Drake, SNL: Review Roundup, Video Highlights

May 15, 2016

Drake was host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live, marking his second such double-duty stint days after his ‘Views’ album was released. A successful night? The TV critics are weighing in and you can see a roundup of reviews and video highlights right here!


As both host and musical guest, the 29-year-old Grammy winning Canadian rapper and former ‘Degrassi’ star is among the ranks of very few over the years who have served in the double-duty role. Others include Paul Simon, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus, Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga among others.

This marks his second time around,. He last made an appearance nearly two and a half years ago, in the midst of SNL’s diversity crisis. The black female cast member Sasheer Zamata, made her debut that very night he hosted. He himself brought his own brand of diversity, as he spoofed his own Bar Mitvah during his monologue.

This time around he has a new album, although “new” is a somewhat relative term, as he first announced the album nearly two years ago, and thus began the long wait, even as his ‘Hotline Bling’ became an international hit, a viral video sensation and likely to become one of this decade’s pop cultural markers. His two mixtapes — If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ and ‘What a Time to Be Alive’– were somewhat like the cocktail party appetizers as we awaited the main course.

And, not surprisingly, he spoofed much of this in his opening monologue, as he performed a song lamenting how he has become an Internet meme for all of the above reasons, plus the many rumors of his romance with Rhianna, tossed in for good measure.

As for the political cold open, now that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, we’re left with that looming questions, who will be his VP pick. In the SNL alternative universe where Darrell Hammond is Trump and Bobby Moynihan is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the latter suggests none other than the Garden State’s native son, Bruce Springsteen.

Along the way, Chris Rock made a cameo appearance to introduce Drake’s first musical performance of the night. Counting the many, many commercials, the 90 minutes of air time has come and gone with Drake quite literally in just about every sketch.

Was the double-duty worthy of critical acclaim? Here’s a roundup of what the critics are saying.

“….Doing double duty for the second time, Drake, much like last time, proved an eager, agreeable host. If he’s no Timberlake in the host-musical guest pantheon, he clearly worked his a– off, appearing in every sketch but the cold open and doing two songs off of Views (he even popped up on Update). But sometimes performing effort is an enemy on SNL, and, as personable and game as Drake was, his wire-to-wire feat was more pleasant than electrifying. His inevitable musical monologue (humorously objecting to his constant meme-ification) was flat and off-key, and he relied too obviously on the cue cards. Still, not a bad outing—just a workmanlike one. …..” — A.V. Club

“….Some highlights, but we’re not going to say there were many classic sketches in here beyond the “American Ninja Warrior” spoof. Grade: B-…….” — CarterMatt

“… The Degrassi star-turned-rapper gave it his all upon his return to Studio 8H in his second double-duty stint as host and musical guest (in support of his new album Views). While the humor in some sketches might’ve been more questionable than, say, the level of acceptable funk on a song by Downtown Sasquatch, the Artist Formerly Known as Jimmy Brooks shined when asked to play a 1970s R&B singer, a rude rental car salesman and a rare black Canadian named Jared……” — TV Line

“….This was not an “SNL” for the record books. Drake‘s turn as host this time felt stiff. His musical performance was way better, but we’ll get to that later……” — The Wrap

“…. He held his own tonight in an episode that started slow but gained momentum as it went, consistently aided by Drake’s high energy performance…..” –HitFix

Yes, another episode has come and gone, to find its second life in viral video perpetuity…or not! Watch highlights and/or see the full episode video below from last night’s SNL with double-duty host and musical guest Drake!

Full Episode

Pictures: PR Photos

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