious reveal of Kyle standing behind Leslie.
- Good characterization & voice from Drake, but the sketch feels a bit low-energy so far, much like the lead-off sketch of the night, and the premise here seems a bit thin to pull off.
- I’m not really caring for the random gags in the sketch so far, and they are more eye-rolling & the bad kind of dumb, than actually being funny.
- At least Cecily, Drake, and Kate all look very attractive in the sketch, as the escalation is not working for me AT ALL. You could pull off this type of a sketch when you lean into the dumbness of it, instead of collapsing on it.
- Didn’t care much the whole ending with the revolving bed. Although, Drake, Cecily, and Kate did their best to sell the whole bit.
- I see that Taran is not even attempting to sound like Paul Ryan that much. Although, to be fair, he sounds better here than in that cut ad from two episodes ago. And wow, he’s JUST NOW making his very first appearance of the night, you could feel that the writing is on the wall in regards to his future on the show.
- The return of Beck’s breakout Baby Boss character, and this different setting for him seems to be promising.
- Like last time, Beck’s physical work as this character is very impressive and is providing tons of laughs.
- While some of the antics here feel a bit old hat at times, the long break & the solid straight man work from Drake & Taran are making this installment work just fine. I think it is a good thing that this turned out to be this sketch’s final installment.
Musical Performance – “One Dance”
- Jesse Nathan: Random Chris Rock appearance. This should turn out well…
- Kinda neat how the staging is reminiscent of the “Hotline Bling” video.
- Oof, that pretaped vocal of Kyla wasn’t audible AT ALL.
- Drake’s vocals are a tad bit off. And I don’t mean poor mixing, no. I mean that he’s barely on key when he starts.
- I usually like Drake’s R&B, but so far, his singing is boring me. Not sure if it’s because of his flow, or because the song isn’t really all that interesting to me. (*Jesse then remembers that this song was a #1 hit that year*) Typical.
- What’s the point of playing a pretaped vocal of Drake over his live vocals during the chorus?
- Cool lighting.
- What’s with Drake’s weird moves during the Kyla vocal?
- Drake’s vocals are a bit hard to hear during the second verse.
- Okay, now we get the addition of female backup dancers during the second chorus.
- Not caring for the dancing during this instrumental bridge. Feels like they’re trying to hype up a rather boring song, which is nothing new for Drake nowadays.
- Speaking of boring, this chorus.
- I had next to nothing to say there. Safe to say this performance was a bust.
- Good lord at the whole Trump posing as his own publicist portion early on.
- Great to see the return of Kate’s Olya, a character that I’ve always loved.
- A good, guilty laugh from Olya referring to Michael as “Black Colin”.
- Hoo boy at Olya comparing Trump to Putin, talk about Update feeling more and more like a history book rather than actual entertainment…
- Despite my quibble above, I’m still getting my usual laughs from this character, as Kate’s portrayal remains as likable & funny as ever.
- A great line from Olya about how God never blessed her, after Colin said to her “God bless you” after she sneezed. And I absolutely love that Kate delivered it in a dead serious, stern manner.
- Interesting to see yet another Leslie commentary so soon, and it is also quite interesting that Leslie opened up about how she tore her ACL in the Shanice Goodwin sketch a few episodes ago.
- Funny comment from Leslie regarding Lorne.
- Ah, here comes Jay in his final ever appearance behind the desk, as we’re almost at the end of his SNL tenure, unbeknownst to him and us at the time.
- That is one dead-on Jay-Z impression from Jay, absolutely uncanny.
- Man, just like the last time he appeared as himself behind the desk, Jay is coming of FANTASTIC here and extremely likable in his performance. This has been quite the solid season in general for Jay, between his Update appearances, and his hilarious Ben Carson impression, he seemed to be reaching the peak of his tenure, even though we all didn’t know that this would sadly be his final year on the show. At least he would go on top, which is a thing that I can’t say about his fellow veteran Taran Killam, as this has been a mediocre season for him to leave on.
- Very funny string of impressions from Jay, and the way he transitions between them is both impressive and very entertaining.
- Ah, and here comes Drake joining Jay in his commentary, and this is one of the more charming and fun “an impersonator being confronted by who he impersonates” moment in recent SNL history.
- Another killer commentary from Jay this season. And this is the way that I choose to see him end his tenure on, and to get his final showcase behind the desk; the same place he broke out in his very first episode, seems like a circle being completed. Goodbye Jay, thanks for the many laughs over the years.
- An interesting twist to this installment, and a good usage of Drake’s Canadian roots.
- Funny line from Kenan about Jay-Z & Beyoncé, in regards to her Lemonade song.
- A pretty funny back-and-forth between Kenan and Drake, regarding the latter’s accent being different than Kenan and the others.
- Man, that’s one hot audience in tonight’s show, you could tell that Drake is somewhat both amused by them, and kinda taken aback by how hot they are. Some super fans of his in 8H tonight, that’s for sure.
- A pretty good installment overall, even though it is nowhere as memorable as the upcoming Tom Hanks & Chadwick Boseman ones, those two always stood to me as this recurring sketch’s zenith.
