Aziz Ansari opened his Saturday Night Live monologue by acknowledging his audience – or at least the one watching from the White House. “It’s pretty cool to know he’s probably at home watching a brown guy make fun of him, right?”
Wisely opting to open with what appeared to be his own stand-up material – rather than struggling through the usual SNL-written monologues – Ansari surveyed a historical weekend of celebration and backlash. “Yesterday Trump was inaugurated,” he said, “and today an entire gender protested against him.”
Ansari’s main target, though, wasn’t Trump but his fraction of supporters that Ansari called “the lowercase kkk” – a “tiny slice of people” who have decided “we don’t have to pretend we’re not racist anymore! We can be racist again!”
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“I know it’s been a rough couple of years,” Ansari joked in mock empathy. “Obama, Empire, Hamilton, its just been hit after hit after hit. Star Wars movies where the only white characters are stormtroopers. I get it, it’s been rough.”
“I’m talking about people going ‘Trump won, go back to Africa! Trump won, go back to Mexico!’ They see me, ‘Trump won, go back to … where you came from!’ Yeah, they’re not usually geography buffs.”
Calling on the new president to take a stand, Ansari asked Trump to “make a real speech denouncing the lowercase kkk. Don’t tweet about me being lame or the show being lame. Write a speech.”
Check out Ansari’s monologue – which is much funnier in action than description – above.
Later in the show, Leslie Jones dominated Weekend Update with her pretty hilarious riff on Hidden Figures and the untold stories of African American contributions to history.
“A black person invented the mailbox,” she said. “Now, how did you miss that one, white people? Didn’t you see the letters laying around?” Check out the video here, and note the subtle mood-shift when she speaks of her comic hero. “The first time I heard Richard Pryor’s voice, I knew I was going to be a comedian.”
Hidden Figures wasn’t the only film getting a shout-out last night. SNL devoted a sketch to La La Land – or, rather, to the hype surrounding it, with Ansari playing a Law and Order-type perp getting grilled for the crime of not loving Hollywood’s reigning musical. The sketch, with Beck Bennett and Cecily Strong as the detectives, also takes a shot at all the Moonlight reverence. Hollywood darlings haven’t taken such a ribbing since Elaine Benes hated The English Patient.
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