Saturday Night Live S41, E20: Drake Pulls Double Duty

I remember first seeing Drake on Saturday Night Live during my first season of watching the show as it aired. He made an extra appearance on Weekend Update to sing a song with Jay Pharoah about stealing candy from kids and teenagers on Halloween. Seeing as it’s far from Halloween, I doubt that we’ll see that again, but maybe we’ll see a recurring sketch from his hosting gig from the thirty-ninth season. 

Cold Opening: As soon as I heard the weird news about Drumpf posing as his own spokesman, I knew that SNL would have to do something about it. This week’s opening stars the brilliant combination of Bobby Moynihan as Chris Christie and Darrell Hammond as Donald Drumpf. I enjoyed it, as a weird conversation between two funny people. The cast members, that is, not the politicians. Seeing Moynihan’s Christie desperately suck up to Donald in order to be the vice president is great. Still, it wasn’t in a parody of The Apprentice, which prevents me from giving the sketch a perfect review. Hey, Lorne Michaels, call me. The Apprentice meets the GOP candidates.

Monologue: Great, another musical monologue. I know the second half of the season has been fairly light on them, but they’re not my favorite. This particular song isn’t the best, featuring Drake singing about the Internet making fun of him through ‘memes.’ It doesn’t help that the word ‘meme’ irritates me. Even having to type it bugs me. Oh, well.

Car Salesman: Hoo, boy. Basically, a pair of fiancees try to get a car from a store. The employee continually acts like a jerk. Has this sketch been done before? Something about it feels vaguely familiar, and at the same time intensely annoying. It also feels misogynist, due to Drake and Jay Pharoah’s characters insulting the bride-to-be.

American Ninja Warrior: YES, more Bobby Moynihan! I love slapstick comedy, and this sketch is chock full of it. Bobby plays a contestant on American Ninja Warrior who wants to succeed to help his town, which was destroyed by a tornado. It’s so sad, but the more he fails, the funnier it gets.

Sexy Kinda Evening With Dennis Walls And The Cookies: Presented as a PBS show from the seventies, the sketch is allegedly a romantic show. However, the footstools are too small, the mike makes the host, played by Drake, sound like a chipmunk, the prop saxophone is a toy, and the spinning bed is dangerously fast. I didn’t have high hopes about the sketch when it first started, but the amount of visual gags won me over.

Man With The Body Of A Baby: Political Edition: GOOD LORD, YES! This is one of my favorite recurring characters. According to Beck Bennett himself, the character was done at his audition for the show. I’m so happy to see it return. Basically, the character of Mr. Patterson is a grown man with the body of a baby. He looks like an adult, but acts like a child. The concept is simple, but I’m doing a bad job of explaining it. You just have to see it for yourself. Beck is absolutely hysterical. Standout moments in the sketch include Mr. Patterson pulling out a gun, randomly taking his pants off, and crawling around. I’m calling this one as the best sketch of the night.

Weekend Update: First, the guests. Kate McKinnon’s Olya Povlatsky is always good for a laugh. It says something that almost all of the recent good Update characters have horrible lives. It’s even better when she starts making fun of Trump. Leslie’s piece was pretty interesting, if slightly repetitive at times. Jay Pharoah’s piece was basically just an excuse to show off a pretty impressive series of rapid-fire impressions. Drake’s brief appearance to critique Jay’s impersonation really felt unnecessary, as it didn’t add anything to the bit. As for Colin and Michael, some of the jokes about the recent bathroom bills controversy were not very funny, but others were fairly good. One of the highlights include a really great joke about Domino’s.

Black Jeopardy: Finally, Kenan gets some screen time. The sketch had some neat social commentary about how we perceive race in different countries, but the onslaught of irritating Canadian jokes overshadowed it. Unless you really want to watch it, I don’t recommend it. Previous iterations of the sketch were better.

Drake’s Beef: I love it when the SNL crew makes fun of themselves in behind the sketches. This takes it one step further with a weird music video. After various minor slights behind the scenes, it cuts to Drake insulting them through rap. Lorne Michaels even appears as himself.

Spring Fling: At first, I mistook this for another edition of the “Principal Frye” sketch, where Jay Pharoah would announce disastrous things during a dance. During a school dance, Drake plays a teacher who encourages students to dance through bizarre metaphors. In all of them, his past self leaves the dance and goes to reprimand known criminals, then drink with them. The ending just makes it even weirder, as a version of himself from fifteen years ago, played by Taran Killam, pops up and they leave to go get drunk. The sketch went from awkward to mildly funny, then right back to awkward. Honestly, I wish it was another Principal Frye sketch. I know they enjoy putting the weirder sketches at the end of the show, but even a purely weird concept needs some coherence.

Musical Performance: I liked his rapping in the music video. As for the actual performances, I’m not sure.

Overall: Not counting some stinkers in the beginning, this episode turned out to be pretty good. Some of the choices really confused me, such as the bizarre final sketch. Additionally, why would you have Chris Rock make a cameo purely to introduce the first musical performance and not appear in any of the sketches? He’s an SNL star. Also, why not mention him during the goodnights? Typically, any guest appearances are mentioned. Did Chris Rock suddenly become a cast member again? Despite all that, I would recommend the episode. It’s definitely better than Drake’s previous attempt at hosting the show.

Other: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it felt as if the recent branding announcement might have started early. Three sketches right in a row, and one parodied an NBC reality show that happens to be returning to the airwaves.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.