Ariana DeBose drew social media critics for her “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig, but the boo birds smacked of racism and homophobia.
The slight slip came during her opening monologue, which was, otherwise, as smooth as her performance in the big screen hit “West Side Story.”
She said she was crazy nervous.
The actress, singer and dancer, who revealed she is dyslexic, muffed the date during her opening monologue and social media boo birds came out in force.
She blamed the slip on “nerves” and slapped back at critics, insisting they had no idea how much “pressure” she was under fronting live primetime sketch comedy show.
Her line was supposed to be “Wow, 2022 has already been an exciting year.”
But she said “2020” instead. No big whoop, but it doesn’t take much for social media wags to react with snark.
“She know its 2022 not 2020 right????” one critic wrote.
“You try hosting SNL, reading cue cards with slight dyslexia and then get back to me brah,” the 30-year-old star replied.
It didn’t take long to figure out the origin of the criticism. One critic compared her to President Joe Biden. According to some Republican political opponents he lacks the mental capacity at his age–79– for the job.
“Maybe get someone who isn’t on level with Joe Biden at reading since that’s a qualification to acting…reading lines,” the critic wrote.
The upshot is Ariana was not qualified for the role, which smacks of both racism and misogny. As it happens, she also identifies as “queer.”
Of course, Ariana just won a Golden Globe award for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 movie adaptation of the Jerome Robbins 1961 musical classic “West Side Story.”
She’s also been nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for the same role and seems an odds-on favorite for an Oscar nomination.
Ariana brushed off the critic: “Cool. You’re a troll. Bye,” she responded.
But it begs the question; why so thin skinned? As a veteran actress DeBose should be used to criticism–even unfounded criticism– by now.
She’s been performing professionally since 2009, with most of her early work on local and regional theater. She understudied on the Broadway show Bring It On in 2011.
Her Broadway credits include playingt Mary Wilson in Motown and understudying for the role of Supremes lead singer Diana Ross.
She sequed to the big screen in the film adaptation of The Prom, directed by Ryan Murphy.
“West Side Story” was her breakout role in movies and she has two other upcoming films, “I.S.S.,” which is in post-production and “Argylle,” which she is currently filming.
SNL castmates were unfazed by the snafu.
“I thought it was part of the joke! Because you know it’s like 2020 all over again! Forget the haters! You were amazing!!!!” wrote writer Julissa Arce.
“Destroyed it!!!” added veteran castmember Kenan Thompson.
Ariana perform songs from the film with comedian Kate McKinnon.
And she quipped that ‘West Side Story’ – which is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was “based on another classic tale of star-crossed lovers… ’90 Day Fiance.'”
Check out her monologue below and let us know your thoughts.