Over the weekend, comedian Aziz Ansari made his hosting debut on Saturday Night Live, becoming the show's first South Asian American host and only the fourth host of Asian descent in the sketch comedy institution's 42-year seasons. A historic moment of television, for sure, but also a moment perhaps made even more significant with Ansari serving as the first host following the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Because, as he has made quite apparent, Trump has an unreasonably obsessive, contentious relationship with Saturday Night Live. Because you could be absolutely certain that Trump, despite claiming to hate the show, was probably tuning in. And because you know Aziz was gonna bring it. And hell yeah, he did.
While most of the show was fairly standard fare, Ansari devoted his opening monologue to some razor-sharp standup directed at the new president -- "Pretty cool to know he's probably at home right now watching a brown guy make fun of him" -- and his supporters who have become "way too fired up about the Trump thing for the wrong reasons." You know, the racists who aren't pretending anymore and the "lower case kkk."
Best of all, Aziz throws down an important challenge at Trump, and offers a word of encouragement to those of us who are worried about this new regime: "If you look at our country's history, change doesn't come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if day one is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen." Amen, Aziz.
Here's the full transcript of Ansari's opening monologue:
ANSARI: Thank you! Thank you very much! Wow. I can't believe this. I'm here hosting "Saturday Night Live."
Yeah! The day after Trump's inauguration. Mmmmm. Pretty cool to know, though, he's probably at home right now watching a brown guy make fun of him though, right?
Crazy couple of days, man. Yesterday, Trump was inaugurated. Today, an entire gender protested against him. Wow.
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Everyone should support that. It shows that people care. Very cool. I do think we should be careful, though. You know? We can't demonize everyone that voted for Trump. Some people are like, everyone that voted for Trump is a dumb racist misogynist homophobe. Hold on. We're talking about 63 million people. You know? Don't judge them by their worst. I'm sure there's some people that had different political priorities. I'm sure there's some people that voted for him with reservations.
I'm sure there's a lot of people voted for Trump the same way a lot of people listen to the music of Chris Brown, where it's like, "Hey, man! I'm just here for the tunes. I'm just here for the tunes! I don't know about that other stuff. I just like the dancing and the music. I don't condone the extracurriculars."
If you think about it, Donald Trump is basically the Chris Brown of politics. And "Make America Great Again" is his "These hoes ain't loyal."
So, look. We're divided. It's O.K. We've always been divided by some of these big political issues. It's fine. As long as we treat each other with respect and remember that ultimately we're all Americans, we'll be fine.
But the problem is —
The problem is, there's a new group. I'm talking about this tiny slice of people that have gotten way too fired up about the Trump thing for the wrong reasons. I'm talking about these people that, as soon as Trump won, they're like, "We don't have to pretend like we're not racist anymore! We don't have to pretend anymore! We can be racist again! Whoo!"
[MR. ANSARI PUMPS HIS FIST, THEN LOWERS IT INTO A NAZI SALUTE]
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! No, no! If you're one of these people, please go back to pretending. You've got to go back to pretending. I'm so sorry we never thanked you for your service. We never realized how much effort you were putting into the pretending. But you gotta go back to pretending.
Hey. 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 stormtroopers. I get it! It's been rough! But you've got to stop.
You know who I'm talking about. There's like this new, lower-case K.K.K. movement that started — this kind of casual white supremacy. "Oh, let me put my foot in the pool and see how cold this water really is." No! No! I'm talking about these people that are running around saying stuff like, "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.
Is that the plan, by the way? We're all going to move? All the minorities? Forty-some percent of the country? Every minority's going to move?
Beyoncé's going to move? Beyoncé ain't moving.
I ain't moving. O.K.? My parents —
My parents moved from India to South Carolina in the early '80s. They didn't move until nine years ago. You know where they moved? North Carolina. They love it here. They're not leaving.
Lower-case K.K.K., man. They're out there. You know? Hate crimes and stuff are on the rise. You know, as far as people in my own skin tone, brown people. I think part of the problem is a lot of these people, they just haven't interacted with any brown people in their normal life. The only people they see are these monsters in the news who are just a drop in the ocean.
Maybe what needs to happen is when they do the news report, they should do a second report about some other brown people that are just up to normal stuff — just to calm those people down.
So the reports are like: "The suspects are considered armed and dangerous. Not armed and dangerous — these four other Muslim people that are eating nachos in Chicago. Let's go to footage of them. Uh-oh, looks like Nasir just spilled a little cheese on his khakis! Got a little overambitious with that last dip! We've all been there!"
A lot of people are Islamophobic, which doesn't make sense on paper because you know the God in Islam is the same God that was revealed to Abraham. Judaism, Christianity, same God. But people are scared. Why? Because any time they watch movies, and TV shows, and a character is Arabic, or they're praying or something like that, that scary-ass music from "Homeland" is underneath it, it's terrifying!
People are like, "Aah! What are they saying?" Just "God is good!" Normal religion stuff! It's O.K.! You want to end Islamophobia? Honestly, just change that music. Like, if the music was different — if it was just, like, [singing theme to "The Benny Hill Show"], people would be like, "Man, Islam its one whimsical religion, isn't it?"
I think Trump should make a speech. A real speech denouncing the lower-case K.K.K. Don't tweet about me being lame or the show. Write a speech. A real speech. Because these people are out there, and it's pissing a lot of people off. And I think it could make a difference. Because other presidents have done things like this, and it has helped. Hate crimes and stuff that went down.
Now George Bush, George W. Bush made a speech after 9/11, and it really helped. Things changed. This what he said in his speech, and I'm paraphrasing slightly. He said, "Islam is peace. The perpetrators of these attacks, they don't represent Islam. They represent war and violence. Our enemies are not our Muslim brothers and sisters. Our enemies are a network of radical terrorists." And everyone applauded. Democrats, Republicans, it didn't matter. Because it's not about politics. It's about basic human decency and remembering why the country was founded in the first place.
And I was sitting there and I'm watching this speech and I'm like, "What the hell has happened? I'm sitting here wistfully watching old George W. Bush speeches?" Just sitting there like, "What a leader he was!" Sixteen years ago, I was certain this dude was a dildo. Now, I'm sitting there like, "He guided us with his eloquence!"
I want to leave you guys with a serious thought. I know there's a lot of people that are worried right now. This is a weird time.
If you're excited about Trump, great. He's president. Let's hope he does a great job.
If you're scared about Trump and you're very worried, you're going to be O.K., too. Because if you look at our country's history, change doesn't come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.
Good luck to you.