Drake started from the bottom and now he’s here… in disguise, and asking people how they feel about Drake.
After the rapper was announced as this year’s ESPYs host, Jimmy Kimmel slapped a fake beard on him and sent him out to the streets of LA. There, Drake asked ignorant passersby questions about the event, which won’t happen until July – all for a twist on Kimmel’s Lie Witness News bit,this time called I Witness News.
After a month-long vacation due to the Winter Olympics, Saturday Night Live returned this weekend with Jim Parsons making his first official trip to Rockefeller Center’s Studio 8H. It was the first episode since the fall of 2001 that didn’t include Seth Meyers, who started on Late Night last week, and Parsons shared the spotlight with Colin Jost, the show’s head writer, who now co-anchors “Weekend Update” with Cecily Strong.
That month-long hiatus may have helped Parsons, who had the competitive misfortune of following Melissa McCarthy, one of the show’s go-to hosts since breaking out in 2011′s Bridesmaids. A month later, her most recent appearance had faded from memory a tad, allowing Parsons to do his own thing without the bar being too high. In general, Parsons didn’t exactly try to shatter the public’s perception of him — which is, essentially, that he and his Big Bang Theory character Sheldon are one and the same.
It will be interesting to see if voters in our best-host poll will conclude that Parsons played it relatively too safe. He enters a contest that handicappers would describe as a two-horse race: Fallon versus McCarthy. The pair went down to the wire two years ago, when Fallon was elected the inaugural Mr. Saturday Night, and this year, another photo finish might be in the works. McCarthy currently leads after a solid debut, with 48.2 percent. Fallon held steady, with 24.9 percent, and will certainly close the gap as McCarthy comes back to the pack. Josh Hutcherson, like Peeta in The Hunger Games, just keeps hanging around, jumping up to third place with 12.8 percent. Drake was a close fourth with 11.7 percent, but is now on the brink of elimination. Jonah Hill might have two Oscar nominations, but he was quickly dismissed with only 2 percent of the vote.
Drake is cleaning up the mess he made yesterday when he told Twitter how mad he was when Rolling Stone replaced him with Philip Seymour Hoffman on this week’s cover. He’s since deleted the offending tweets and even issued an apology on his website.
“I completely support and agree with Rolling Stone replacing me on the cover with the legendary Philip Seymour Hoffman,” Drake wrote. “I apologize to anybody who took my initial comments out of context because in no way would I ever want to offend the Hoffman family or see myself as bigger than that moment.”
Turns out Drizzy was just really excited to get his own cover, and he was hoping his story would be postponed for a later issue. “I would have waited until it was my time because I understand the magnitude of the cover they chose but I just wasn’t given that option and that made me feel violated,” he said. But in the end, the rapper respects Rolling Stone “for being willing to give a kid from Toronto a shot at the cover.” So Drake is still same humble, polite Canadian he’s always been. (I actually have no idea if he has ever been humble).
It’s a nice apology and all — but what I really care about is whether he was serious when he swore off magazine interviews Thursday. Because if this is what happens when Drake gets a magazine story, keep ‘em coming.
This morning, the rapper posted on Twitter that he’s “done doing interviews for magazines” after Rolling Stone published an interview in which Drake criticized Kanye West’s latest album, Yeezus. “There were some real questionable bars on there,” he says in the story. “Like that ‘Swaghili’ line? Come on, man. Even Fabolous wouldn’t say some s— like that.” Drake claims in a tweet that he “never commented on Yeezus” during the interview, implying that Rolling Stone fabricated quotes. Drake is also mad that the magazine “took my cover from me last minute.” Philip Seymour Hoffman is the magazine’s cover subject this week… which makes sense, because that story might just be more important than whatever Drake has (or doesn’t have) to say about Kanye West. Maybe.
The rapper goes on to say that he’s “disgusted” by the cover change, but makes sure to add in an RIP for the Oscar winner. Real convincing, Drizzy. (Maybe he should have gone with #NoDisrespectToPhilipSeymourHoffman?) See what Drake had to say below:
Melissa McCarthy is on a roll. Not only did she star in two of last year’s biggest comedies, but she’s also hosted Saturday Night Live in each of the last three seasons — the only performer to achieve that feat in that span. This past weekend, she didn’t even have a project to plug — a detail that became a funny gag in her opening monologue — but she’s one of those guests who clearly loves the show’s comedy environment. In fact, no one throws him or herself into characters more than McCarthy, who craves physical comedy perhaps more than any female comedian since Molly Shannon.
McCarthy had to share the limelight on Saturday, what with Seth Meyers’ touching farewell, but she delivered some great moments, including the return of aggressive coach-turned-congresswoman Sheila Kelly. It seems certain that she’ll be a major contender for Mr. Saturday Night after finishing second in the past two years, and she enters a race that is wide open. Jimmy Fallon holds a narrow lead, with 26.5 percent, while Drake slipped from first to a close second, with 24.3 percent. Josh Hutcherson saw his support nearly double from last week, and his fans have him right near the top, with 21.4 percent. Jonah Hill had a disappointing debut, with only 17.9 percent, but that was enough to eliminate Kerry Washington.
A quick rundown on our objective: To identify the funniest, most memorable SNL host, the person who best fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My own personal bottom line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, Edward Norton, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey (Blerg), John Goodman, Paul Rudd, and Kerry Washington have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the poll closes, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against the next host — still unannounced — on March 1, after the Winter Olympics are finished.
