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Drake Takes the Cake With ‘Saturday Night Live’ Bar Mitzvah Speech
If you’re at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the near future and the guest of honor busts out a rap set to "Hava Nagilah," you can thank — or blame — Aubrey Graham.
You may know him better (your kids certainly do) as Drake, the Canadian hip-hop artist whose latest album, Nothing Was Ever the Same, was one of the top-selling releases of 2013.
The proudly Jewish musician, who first rose to fame on the TV show, DeGrassi: The Next Generation, hosted the Jan. 18 episode of Saturday Night Live. He opened the show with a monologue that had him reminiscing about his 1999 Bar Mitzvah.
In a flashback, Drake plays himself as a 13-year-old, complete with Jewfro and yarmulke. While giving a speech that celebrates both his Jewish mother’s and his black father’s sides of the family, he breaks into a routine that includes lyrics like, “It's a mitzvah/I'm black, I'm Jewish/I play ball like LeBron and I know what a W-2 is," and “At my show you won’t simply put your hands in the air/you can also raise a chair/or recite a Jewish prayer.”
In addition to providing one of the most memorable openings in the show’s 38-year history, Drake performed songs from Nothing Was Ever the Same, did spot-on impressions of rappers Li’l Wayne and Jay-Z, Steve Urkel from Family Matters and comedian Katt Williams; and appeared in the majority of the evening’s sketches.
In some sketches, he shared the stage with the newest member of the SNL cast, Sasheer Zamata, who has generated even more press than Drake recently — she was hired in the wake of a public outcry over the lack of diversity on the show, which was highlighted in brutally funny detail by Kerry Washington’s attempt, when she hosted the show on Nov. 3, to portray Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and other black female celebrities within the span of a three-minute sketch.