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Comedy for Political Commentary: Ramy Youssef’s ‘SNL’ Monologue

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Ramy Youssef is no stranger to politics. The comedian, writer, and actor has interwoven politics, religion, and the immigrant experience throughout his comedy series Ramy and Mo.

Youssef also frequently discusses important issues such as Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia during his stand-up shows. 

Art is one of the most effective forms of political protest. A powerful message can be made by challenging power structures, not staying quiet in the face of oppression and playing on the audience’s emotions.

Comedy has the ability to expose injustices in a humorous way, encouraging people to question authority and think critically about the world around them.

Youssef used his gig on Saturday Night Live (SNL) to call for a “free Palestine” and the release of “all hostages.” 

During his monologue, he made a joke about having a lot of prayers to fit into one night. He said that, as the only one who prays in a group of friends full of sinners, his prayer requests are getting complicated.  

One friend, Brian, has been in court for over 10 months in a messy divorce and wants custody of his dog, while another has family suffering in Gaza and doesn’t know where half of them are. 

“God, please. Please help Ahmed’s family. Please stop the suffering. Stop the violence. Please, free the people of Palestine. Please,” he prayed in front of the crowd at SNL

“Please free the hostages, all the hostages. Please,” he continued,

Finally, not forgetting about Brian’s dog, he concluded his monologue with a joke, “And while you’re at it, you know, free Mr. Bojangles. I mean, he’s a beautiful dog. I’m praying for that dog.” 

Youssef has always been a supporter of peace in Palestine. In March 2024, at the Oscars, he called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and donned the red “Artists4Ceasefire” pin. 

“Let’s stop killing kids. Let’s not be part of more war,” he told Variety on the red carpet. 

He also played a stand-up show at the first comedy festival in Palestine, the 1001 Laughs Palestine Comedy Festival, back in 2015. He used it to bring light to the oppression Palestinians face, being considered citizens of “nowhere,” and held both the Israeli and the U.S. government accountable for their violence and brutality towards the Palestinian people.

Youssef’s blend of humour with activism demonstrates the influential role of comedy, igniting powerful conversations about justice and accountability. 

Lama Alshami

Toronto MU '27

Lama is a first-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University living the commuter life. As a writer, Lama hopes to inspire and represent Muslim women in the media and shed light on important issues around the world. If she's not writing, you'll find Lama rewatching 2000s movies, reading historical fiction, listening to Taylor Swift or crocheting.