- A very fun premise for our obligatory music short with Drake.
- I’m enjoying how more and more trivial the incidents that cause Drake to go on and diss the cast members that are supposedly offending him as this short progresses.
- A particularly hilarious part between Drake & the cleaning lady, and the latter absolutely steals the entire short without even saying a word.
- I love that Drake is now going after Lorne, of all people, and his angry rap about him is possibly my favorite in the entire short.
- Great, fun piece overall, and a perfect usage of Drake’s rapping skills.
Musical Performance – “Hype”
- Jesse Nathan: Okay, so after a slow jam, we’re now getting an uptempo rap. That’s cool, as Drake is usually great in that field, but unfortunately, this intro is kinda boring. We’ll see how the rest of the performance plays out.
- Cool staging.
- Ah, luckily, the boring instrumental is being livened up by Drake’s rapping, and I really like his flow.
- Damn at a lot of these lyrics.
- Rhyming “next to me” with “next to me” with “next to me”. Very clever. [/end sarcasm/]
- “Don’t you see RiRi right next to me?” Uh…no. No, I don’t.
- There are a lot of lyrics in this song that have me thinking to myself “Oof” or “Damn”.
- Weak chorus.
- The lyrics in the second verse are honestly a bit hard for me to interpret, unlike the first verse.
- “I hate a goofy especially.” What?
- It’s over already? I wanted to like that more than I actually did.
- Drake is looking like Hulk Hogan here, which I’m most certain that it was intentional on SNL’s part.
- The setting of this sketch reminds me of that absolutely wretched Junior Prom sketch from season 38, but Drake’s character seems a bit more fun than everything in that aforementioned dead vibes, pointless sketch.
- A very dumb, questionable premise, but a one that always worked for me personally. Maybe due to how charismatic Drake always is and how he can manage to elevate the material that he’s given.
- I almost forgot that Taran is still in the cast, given how Beck had pretty much taken over his utility roles as the season progressed, and how he barely did anything in this episode.
- A goofy, but funny ending with Drake & Taran.
Cut For Time: Work Banter
- A rare and fun pairing of Bobby & Beck in a live sketch.
- A simple premise, but a one that is refreshingly simple rather than dull in its simplicity.
- Drake is doing a very good job as the foil to Bobby & Beck’s characters, and the various interactions between them are fun, and are escalating properly.
- A pretty big laugh from Drake’s voice and delivery of his Pinocchio line.
- An overall simple, yet solid sketch. How this sketch didn’t make it on the air, while some weaker material did early on in the episode is pretty baffling to me. This was a fine, calm sketch that would’ve worked well in the pre-Weekend Update of the show.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
American Ninja Warrior
CFT: Work Banter
Sexy Kinda Evening with Dennis Walls & The Cookies
- A fine episode, especially as we reach Weekend Update, as it went by smoothly afterward for the rest of the night. While only few segments stood to me as strong, not many stood to me as weak too. After we go pass the shaky portions early on in the night that is. Much like his first hosting stint, Drake gave strong, committed performances all night long, and elevated some of the material he was given by extant. While not as strong as his first hosting stint, this was still a good episode, and it makes Drake 2-for-2 in terms of fun episodes. I’m very surprised how he didn’t return to host one more time at least during this era.
- It’s the season 41 finale hosted by eleven-year cast member Fred Armisen with musical guest Courtney Barnett. It is also the end of the road for Taran Killam, Jay Pharaoh and Jon Rudnitsky on the show.
2 Replies to “May 14, 2016 – Drake (S41 E20)”
God, Drake is so fun to watch on SNL. I have my issues with him as a performer (which I’ve noted in my performance reviews), but from what I’ve seen of his first stint, I’ve enjoyed most of it, mostly due to his performances. Hell, he even managed to make Rahat somewhat tolerable (the key word being “somewhat”).
Yeah, I love both of Jay’s commentaries this season, and his various impressions in both crack me up. His brief interaction with Drake is more tolerable than most of these confrontation bits, and it has a bit of a fun atmosphere.
Drake’s Beef is very funny with how he raps so hardcore about things that wouldn’t make one angry, and I love the running bit with him praising Josh Gad, of all goddamn people.
And as always, the averages:
Cyrus – 5.5
Schumer – 6.6
Morgan – 8.2
Trump – 4.2
Banks – 8.3
McConaughey – 5.8
Gosling – 7.2
Hemsworth – 6.0
Fey and Poehler – 7.1
Driver – 7.7
Rousey – 6.5
David – 7.8
McCarthy – 6.6
Hill – 5.0
Grande – 6.3
Dinklage – 8.3
Crowe – 5.5
Louis-Dreyfus – 7.5
Larson – 6.6
Drake – 6.1
Cold Open ***
Rent A Car **½
Enjoyed some portions, but an overall weak sketch.
American Ninja Warrior ****½
Another Bobby Moynihan role that cracked me up. Beck and Drake were good on their roles as well.
Drake’s Beef *****
Awesome from start to finish.