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Ramy Youssef's SNL Monologue

posted on: Apr 3, 2024

Photo: SNL

By: Ziyan Qutub / Arab America Contributing Writer 

Ramy Youssef, an actor and comedian of Egyptian-American descent, made headlines when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) with a humorous and thought-provoking opening monologue. In the days leading up to his SNL debut, a promotional clip jokingly claimed Youssef to be the first Arab, Ramy, and Egyptian to host the iconic TV show.

In the taping of the SNL host broadcast, Kenan Thompson provided him with a comic reminder that the honor went to Rami Malek—an Egyptian-American actor who had done so before. With a delightful charm and captivating humor, Youssef corrected himself, saying he was just “the first-ever Egyptian named Ramy from New Jersey” to grace SNL with his presence.

Youssef’s monologue drew everyone’s attention as he spoke out of nowhere and pulled some splendid words on behalf of the rights of Palestinians. Amongst jokes about the prayer and the personal moments that may come across, a demand for mercy found its path inadvertently, softly, “Please free Palestine, please.”

The immediate and warm applause indicated that many in the hall shared the sentiment.

Youssef’s defense of the cause of Palestine goes beyond what he did on SNL. As a high-profile figure in the entertainment world, he has always used his career to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause. At the Academy Awards, for example, he wore a badge that called for a ceasefire in Gaza. He also gave money raised from his tour of comedy shows to the folk doing relief work. He is solid in his resolve to use his voice for a cause that matters.

Youssef’s message is compelling because it comes at a moment of heightened tension between Israelis and Palestinians. When he appeared on SNL, violence and humanitarian crises in Gaza were front-page news. His call for Palestinian freedom was especially resonant among those with personal connections to the region.

Youssef’s SNL monologue demonstrates the effectiveness of comedy as a medium for discussing social and political issues. Throughout history, comedians have relied on humor to tackle important issues and challenge the rules of society. In doing so, Youssef joins great comic figures such as Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor in using their stage as a weapon to stir thought and prompt some form of reaction.

In today’s modern-day, where communication is very politically divisive, Youssef’s work is refreshingly different from the traditional way of talking about politics. Creating a style that mixes comedy and political awareness makes you feel the blend of entertainment and activism by relaxing and then realizing how big an instrument laughter can be in making radical changes.

Youssef is causing a stir in entertainment as both a comedian and an advocate. His SNL monologue reminds us of comedy’s lasting influence on discussion and societal advancement. By combining humor and activism, he is not just a comedian but a cultural role model who questions traditional behaviors and campaigns for the world we need.

Ramy Youssef’s SNL opening speech demonstrates laughter’s capacity to encourage, enable, and unify. Through his insights and recommendations, Youssef clearly emphasizes the significance of translating earnestness and purpose into humor.

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