Brow Beat

Aziz Ansari Used His Saturday Night Live Monologue to Ask Trump to Denounce “Casual White Supremacy”

The day after the inauguration of a bozo of world-historical proportions and the same day as nationwide protests against that same bozo is probably not the ideal night to host Saturday Night Live. You just want to get the crowd pumped up for the “Loud Family Who Talks Loudly” skit you’ve been working on, but everyone else expects you to use your monologue to respond to history. Aziz Ansari did about as well as anyone could under the circumstances, denouncing the casual racists of the alt-right and encouraging President Trump to join him.

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After making a deliberately unconvincing case against demonizing all Trump voters (he compared them to Chris Brown fans), Ansari zeroed in on the ones he’s fine with demonizing: “the people that as soon as Trump won, they’re like, ‘We don’t have to pretend we’re not racist anymore! We don’t have to pretend anymore!’ ” Calling them a “lowercase KKK movement” founded on “casual white supremacy,” Ansari then moved from comedy to some sort of fantasia where our new president wasn’t part of the problem:

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I think Trump should make a speech, a real speech denouncing the lowercase KKK. Don’t tweet about me being lame or the show being lame, write a speech.

Let’s not hold our breaths on that one. Ansari, like a lot of people lately, pointed to George W. Bush’s remarks about Islam on Sept. 17, 2001, as an example of the kind of statesmanship he hoped to see from Trump. It’s true that Bush was less terrifying than Trump—who could have imagined that press conference Saturday, even a week ago?—but this is a step on the road to George W. Bush re-emerging as an elder statesman, like Nixon did. And that can’t be allowed to happen, no matter how many Saturday Night Live monologues it ruins. So as long as we’re getting nostalgic about George W. Bush’s speeches, here’s another one, in which he was also careful to speak of his great respect for Islam. And Iraqi civilization:

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