“SNL” host Ramy Youssef prays for God to 'free Palestine' and 'free the hostages' in emotional monologue

The "Ramy" creator and "Poor Things" actor opened this week's show with a plea to "stop the suffering" and "stop the violence" in the Israel-Hamas war.

Ahead of Easter Sunday, Ramy Youssef opened his Saturday Night Live hosting debut by addressing his faith and the Israel-Hamas war.

Beginning on a light note, the comedian and Ramy creator joked, “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 went on to talk about the power of prayer, telling the audience, “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.”

He then joked about a friend in the middle of a custody battle over his dog, before detailing a call from another friend, Ahmed, who asked Youssef to pray for his family in Gaza.

“I’m like, ‘Dude, I got you.’ So that night, I go to pray, and my prayers are… complicated,” Youssef said. “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.’”

<p>YouTube/NBC</p> Ramy Youssef on 'Saturday Night Live'


Ramy Youssef on 'Saturday Night Live'

As the live audience cheered, the Poor Things actor added, “'And please free the hostages, all the hostages, please.'”

He followed his remarks with some levity, adding, “‘And while you’re at it, you know, free Mr. Bojangles. He’s a beautiful dog. I’m praying for that dog.'”

Youssef, a vocal advocate for peace in Palestine, was one of many attendees who wore an Artists for Ceasefire pin to the Academy Awards earlier this month.

“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 Oscars 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.”

He continued, “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 not the first SNL host who has made an impassioned reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict. When the series kicked off its 49th season in October, Pete Davidson toed the line between humor and sincerity while addressing the violence overseas during his episode’s cold open.

"This week we saw the horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza. And I know what you're thinking: 'Who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson,'" the former SNL cast member joked at the time. "Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was 7 years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that's like."

He continued, "I saw so many terrible pictures this week. Children suffering. Israeli children and Palestinian children. And it took me back to a really horrible, horrible place. No one in this world deserves to suffer like that, especially not kids."

Watch Youssef’s full monologue above.

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