SNL 41: Drake Review
Last night's episode marked Drake's second time hosting SNL and third time as the musical guest, and it was a very Drake centric episode. SNL always tries to incorporate the host's life into sketches, but this episode was far too drake centric. Jokes bashing Drake, and Canada ran rampant, and he had two skits (including his opening monologue) where he sang, in addition to his two musical performances.
Speaking of over-focusing, SNL has been leaning heavily on Donald Trump all season, and while it is an election year, they could go one episode without making a dozen Trump jokes. They are pretty cheap, and the internet an media makes fun of him enough for it to be unique.
Overall, this was a middling episode, where they decided Drake would bring in a black audience and they leaned into it, heavily. It was also clear the cast was off their game. Leslie Jones admitted to an ACL injury from her ninja sketch a month ago and Jay Pharoah couldn't go a sketch without breaking.
Sketch of the Night
A reoccuring sketch that actually found a new tone. With the previous incarnations with Louis C.K. and Elizabeth Banks, the joke was to highlight that white people don't understand black references. This rendition featured Drake as a "black Canadian" who didn't like being pigeon-holed into American stereotypes of black people. However, the ending somewhat undercut this message, with his frustration culminating in him saying "You're judging me before you know me, it is making me so angry inside dog." which turns out to be the "Secret Black Phrase of the Day."
In the past episodes, this gimmick was used as a way of demonstrating how black people felt, and having the "outsider" finally understand this. However, using this ending for this episode seemed misjudged.
While not the best sketch, this one held the most substance of any of the sketches, and is one to meditate on.
Joke of the Night
"I have met this Donald Trump before...yes, every ten year, he comes to my village in the middle of the night to take a new wife."-Olya Pavlatsky
Recurring Character Watch
A fun slapstick sketch where an executive has the body of a baby that Beck Bennet plays excellently. I feel like they have done several of these over the past few years, but are still able to mine new material out of such a narrow concept.
It seems like Pharaoh has not gotten this much screen time in a while, but he managed to be in four sketches this episode. It is nice to see his Ben Carson return for what will probably be his last appearance, and his impression jamborees are always fun. However, he did manage to break during almost every sketch, and had some off timing during the Rental Car sketch.