Drake proved last night that he hasn’t let those Degrassi acting skills grow rusty during his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live, channeling a range of characters from a dorky dad at a slumber party to a smitten high school student in detention and a weed-extoling Katt Williams, in addition to packing in Nothing Was the Same tracks as musical guest. The rapper started off on a strong foot, playing Alex Rodriguez in the Piers Morgan cold open, announcing his plans to sue everyone from Major League Baseball to steroids (“for being inside of me”) while attributing his incriminating text messages to autocorrect mishaps. The sketch also featured Bobby Moynihan as a barely-repentant Chris Christie and a hilarious turn by Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber addressing his recent egg-throwing debacle.
Drake brought his easy Canadian charm to an opening monologue in which he repped his hometown (“The city of Toronto, where the rappers are polite and the mayor smokes crack”), apologized for coining the phrase “YOLO” (“I did not realize your annoying friends and coworkers would us it so much”) and flashed back to his bar mitzvah.
The rapper’s combination of lyrical flow and comic timing carried the “Resolution Revolution” digital short, almost as much as the image of Drake LARPING in a wizard costume did.
But the night’s true gem was “Hip-Hop Classics: Before They Were Stars,” which played on Drake’s teen-drama resume by exploring some other, lesser-known acting debuts. Taran Killam plays Eminem in a jarring turn on Felicity, Jay Pharoah stars in the Disney hit That’s So 2-Chainz, Kenan Thompson does Flavor Flav providing the adult voice of Fred Savage on The Wonder Years, and new cast member Sasheer Zamata plays Rihanna in a Barbados reboot of Blossom. Above all, there was the sinister grace of Drake, playing Lil Wayne as the original Steve Urkel on Family Matters and Jay Z learning to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano on Mr. Wizard.