For his monologue, Ansari stuck to his guns, doing a stand-up bit that turned into a rather rousing speech on how he views the state of America as a minority – and targeting the alt-right. Considering he got the first show after Trump’s inauguration, it was the obvious subject and if he had skipped it altogether, the audience wouldn’t have been able to help noticing the absence of the topic of the week.
The show went big in response to Friday’s inauguration. Not Trump big. Think bigger. Cast member Beck Bennett opened the show solo (with a short appearance from Kate McKinnon) as Vladimir Putin as he addresses America regarding their new President. Punches weren’t pulled as Putin jokes about the little things, like Kellyanne Conway’s unusual outfit, to the big things, like his bizarre influence over Donald Trump.
All in all, Ansari was great. His monologue was funny and touching, and he was the best a host has been in the sketches all season. Sometimes, having a seasoned sketch comedian host Saturday Night Live brings the show to a different level.