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Drake and the New Female Cast Member, Sasheer Zamata, Impress in 2014's First 'Saturday Night Live'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 19, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 19, 2014 |

Cold Open — In the Piers Morgan Cold Open, Bobby Moynihan’s Chris Christie is about what you’d expect, but Drake does a very fun Alex Rodriguez impersonation, attempting to blame his phone’s autocorrect for the hundreds of texts suggesting he was doing steroids. Kate McKinnon buttons the sketch with an outstanding Justin Bieber, reinforcing why it is we all think that Bieber looks like Ellen DeGeneres. Kate McKinnon is the bridge. (Score: 6/10)

Drake’s Monologue — This is basically an introduction of Drake to a lot of viewers, who maybe don’t follow hip hop, and he explains that he’s both black and Jewish, and then takes us back to his Bar Mitzvah, which featured a fantastic Jewish rap to both sides of his family. I didn’t love the sketch, but Drake comes off as very charming, affable and earnest (or what we like to call “Canadian.”) (Score: 6/10)

Before They Were Stars, Hop Edition

Did you know that Eminem was in Felicity, or that Urkel was originally played by Lil Wayne? Or that Rihanna was the original Blossom? The sketch gives us our first look at Sasheer Zamata (as Rihanna), and it’s the must-see sketch of the night.I don’t know how 2 Chainz is, but he’s great at school dances. (Score: 9/10)


Nancy Grace

The Nancy Grace sketch pokes fun at this report from Friday night, and lookie here: New castmember Noël Wells is now playing Nancy Grace. I like her, but I’m not sure it’s even possible to spoof Grace. In fact, if you’d never seen either one, you might think that Nancy Grace was lampooning Noël Wells’ version of Grace. But, again, Drake delivers a surprisingly credible Katt Williams, and steals the sketch. Drake’s definitely going to be asked back to host. (Score: 6/10)

Resolution Revolution

In this breaking New Year’s resolution sketch, Sasheer Zamata gets her first speaking role (or singing, rather) and she’s great, but the whole rap is brilliant, right down to Jay Pharoah’s blow-up doll humping. For the record, the moment Drake came out in cosplay is the moment that I officially became a fan of Drake. (Score: 8/10)

Slumber Party

Another sketch with Sasheer Zamata (she’s now had more screentime than two of the new cast members that debuted in the fall), this slumber party goes in an unexpected direction when Aidy Bryan’s Melanie develops a huge crush on the lame Dad (Drake) at a slumber party. (Score: 6/10)

Drake: Started From The Bottom and Trophies

Don’t quit your day job, Drake (his day job is acting, right?)

Weekend Update

Cecily Strong crush still going strong.

Weekend Update: Jacqueline Bisset

Jacqueline Bisset struggles to make her way to the Update desk to discuss her Golden Globe win. You don’t need to see this video, because you know exactly where it’s going to go.

Weekend Update: Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington stops by Weekend Update to discuss the Hillary Clinton Time magazine cover, as well as other potential 2016 presidential candidates, like “Paul Ryan, who looks like the guy accused of murder in the first ten minutes of every episode of Law & Order.” (Score: 5/10)

Disney World Show

Audience member Rahat — who doesn’t speak English — gets confused after being invited on stage for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Hijinx ensues. Not a great sketch, but Drake absolutely crushes it in the role of hapless Disney tour guide making the best of a bad situation. (Score: 5/10)

Poetry Teacher

A poetry teacher shows students how writing poetry can transport them to a place beyond detention. “SNL” characters designed to be annoying always run the risk of also annoying the audience, which is definitely the case here. (Score: 3/10)

Mornin’ Miami

A recurring sketch in which three exhausted news anchors struggle to get through their promo shoot. It is pretty much the same sketch as last time, with a slight twist in the end. It was funny the first time because it was surprising; not so much this time, if you’d seen it before, although Topher Grace jokes never get old. (Score: 4/10)

I Know

A know-it-all gets what’s coming to him, but doesn’t learn a lesson in another absurd Kyle Mooney sketch that kind of works. (Score: 6/10)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.