It’s a lot, shouldering the pressure of hosting Saturday Night Live and taking its oft-unforgiving stage as its musical guest. Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake have all excelled at this, and Saturday night, Drake trounced all of them as one of the most effortlessly enjoyable triple-threats to leave people wondering about why Aubrey Graham quit his day job in the first place.
See also: Miley Cyrus Redeems Herself on SNL
The opening monologue–which recounted Drake’s biracial bar mitzvah, name checks his Degrassi days and cracks a joke at the troubled mayor in his native Toronto in a minute and a half–was gold, and set a high standard for the rest of the episode that he made with each and every passing sketch. A sketch involving L’il Wayne as Steve Urkel would’ve been a disaster in the hands of any other host. Drake nailed it so hard the episode could’ve stopped in its tracks right there, but nope, it kept going, each moment more LOL-worthy than the last: Drake as Dad, Drake as Katt Williams, Drake as Unwilling Mornin’ Miami co-host, etc. When the numbers come in, the only thing surprising about Drake’s SNL hosting debut would be if he didn’t trounce Cyrus and Gaga ratings-wise. Timberlake’s efforts were nothing to sneeze at–dude wore giant cartoon hands and brought back the Barry Gibb Talk Show with Jimmy Fallon, for chrissakes–but he came across as more of a caricature than comedic triumph, and that’s where Drake’s got him beat.
(Also: Sasheer Zamata is the best and we’re really happy she’s the latest addition to the SNL cast. Congrats, Sasheer!)
First up for the musical performances: “Started from the Bottom.” Illuminated on an otherwise dark and empty stage, Drake seamlessly switched gears from funnyman to rap pro for the first single off Nothing Was The Same. Seguing further into “Trophies,” the most expressive eyebrows in hip-hop and the man who helms them barely broke a sweat while amping the pulse of the crowd at a steady climb.
The intensity of “Hold On We’re Going Home” was only compounded by the addition of Jhene Aiko for their smooth duet, “From Time.” It took a minute for Aiko to get on Drake’s level as she slowly got on track with the tempo, but their chemistry more than made up for it as they bounced back and forth with his-and-hers challenges of “What are you so afraid of?” The number of grown men and women who burst into school girl-worthy giggles upon Drake’s “Tell Lorne to cut to commercial break, love/so that we can make love” must’ve clocked in at 10,000 or more, and the dude definitely gets a zillion brownie points for working SNL‘s head honcho into a duet rife with sexual tension. (That may be the first time “Lorne” and “make love” have made their way into the same rap verse ever.)
It’s hard to tell what went over more brilliantly, his hit single, the sultry duet or Drake As Dad/Lil Wayne/Katt Williams or any of the other faces he happened to ace.
Seth Myers brought forth both the accolades and the trivia.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) January 19, 2014
Ariana Grande had #feelingz
How was Drake on SNL? I’m so sad I missed it.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 19, 2014
SNL‘s Aidy Bryant (one of our own personal favorite castmembers) couldn’t contain herself.
you guys, @Drake is THE BEST. THE BEST. THE BEST.
— Aidy Bryant (@aidybryant) January 19, 2014
Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij with some costume commentary:
Drake looks straight up Iranian in this “dad” costume.
— Rostam Batmanglij (@matsoR) January 19, 2014
tonight’s SNL summary: drake is Jewish, drake LARPs, drake is a DILF, drake wears shorts
— LW (@lindseyweber) January 19, 2014
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