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Ramy Youssef Calls to Free Palestinians and Hostages in Emotional "SNL" Monologue (Video)

Mon 01 Apr 2024 | 10:49 PM
Ramy Youssef
Ramy Youssef
Yara Sameh

In his “Saturday Night Live” monologue, Egyptian-American actor Ramy Youssef called for a free Palestine and the release of the hostages taken in the Israel-Hamas War.

“This is an incredibly spiritual weekend. We’re in the holy month of Ramadan. Tomorrow is Easter. And yesterday, Beyoncé released a new album. There’s just so many religions celebrating all at once,” Youssef joked.

He went on to talk about the power of prayer and joked, “In my friend group, I’m one of the only guys who prays. I’m friends with a lot of sinners, like, just disgusting people. And they call me when they’re in trouble because they want me to pray for them.”

Youssef recounted getting a call from his friend Ahmed, who asked him to pray for his family in Gaza.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, I got you,'” Youssef recalled. “So that night, I go to pray, and my prayers are complicated. I’ve got a lot to fit in. I’m like, ‘God, please, please help Ahmed’s family. Please stop the suffering. Stop the violence. Please free the people of Palestine, please. And please free the hostages, all the hostages, please.”

He then paused and wrapped up the monologue with a smile: “And while you’re at it, you know, free Mr. Bojangles. He’s a beautiful dog. I’m praying for that dog.”

In his monologue, Youssef touched on the upcoming election, saying, “I don’t like either option to be honest with you.”

“I really think our next president should be a woman,” Youssef said to loud cheers and claps. “You know what I mean? Like, that would be amazing.”

He recalled being contacted before the 2020 election by a man named Mohamed working on Joe Biden’s campaign, who told him that Biden was “a big fan of your work” and “we love everything that you’ve done for Arab America.” Youssef then quipped, “He said it like it was a country.”

Mohamed asked Youssef for his help in swinging Michigan blue — “Arab America!” the comedian joked.

“He said, ‘Joe’s aware, [of you],'” Youssef added. “That’s huge, right? Because Joe has an awareness issue. I mean, ‘Joe’s aware.’ That’s like a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Youssef has been a vocal advocate for peace between Israel and Gaza, wearing an Artists for Ceasefire pin to the Academy Awards. 

“We’re calling for immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza. We’re calling for peace and lasting justice for the people of Palestine,” Youssef told Variety‘ on the red carpet. “It’s a universal message of, ‘Let’s stop killing kids. Let’s not be part of more war.’ No one has ever looked back at war and thought a bombing campaign was a good idea. To be surrounded by so many artists who are willing to lend their voices, the list is growing. A lot of people are going to be wearing these pins tonight. There’s a lot of talking heads on the news, this is a space of talking hearts. We’re trying to have this big beam to humanity.”

Youssef is hot off the release of his second HBO comedy special, “More Feelings,” which premiered on March 23. 

In it, the Egyptian-American comic riffs on topics including the 2024 presidential election, the importance of prayer, and a childhood book report that changed the course of his life.

Youssef is best known for creating and starring in the Hulu comedy series “Ramy,” which follows an Egyptian American family living in New Jersey as they navigate spirituality, money problems, and political divides. 

Youssef alongside Mo Amer co-created the Netflix series “Mo,” which is currently shooting its second season. Earlier this year, he hit the awards circuit in support of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things,” in which he starred as Max McCandles alongside Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe.