There was a time, when he was taking a break from music, that Justin Timberlake was considered “funny.” This was mostly because of a few appearances on SNL, but enough people, including Timberlake himself, became convinced of it that Timberlake made a brief foray into acting, starring in the consciously raunchy rom-com Friends With Benefits alongside Mila Kunis in 2011.
Timberlake is a decent actor—he was just about perfect in The Social Network—but he was never actually that funny. He was adept at parodying pop stars alongside Andy Samberg in Lonely Island videos, but that’s a fairly low bar for an actual real life pop star. When it came to playing characters divorced from a musical context he was… fine for a musician by trade, but that was it. That he has more or less returned to music full-time makes more sense, because that is what he is good at.
A musician who is actually funny and likable in a sketch comedy context, though, is Drake. When he hosted SNL last year, he was legitimately good uncomfortably flirting with Aidy Bryant, and even better impersonating Katt Williams in 2014, with a characterization that should make professional mimicker Jay Pharoah jealous. When he hosted the ESPYs in 2014, he put more effort into the gig than many hosts, and the result was a show with a level of frisson that exceeded most normal awards shows, let alone ESPN’s made up one. Drake is overeager, as non-comedians usually are when trying to be funny, but he can hack it, plainly.
So the news that he’s going to host the NBA Awards on TNT is… well, you have to care a lot about the NBA to care about this specific awards show, but that Drake is hosting the show is a welcome development. He is funny, and cares, and will make a fool of himself, but can also do witty comedy, too. Less of Jimmy Kimmel and more of Drake, is what I’m saying—if Drake is free, of course, to host more awards shows.