SNL: Drake – Was That Chris Rock? (Review)

Saturday Night Live - Season 41

Another ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL) another musical host doing double duty and to give Canadian rapper Drake credit he manages to get four tunes crammed into the show. In the first proper number, Chris Rock popped up to announce the rapper. Nice split second cameo by Rock who must be a fan.

Drake had the world’s shortest spoken monologue as it morphed into a rap about the performer being turned into memes on the Internet and it was funny. Mad props to the man Amanda Bynes had a love/hate Twitter crush on. The singer/songwriter has a self-depreciating sense of humor and he used it well.

The rapper/singer/songwriter did a pretty good job on the show, but unfortunately the material was a little lacking. The Jeopardy riff, sans Alex Trebek (or Will Farrell), was funny, it poked fun at Drake’s Canadian background and there were some pretty funny bits; like Drake using “fam” and giving Canadian answers to “American questions.”

It is interesting to note that Canadian rapper slang appears to have much in common with British gangster slang: Fam (family, gang), Beef (argument, problem) Blood (Bruh), et al. Another one of the skits, where the performer sneaks in another rap, is Drake’s Beef:

One of the funniest sketches of the evening has Drake as a secondary character to Beck Bennett as the “man-baby” (a recurring character for the SNL regular) and Bennett was truly hysterical. The gun and the signing paperwork on the floor had me in stitches. Admittedly it took some time for this comic’s baby act to amuse but the presidential replacement candidate gag was just perfection. Sadly it is not available to share from the SNL YouTube channel.

Bobby Moynihan as Captain Tornado was excellent. Poking fun at American Ninja was a great followup skit to Drake as the “drama queen” car rental clerk with no cars. In that particular skit, Drake was quite good but it was Jay Pharoah who killed it as the eclectic manager who offers up his own car for the price of a 2015 convertible.

Moynihan did provide a more consistent SNL moment, or two, with his “doing it for my peeps” contestant who loses his dignity in the competition:

Pharoah comes back and kills it later in the Weekend Update with more of his impressions, including his “Drake.” Although Jay had competition from McKinnon’s Russian peasant woman. Kate actually tied with Jay with her aggressive “blank-stare” which she directed to Colin Jost after his “God bless you,” and her response of “He never has and he never will.”

While Pharoah and McKinnon killed it with their respective guest spots on Update, it was Jost’s “Bathroom Bill” gag that not only won him a personal best on the news segment but the show as well and quite possibly for the entire season:

Drake’s dual function as host and musical guest was better than Russell Crowe‘s single function (You had one job Russell…) and while Drake was not hysterically funny, he was good enough. Sneaking those extra musical numbers into the show no doubt helped.

Black Jeopardy was funny although not as crushingly funny as the old Celebrity Jeopardy skits. The sketch did, however, prove that in term of American culture, if it is does not happen within these borders it does not exist. Slyly funny and, as mentioned above, a chance to see how well the old Canadian commonwealth resembles the UK in terms of language.

The PBS skit, that featured Drake in a “Tony Orlando” type get up with two female backup singers was a bit of a miss as was the chaperone sketch. The latter skit was the show’s closing comedic offering and it was not the best gag in the show.

Drake’s turn at hosting and singing for an episode was better than some of the other season 41 offering and had the added bonus of SNL alumnus Chris Rock popping up to introduce Drake’s first proper musical number.This was the penultimate episode of the season and the finale will air next week where the projected host is another SNL alumnus Fred Armisen and the musical guest will be Courtney Barnett.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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