The actor-turned-MC-turned-host donned a ridiculous hairpiece and slight Latin accent to spoof embattled New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez during an appearance on CNN’s “Piers Morgan” (Taran Killam). His defense against incriminating texts that linked him to the steroids that got him suspended? It was his iPhone’s autocorrect’s fault and oh, Jackie Robinson’s too, he said. (Kate McKinnon as scandal-plagued Justin Bieber is a must-see too.)
Back onstage looking clean-shaven at “SNL” boss Lorne Michaels’ request, Drake introduced himself as a native of Toronto, “where the rappers are polite and the mayor smokes crack.” He went on to use his monologue to apologize for sparking the shark-jumping acronym “Y.O.L.O.” and to explain the blending of the Jewish and Black sides of his family by reenacting his first Bar Mitzvah in 1999.
Dressed in a tuxedo shirt and vest with a yarmulke-topped afro, “young” Drizzy recited a Jewish prayer and rapped about playing ball like LeBron, knowing what a W-2 is, celebrating Hanukkah and dating a “Rihannukuh.”
Drake’s Impressive Impersonations
One of the biggest highlights of the broadcast was ‘Drake as Lil Wayne as Steve Urkel.’ In a skit titled “Hip Hop Classics: Before They Were Stars,” the OVO’s head owl expertly mimicked Weezy, who supposedly had a role on “Family Matters” before making his mark in hip-hop.
Drake also took on Jay Z, nailing his signature laugh and shouting out Brooklyn to “Mr. Wizard.” As funny as the sketch was, though, the writers committed a major faux pas with Kenan Thompson’s portrayal of MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway, who, according to them, works for rival network BET.
Another standout was Drake’s sidesplitting turn as a marijuana-advocating Katt Williams. Flipping his perm and rocking a green pimp suit, Drake told Noël Wells’ Nancy Grace that if weed was going to be legal in Colorado, she should consider him forever “Rocky Mountain high.”
Drake was in almost every sketch, diving head-first into bad hair, costumes and character. Cosplaying as a wizard? The Grammy winner rolled with it like a champ. Dressing up like Bill Cosby to play the straight-laced dad in an extremely awkward slumber party skit? Drake played it for all it was worth.
Then, of course, there were the shorts. The Nothing Was the Same spitter bravely wore camp counselor shorts and tube socks to play “Dalton” in an Indiana Jones adventure bit that, despite his valiant efforts, fell a little flat.
In a parody of the movie “Freedom Writers,” a bandana and nose ring-wearing Drake lands in detention for “banging the school librarian.” While there, he offers up a cringe-worthy poem called “Older Lady,” revealing his love of older women and how he searches for “mature” when looking at porn.
No Wheelchair Jimmy?
SNL didn’t make good on a much-hoped-for parody of “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” the Canadian TV show that gave the rapper born Aubrey Graham his start, playing wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks. With Drake’s enthusiastic performance of every character (good and bad), it would have been another slam dunk for the scene-stealing MC.
But though they passed on poking fun at Drake’s work on the teen drama, “SNL” scored points with African-American viewers with its unprecedented references to black pop culture during an episode that also marked the debut of Sasheer Zamata, the show’s first black female castmember since 2007, and the addition of two writers of the same demographic.
Perched in the center of a blacked-out Studio 8H stage, under a crimson spotlight, Drake led off with NWTS single “Started From the Bottom,” before segueing into the Hit-Boy-produced “Trophies.” For his second set, Drake served up “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” this time under a blue spotlight.
Before finishing the song, surprise guest Jhené Aiko emerged from stage left to help Drake with their duet “From Time.” There was definite chemistry between the two, as Drizzy channeled his “light-skinned Keith Sweat” persona, improving some of the lyrics to fit the situation: “You need you some of this Drake love” and “Tell Lorne cut to commercial break, love, so that we can make love.”
To close out his final performance, Drake urged the audience to make noise for the Sail Out chanteuse before grabbing her for a warm hug and kiss.