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“The Bear” Star Ayo Edebiri Gets Choked Up During 1st “SNL ”Hosting“ ”Gig, Questions Nikki Haley in Surprise Cameo

The actress made her 'SNL' debut with Jennifer Lopez as musical guest this weekend and Nikki Haley appearing as a surprise guest

<p>SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/YOUTUBE</p>

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/YOUTUBE

Ayo Edebiri made her Saturday Night Live debut this weekend.

The Bear actress, 28, hosted the late-night comedy sketch show for the first time on Saturday, with Jennifer Lopez as musical guest, and during her monologue, the actress became visibly emotional as she explained how meaningful the moment was for her.

"I am so excited to be here. SNL means so much to me. This really is a dream come true," Edebiri said, her voice breaking as she became choked up and visibly emotional.

"I was born and raised in Boston, which makes me the first Black woman to ever admit that. Three days into February and I'm already making Black history," she joked.

Elsewhere in her monologue she explained the preparation that had gone into her role on The Bear.

"We all had to work in actual restaurants so we could truly capture that kitchen energy," she began. "When people saw my costar Jeremy Allen White working in the restaurant, they'd be like, 'Whoa that's Jeremy Allen White, he must be preparing for a role, so method!' And when they saw me they'd just be like, 'How much longer for my tilapia?' "

Edebiri had another emotional moment at the end of her monologue, becoming choked up once more as she described her hosting gig as a "homecoming."

"Genuinely, I am so excited for tonight. I came up in the New York comedy scene with some of my best friends who I am so blessed to be working with here tonight and it really truly feels like a homecoming."

As well as the actress taking part in various fun sketches throughout the show, including a hilarious skit poking fun at the viral Dune movie popcorn bucket, and musical performances from Lopez, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley also made a surprise cameo during the show's cold open.

The former South Carolina governor appeared in the SNL sketch of a 'CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall' asking questions of former president, Donald Trump, played by James Austin Johnson. Edebiri also appeared in the cold open, as an audience member directing a question at Haley.

"I was just curious what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War?" she asked the politician. "Um, and do you think it starts with an ‘s’ and ends with a ‘lavery’?"

"Yep, I probably should’ve said that the first time," Haley responded, before introducing the show itself: "And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!"

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Elsewhere in the show, Edebiri appeared to jokingly address negative comments she had previously made about Lopez's singing and career on the podcast 'Scam Goddess' in 2020.

"OK, OK, we get it. It's wrong to leave mean comments or post comments just for clout or run your mouth on a podcast and you don't consider the impact because you're 24 and stupid," the hosting actress said during a sketch titled, 'Why'd You Say It?' — where contestants are shown comments they have previously made online and have to explain why they made them.

"But I think I stand for everyone when I say from now on, we're gonna be a lot more thoughtful about what we post online!"

Ahead of the big night, Edebiri appeared in a Wednesday promo video for her episode. In it, Edebiri delivered an impassioned speech attempting to pump up cast members Mikey Day, Molly Kearney and Ego Nwodim. As the trio lounged in the audience seats expressing their exhaustion, Edebiri dramatically declared, “This could be the greatest show of our lives!”

<p>NBC</p>

NBC

Related: Ayo Edebiri Learned Real Fight Skills for 'Bottoms': 'Definitely Know How to Throw a Punch' (Exclusive)

She continued, “And you’re just gonna let that opportunity slip away? One hundred million people could be watching.”

Met with indifference from Day, Kearney and Nwodim, a resigned Edebiri said, “I just wanted to get you guys hyped, ‘cause this is my first time hosting, and J.Lo is gonna be the musical guest.” At the mention of “Jenny from the Block,” the three leapt out of their seats in excitement, whirring out of the room and smashing a TV screen on their way out.

“Am I gonna get charged for that?” Edebiri asked.

<p>Will Heath/NBC via Getty</p>

Will Heath/NBC via Getty

Edebiri has had a meteoric rise in the last year with lead roles in the hit comedy film Bottoms alongside longtime friend Rachel Sennott and in the acclaimed dramedy The Bear opposite Jeremy Allen White. One of 2023’s breakout stars, she crowned her massive year with an Emmy for her Bear role as Sydney Adamu, winning outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series.

Related: Ayo Edebiri Shares a Secret Selfie Carson Daly Left on Her Phone After She Won an Emmy: 'We're Bonded for Life'

The Golden Globe winner recently dropped out of the upcoming Marvel film Thunderbolts due to scheduling conflicts. Her next film is set to be a starring role in an A24 horror titled Opus.

Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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