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JAN
19
3 MOS

'SNL' Recap: Drake Welcomes New Castmember Sasheer Zamata (Video)

The NBC show kicks off its first episode since adding the African-American comedian to its ranks.

SNL DRAKE - H 2014
NBC
From left: Sasheer Zamata, Kenan Thompson and Drake

Drake kicked off 2014 for Saturday Night Live with a flashback to his bar mitzvah.

The host and musical guest, whose mother is Jewish and father is black, played off his multicultural roots in an opening monologue that saw him travel back to 1999. It was the day he became a man and changed is name from Aubrey Graham (his actual name) to Drake.

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“I’m black and Jewish don’t be so foolish,” he rapped to his bar mitzvah crowd, which included both sides of his family. “I play ball like LeBron and I know what a W-2 is.”

The sketch gave viewers a first look at castmember Sasheer Zamata, who was found during a talent search with the goal of adding an African-American woman to the cast. Zamata played Drake’s new aunt, who showed up along with his uncle (Kenan Thompson).

Later, Zamata dusted off her Rihanna impression in a segment playing off of Drake’s history as a teen actor on Canadian soap Degrassi: The Next Generation. The sketch (jokingly) revealed that musicians had starred in classic TV shows before the parts were recast. Among them: Lil Wayne (Drake) as the original Steve Urkle and Rihanna (Zamata) as the original star of Blossom.

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Zamata didn’t have many lines in a sketch about a seventh grade sleepover, but she was its anchor -- with her playing the daughter of a dorky dad (Drake) who was made fun of by all her friends. Except one girl (Aidy Bryant) who found him sexually irresistible. In another segment, Zamata provided the chorus for a music video (“Resolution Revolution") in which a few guys bragged about how great 2014 was going to be thanks to their New Year's resolutions. Jay Pharoah says he’s giving up sex dolls and fails miserably at doing so.

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In its cold open, SNL took on recent celebrity scandals, from Justin Bieber allegedly being involved in the egging of his neighbor's house to Alex Rodriguez’s 162-game MLB suspension. Rodriguez (Drake) appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight, where he claimed incriminating texts in which he discussed performance enhancing drugs were the fault of his iPhone's autocorrect. He said he texted Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch to say he was thinking of seeing Disney’s Frozen. According to Rodriguez, the autocorrect changed the text to “Just took a hundred steroids. Need to buy thousands more. This is A-Rod by the way."

Weekend Update welcomed Jacqueline Bisset (Vanessa Bayer) who gave a puzzling Golden Globes speech last week. The results were quite similar to her Globes performance.

SNL is new next week with host Jonah Hill and musical guest Bastille.