Issa Rae made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut on Saturday, October 17, and the Insecure creator and star used her opening monologue to reflect on her career—which took off just as the country was, as she put it, “collapsing” from the 2016 election.
She began her monologue by noting how much of an honor it was to perform on the same stage as some of her faves, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. “I’m scared that I might throw up but I gotta hold it down because I’m the first black person to host SNL y’all,” she joked. ”I’m really not. OK, I’m lying, it’s not true. But y’all believed it for a second. What if I kept lying to y’all like that? I hope y’all wouldn’t even notice.”
Rae went on to explain that she was originally supposed to host the show back in March, but it was postponed—just like so many other TV shows and movies—due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also pointed out that she’s hosting SNL around the same time her show premiered on HBO four years ago, right before Donald Trump was elected president.
“The [election] results came in, and, of course, everybody was freaking out. I was freaking out,” Rae continued. “And it felt really awkward for my life to be going so good. Like, it was rude to be peaking right when democracy was collapsing.”
She added, “It’s just really weird to say thank god for what happened in the fall of 2016.”
The four-time Emmy nominee later compared the first year of Insecure to her freshman year of high school, admitting she felt “awkward and Black.” She explained, “I’d see all the cliques and the cool girls that I wanted to be friends with, and I even dealt with bullies sometimes.”
“You guys know it as Twitter,” Rae quipped. “Twitter can be so scary. Being dragged on social media feels like a low-stakes horror movie.”
Ultimately though, Rae noted that her hosting gig is a career milestone. “If doing my show for the last four years is like high school, SNL is like my and you guys are all my dates,” she said. “I’m ready to go all the way y’all.”
Watch Issa Rae’s full Saturday Night Live monologue, below: