3 Best Lines on Race from Aziz Ansari’s ‘SNL’ Debut

By Sameer Rao Jan 23, 2017

Aziz Ansari ("Master of None") used the opening minutes of his "Saturday Night Live" ("SNL") hosting gig to reflect on Donald Trump‘s most openly racist supporters.

The first Desi host in "SNL’s" 41-season history opened his monologue on Saturday (January 21) by acknowledging both Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. "Yesterday, Trump was inaugurated," he said. "Today, an entire gender protested against him. Wow."

Ansari went on to spend most of his monologue addressing the open racism legitimized by Trump’s ascendance. Here are a few of his choice jokes: 

  • "Pretty cool to know, though, [Trump’s] probably at home right now watching a Brown guy make fun of him though, right?"
  • "I know it’s been a rough couple of years. Obama, ‘Empire,’ ‘Hamilton,’ it’s just been hit after hit after hit. "Star Wars" movies where the only White characters are storm troopers—I get it, it’s been rough!"
  • "Maybe what needs to happen is when they do the news report [about terrorists], they should do a second report about some other Brown people that’re just up to normal stuff, just to calm those [racists] down. So the report’s like, ‘The suspects are considered armed and dangerous. Not armed and dangerous, these four other Muslim people  that’re eating nachos in Chicago, let’s go to footage of them!’"

The episode also addressed race via the sketches. One featured Ansari being interrogated by police for not liking the movie "La La Land," and criticizing the jazz-focused film for having no significant Black characters. He mentions liking "Moonlight," to which the officers (portrayed by "SNL" cast members Beck Bennett and Cecily Strong) respond by calling it "so important" and admitting they didn’t see it because "it’s going to be a whole thing."

During "Weekend Update," Leslie Jones ("Ghostbusters") talked about the NASA mathematicians featured in "Hidden Figures" and other ignored Black historical figures. "Here’s my issue: we cram all of Black history into just one month, and all we have time for is that George Washington Carver and all his peanut stuff," she explained. "We should learn all Black history all the year around, and teach it to everybody."

Watch Ansari’s opening monologue above and let us know what you think in the comments.