Aziz Ansari is set to host Saturday Night Live on January 21. It’s the first time a South Asian person has hosted the show, and the first time in 17 years that an Asian of any descent has hosted.
It’s the moment my kind of brown people have been waiting for forever. At first we hoped Kal Penn would get the gig after Harold and Kumar, but that didn’t happen. Then, we assumed Mindy Kaling would be asked to host because she’s already written plenty of material for NBC, right? Guess not. Then there was Dev Patel after Slumdog Millionaire, and what about Priyanka Chopra? (There’s an almost impossibly tiny chance Patel could host as an Oscars push if Lion gets nominated, though Chopra may have a better chance seeing as she does have a Baywatch movie to promote.) For a while, it seemed the closest we would get would be Mike Meyers hosting in brownface as the Love Guru. But luckily, Aziz is here to save us all.
I’m not going to lie. I do have high hopes for this episode even though I know better to raise my expectations for SNL. But what better way to kick off the Trump regime than to have a brown Muslim man host? It almost makes up for that one time that SNL ALLOWED DONALD TRUMP TO HOST AN EPISODE OF THE SHOW.
Earlier this year, Indiewire tallied up the racial demographics of SNL hosts, and a whopping 90% of hosts were white, so having Ansari host is certainly good optics for the show. Ansari is, unbelievably, only the third Asian host ever (Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan each hosted an episode in 2000).
Hopefully Ansari will bring his uncanny ability to inject topical issues about race, diversity, immigration, and feminism into his material on SNL, but I guess we’ll have to see. Fingers crossed for at least a Nasim Pedrad impersonation of Ansari.