Martin Scorsese’s one and only muse, Jonah Hill, hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time over the weekend, and not only did he bring along his Wolf of Wall Street sidekick, Leonardo DiCaprio — an SNL virgin — but he also reunited with his Superbad pal Michael Cera. Hill, who may have forgotten to mention that he’s now a two-time Oscar nominee (for Wolf and Moneyball), also resurrected his Catskills-comic-inspired 6-year-old Adam Grossman and… and…
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. The show was solid. Some real funny bits. But Jonah and Leo doing their Titanic relaxation exercise was the show-stopper, a moment that crowned Hill as king of the comedy world — at least for a moment. If Hill had dropped the mic right then, I think he’d already done enough to advance in our Saturday Night Live best host poll.
But if Hill is here to stay, who’s on the outside looking in? It’s certainly not Drake, who debuted in first place with a solid 54 percent. And it’s certainly not Jimmy Fallon, who slipped to second but can be counted on to hang around with 24 percent. Josh Hutcherson refuses to go quietly, scoring double-digits again, and Kerry Washington edged Paul Rudd to survive another elimination.
A quick rundown on our simple objective: To identify the best, funniest, most memorable SNL host, the most memorable guest who fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My own personal bottom line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, Edward Norton, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey (Blerg), John Goodman, and Rudd have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the poll closes, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against Melissa McCarthy on Feb. 1.
Kicking off Saturday Night Live‘s 2014 season was Drake, the one-time Canadian teen soap star who now spends his days singing and rapping with the best in the business. And as longtime SNL fans know, musical hosts can be tricky. Luckily for the show, Drake seemed to have picked up some comedic talent in all his years in Hollywood. In her recap, Hillary Busis was even tempted to give Drake the award for Cast MVP by the end of the night, noting how “he played a main role in every single sketch tonight … and was so charming that I’m already counting down the days until he comes back for a second round.”
But the question remains: Was Drake funny enough to go up against the best hosts this season’s had to offer? Or perhaps the better question is: Was Drake funny enough to go up against Jimmy Fallon? The late-night host dominated our last poll with 60 percent of the vote, followed by Josh Hutcherson, who continues to garner support with 32 percent of the vote. The bottom three all earned less than 5 percent of the vote, with Kerry Washington in third, and Paul Rudd in fourth, thereby knocking John Goodman out of the competition (by only .31 percent).
Even after 38 and a half seasons, SNL still has the capacity to surprise. Yesterday, I assumed that 2014′s first episode would make some noise about new featured player Sasheer Zamata; given the show’s unusually public search for black female talent, fanfare or at least a formal introduction seemed likely.
But in the end, SNL decided to go a more matter-of-fact route: Zamata wasn’t set apart from the rest of the cast. Instead, she was simply and easily integrated into the show, appearing in no fewer than five sketches throughout the episode. And though Sasheer certainly got more screen time than the average featured player — blink and you’ll miss Brooks Wheelan and John Milhiser each week — she was never given the responsibility of carrying an entire sketch, which may have been too much for her very first show. All in all, I’m glad SNL defied my expectations and took a subtler approach; this seems like the best way to gradually end the conversation about Sasheer Zamata, Black Lady Comedian, and move toward a world where she’s just another part of the group.
Another reason SNL was smart not to make the night all about Sasheer (or its other new additions, SNL writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones): We got more time to spend with Drake. And Drake was really, really great. Especially in the night’s…
This is a pretty big night for SNL. Let us count the ways: It’s the first show of 2014. The first show starring Drake as both host and musical guest, as well as Drake’s first major acting credit since Degrassi (unless you count his voice work in 2012′s Ice Age: Continental Drift). And, perhaps most importantly, it’s also the first show that will feature the work of SNL‘s much-publicized new talent — writers Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes, and featured player Sasheer Zamata.
No disrespect to Drake (or Ben Affleck), but that last item is what most people are buzzing about going into tonight’s episode. (Sorry, Aubrey — don’t cry.) SNL will obviously have to address its hunt for black female talent at some point during the evening, most likely during the cold open or the monologue. (What are the odds that Kerry Washington and/or Al Sharpton show up again to comment on the matter?) No matter what happens after that, talk of Jones, Tookes, Zamata, and however the show handles their first week on the job will definitely dominate the conversation about SNL tomorrow.
I’m hoping, though, that even in the midst of all this, Drake himself will get a few moments to shine. After all, he did some pretty great stuff the last time he stopped by the show:
Do Drake’s newly released ‘Saturday Night Live’ promos poke fun at Degrassi, the Canadian teen soap that starred Drake (then known as Aubrey Graham) for eight years?
Did Jimmy break up with Ashley after she got high on ecstasy and made out with Sean at the end of the school year, prompting her to reinvent herself for Grade 9 as an artsy goth chick with a pixie cut? (The answer to this question, like the previous one, is “yes.”)
Drake, of course, is more than a former teen star; he’s also an accomplished rapper, and an able straight man for the antics of promo costars Bobby Moynihan and Jay Pharoah. But it’s in the clip’s brief, glorious Degrassi segment that he truly shines as a funnyman; let’s hope it’s only a taste of what’s to come on SNL this weekend. At least cross your finger for more material like this and less material like Moynihan and Pharoah talking about beats.