Kumail Nanjiani, whose affecting and hilarious film The Big Sick has turned him into an Oscar contender, brought his stand-up experience to Saturday Night Live. During a sharp monologue, Nanjiani discussed race and religion. "Islamophobia is on the rise. It’s like Will & Grace. It was huge awhile ago, we thought it was gone and done forever and now it’s back! Thursday night on NBC," he said, before adding, "They made me say that.”
Nanjiani described how he, a Pakistani immigrant, married a white woman, and their courtship turned into a movie. He mentioned how it got good reviews...mostly: "I read everything online—which, don't do that... I read a guy said, 'I watched the whole movie. I just don't like race mixing.'" After a pause, Najiani offered, "First of all, nobody good ever uses the phrase 'race-mixing'."
Discussing how Sikh people are mistaken for Muslims, he noted "It's the inaccuracy, that's what bugs me" about racism. "If somebody yells to me, 'Go back to India,' I go that guy's an idiot. But if somebody yells, 'Go back to Pakistan, which was part of India until 1947 and is now home to the world's oldest salt mine,' I would be like, 'That guy seems to know what he's talking about... I'll pack my bags.'"
“Just because you're racist doesn't mean you have to be ignorant," Nanjiani declared. "An informed racist is a better racist.”
The highlights of the show were Kate McKinnon's pitch-perfect transformation of Kellyanne Conway into Pennywise the clown; finally calling out Harvey Weinstein's behavior in a series of sketches; and Cecily Strong's portrayals of both Ivana Trump (during Weekend Update) and Melania Trump in a digital short set in a call center.
SNL is a repeat next weekend, and then there will be the David S. Pumpkins animated special on October 28. After that, the host is pretty, pretty good: