After his exhausting, months-long run as the only version of Donald Trump people could tolerate, Alec Baldwin is, understandably, on a break from "Saturday Night Live."
The president's replacement on the show this weekend was Russian President Vladimir Putin in his shirtless glory. He marveled at the large crowds thronging to the inauguration, before realizing the photos he had shown were of the legions of women who came out to protest Trump.
However, the highlight of the show was not shirtless Putin — it was Aziz Ansari.
Nothing was a more appropriate a statement from SNL than getting the first ever host of South Asian descent on the show right after a racist demagogue was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
Ansari was witty, relevant and on-point with his social commentary. He cheered the warriors in Washington, D.C., and then made a very important point: However tempting it may be, it would be flawed to demonize the millions of Americans who voted Trump. Some of them, such as the 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump, may have little idea about the struggles of women of color, and how racism undermines their sense of self. It is important, now more than any other time, to be empathetic and respectful of each other.
“Don't judge them,” he said. “Some people have different political priorities. Some people voted for him with reservations. I'm sure a lot of people voted for Trump the same way a lot of people listen to Chris Brown, where it’s like, hey, man, I'm just here for the tunes, I don't know about that other stuff.”
To all the racists, "the lower-case kkk," founded on "casual white supremacy," who came scuttling out after Trump's election, thumping their chests and proclaiming that they too, can be racists now, Ansari had one message: keep pretending.
After this week, the nation can draw solace from Ansari's message.
"I know there are a lot of people that are worried 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 OK, too. Because if you look at our 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."
Ansari also called on Trump to denounced racists spewing hate in his name — to come up with “a real speech denouncing the lowercase kkk.”
"Don't tweet about me being lame or the show. Write a real speech, because these people are out there and it’s pissing people off," he said.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters,Mario Anzuoni