Live from New York — and hours after millions of women and men marched in cities all over the country to peacefully protest Trump’s presidency and demand equal rights for all, one of the greatest comedians of our time used his Saturday Night Live opening monologue not to plug a standup special or an upcoming season of his incredible Netflix original series Master of None, but to talk about racism and, specifically, what he refers to as the "lowercase kkk.”
“Crazy couple days, man,” he said. "Yesterday, Trump was inaugurated. Today, an entire gender protested against him.”
Later on Ansari got more specific about “casual white supremacy." “I’m talking about these people 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.’” He also called for Trump to speak out about them. “Make a real speech denouncing the lowercase kkk,” he said. “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.”
This is not the first time he’s gotten political. In June the Golden Globe–nominated comedian wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled "Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family." “Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels,” Ansari wrote. “It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work, and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.”
Now, maybe you think Ansari and SNL — or we! — should stay out of politics altogether, but Ansari, like Dave Chappelle not too long ago, gave a performance that echoed the concerns of a lot of people. The signs we saw at the New York City Women’s March offer indisputable proof of it. One sign, with words written inside of an American flag design, read:
“In our America, all people are equal.
Black Lives Matter.
Immigrants and refugees are welcome.
Disabilities are respected.
Women are in charge of their bodies.
People and planet are valued over profit.
Diversity is celebrated.”
“I know there’s a lot of people worried right now,” Ansari said toward the end of the monologue. “It’s 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 very worried, you’re going to be OK, too.” And man, we hope he’s right.