Rapper Drake's impressive hosting performance—owning roles from A-Rod to Katt Williams to an awkwardly straightlaced dad, and selling even sketches that didn't otherwise quite hold up—served as a reminder that his start was not as a musician but as an actor (on Degrassi: The Next Generation). The episode also marked the much anticipated debut of Sasheer Zamata, the show's first black female castmember since Maya Rudolph's departure in 2007. Zamata appeared in speaking roles in five of the night's sketches. As musical guest, Drake performed "Started from the Bottom" and "Trophies" and (with Jhené Aiko) "Hold On We're Going Home" and "From Time."Some highlights...
Cold open—Piers Morgan Live: in a special "public figures apologies" episode, Piers Morgan (Taran Killam) welcomes Chris Christie (Bobby Moynihan), A-Rod (Drake), and a defiant Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon).
The monologue—Drake apologies for the expression YOLO, unveils his Canadian, half-Jewish roots, and flashes back to his Bar Mitzvah with a rap to the tune of "Hava Nagila." ("Don't forget I'm black; Dont forget I'm Jewish; I play ball like LeBron, and I know what a W-2 is...")
Hip Hop Classics—a look back at the little known acting debuts of top rap stars, featuring Eminem (Taran Killam) on Felicity, Lil Wayne (Drake) as Urkel on Family Matters, Rihanna (Sasheer Zamata) in the Barbados reboot of Blossom, and Flavor Flav (Kenan Thompson) as the adult voice of Fred Savage on The Wonder Years.
Resolution Revolution—despite New Year's resolutions, Taran Killam, Drake, Sasheer Zamata, and Jay Pharoah can't resist the lure of donuts, liquor, sex toys, and cosplay...
Arianna Huffington (Nasim Pedrad) drops by Weekend Update to weigh in on Hillary's 2016 prospects.
NEXT, on January 25: Jonah Hill, with musical guest Bastille.