Daniel Kaluuya made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut tonight, and his funny monologue skewered a serious topic, made fun of a Golden Globes glitch and served as a thank-you to a long-running cast member of NBC’s late-night staple.
The London-born actor started off by saying, “First of all, I know you’re hearing my accent and thinking, ‘Oh no, he’s not Black — he’s British.” After affirming that he indeed is both, he said, “Basically I’m what the royal family was worried the baby would look like.
”The joke — which elicited some of the biggest laughs of the night — was in reference to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s high-profile interview with Oprah in which they alleged that an unnamed palace official questioned them, while she was pregnant, about supposed concerns over their baby’s skin tone.
Kaluuya ran with the topic, saying people ask him what’s worse — British racism or American racism. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “British racism is so bad, white people left. They wanted to be free — free to create their own kind of racism. So that’s why they created Australia, South Africa and Boston.
He then talked about his Oscar-nominated supporting role as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in Judas and the Black Messiah, and a clip was played of his Zoomed acceptance speech.
“I was muted — can you believe that? I told the best joke of my life, and I was muted. I felt like I was in a sunken place,” a reference to his other Oscar-nominated role in 2017’s Get Out.
Turning semi-serious, Kaluuya said he was grateful to be hosting and name-checked a certain 1990s Nickelodeon series.
“When I was 9 years old,” he said, “I wrote a play that got performed at Hampshire Theatre with real actors and everything. This is a true story — that play was based on Kenan & Kel. And that play led me down a path that got me to this stage tonight with Kenan [Thompson] backstage right now. And I just want to take this moment to in front of Kenan and the whole world to say: Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God. And thank you Kel.”