Drake SNL
Credit: NBC
Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Man, where do we even begin?

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:

And if nothing else, he’s sure to kill in SNL‘s inevitable Degrassi parody. Whether it’s as pitch-perfect as Kroll Show‘s “Wheels, Ontario,” however, is another matter entirely.

What else, specifically, should we look out for or hope to see tonight? I’ll get the ball rolling with a few discussion questions:

– Who will Sasheer Zamata play in her first-ever SNL sketch? My money would be on Michelle Obama, if not for the way that Kerry Washington cold open began. Rest assured, though, that Michelle and Beyoncé sketches must be coming soon.

– How long did it take Don Pardo to figure out how to pronounce her name? (For the record: sa-SHEER zah-MAY-tah.)

– Speaking of: Did you know that Sasheer’s given last name is Moore, and her parents got her first name from an episode of Star Trek?

– Bobby Moynihan’s got to break out his Chris Christie at some point tonight. How rough will SNL be on New Jersey’s embattled governor? (It can’t be worse than asking Christie’s very favorite singer to skewer him personally.)

– Could the return of the polar vortex inspire SNL to welcome back its own Poehler Vortex? Please say yes.

Talk amongst yourselves, and check back in the morning for a full recap of the show.

Episode Recaps

Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

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  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
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