The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, after millions of women marched in Washington, D.C., and beyond, Aziz Ansari stood up on “Saturday Night Live” to deliver the show’s opening monologue.
It was a hit. The comedian behind Netflix’s woke study of modern life, “Master of None,” came out swinging against Trump and his supporters, at one point blaming Islamophobia in America in large part on “that scary ass music from ‘Homeland.’” That theme of anti- anti-immigrant sentiment paralleled an essay he wrote for The New York Times months before titled “Why Trump Makes Me Scared For My Family,” who are Muslims from India.
With that track record, Ansari isn’t blind to American politics, but he’s tired of it.
“I just have Trump fatigue,” he said at New York’s Vulture Festival on Saturday.
The comedian was asked whether he had anything more to say about politics, after his most recent appearance, starring as Dev in “Master of None,” circumvented any direct mention of Trump or American nationalism.
“I don’t read the news anymore. I can’t deal with it. I know that’s not the most exciting answer, but I can’t deal with the whole cycle!” he replied, giving a joking example of a news item featuring Trump: “‘He said something crazy. He still hasn’t apologized for saying the crazy thing. Other people have denounced the crazy thing. All right, he kind of apologized,’” and after a pause, “’He just said another crazy thing!’ It’s just this loop. And I don’t think it’s making me more aware of what’s going on in the world. It’s like reading soap opera rumors about wrestling or something, it just doesn’t seem real.”
“I just don’t like seeing the name, or talking about it or thinking about it or anything. Trump fatigue,” Ansari said.
Preparation for his “SNL” gig back in January, though, certainly involved heavy immersion in the news. The comedian explained how he took advice from Louis C.K. and Chris Rock, perfecting his set at New York’s Comedy Cellar over the holidays by performing six to nine shows per night instead of going on vacation.
Ansari came up with material that was topical ― even if some of it wasn’t a right fit for the audience’s mood that day. He recalled the gist of one joke that was cut after rehearsal: “People are really motivated. They’re ready to do something. You’ve never seen people this energized! They’re ready to get out there ― to an extent.”
He continued, “You know, because everybody, you see people sitting around at brunch saying, ‘What can we do?’ And someone goes, ‘Well, we could get involved with the state and local government. We could work with organizations like Planned Parenthood and the NRDC.’ And then people are like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do any of that!’”
Maybe his outlook will change with time, especially if he and series co-creator Alan Yang gather up enough material for a Season 3 of “Master of None.” But for now, Ansari is taking a big step back from the headlines.
“Things were changing every day,” he said of the period surrounding Trump’s inauguration.
“And it still is. Every day there’s something new and insane that’s happening.”