The Amber Ruffin Show serves up another significant episode

Amber Ruffin (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/Peacock)
Amber Ruffin (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/Peacock) /

We’ve reached the end of the week which means a brand new episode of The Amber Ruffin Show dropped last night on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. Coincidentally on the same day, it was announced that the late night show was being renewed through September.

Ruffin starts the show off with yet another round of her cleverly-written and goofy monologue jokes about a variety of news that occurred during the week from Coronavirus cases quadrupling, singer-songwriter Beyonce winning her 28th Grammy award to Utah lawmakers voting to make sure smartphones sold in the state are equipped with “pornography” filters. Ruffin also acknowledges Lips Appreciation Day (which was held on Mar. 15) and the news that legendary Mattel doll product Ken is “turning 60”. Throughout each joke, Ruffin and her sidekick Tarik Davis can be seen experiencing multiple laughing fits.

At the end of the monologue, Ruffin asks Davis if he enjoyed the monologue to which Davis replies that he did and is shown on camera, not in his normal late night show attire but instead in a Lord of the Rings-inspired Bilbo Baggins costume. According to Ruffin, Davis must’ve misheard when Ruffin said they were going to have a “back and forth”. Davis said that he thought they were doing a “Baggins forth” referring to the duo having a conversation while Davis is dressed in the hobbit’s garb. Ruffin even goes so far as to say that Davis thinks that they were going to do “some sort of Lord of the Rings-themed fantasy sketch.” This skit definitely caught me off guard and might confuse some viewers since it practically came out of nowhere but I definitely found it very playful and funny even though I had no idea where it was going.

Ruffin continues the show with a segment about events and happenings that will occur after the global pandemic has ended in a segment called “Stuff To Look Forward To.” This includes going to a concert and becoming temporary best friends with a stranger, locking eyes with your best friend at your other best friend’s wedding, going back to work and seeing your favorite coworker who’ll tell you the “juicy” gossip they’ve heard around the office, and traveling to a new country. She concludes the segment by reminding viewers to stay safe and most importantly wear their masks. Of course, no Amber Ruffin Show episode is complete without a musical number. This week, performer James T. Lane and Davis break out into song in a performance made just for women.

Check out the video below for the full “Stuff to Look Forward To” segment and the “A Song for the Women”:

Amber Ruffin informs viewers about the history of Asian American mistreatment

In response to the mass shooting in Atlanta, in which eight people were killed including six women of Asian descent, Amber Ruffin addressed the history of racism towards Asian Americans. Ruffin’s “How Did We Get Here?” opens with a statement on how these hate crimes have become more frequent over the past year:

"America has a long and well-documented history of anti-Asian racism but during the coronavirus pandemic, violent attacks against Asian Americans have increased by 150%. Asian Americans have reported street harassment, attacks on their elders, and vandalism of their businesses."

Recently, California Rep. Ted Liu suggested that former President Trump had fueled the rise of anti-Asian attacks with his anti-China rhetoric. Ruffin alludes to this at the beginning of the segment as she elaborates on the multiple ways that America has wrongfully treated Asian people.

Ruffin then decides to talk about the “Model Minority Myth” which suggests that well-off, successful middle-class Asians are “proof that racism doesn’t exist” and that other minorities “just aren’t working as hard”.

She also explains the “Yellow Peril Myth,” a  racist color-metaphor that represents East Asian people as an existential danger to the Western world. Ruffin’s history lesson highlights the Chinese Exclusion Act, which is the first and only law that previously prevented all members of a specific ethnic group from immigrating to America, specifically targeting Chinese women. When speaking about this act, Ruffin refers to America as the “bouncer of countries” as she leads into a commentary on the U.S. putting Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

Ruffin concludes the segment by telling viewers that disrespect towards Asian Americans will not be tolerated and relates the events that happened to the sentiments felt during the multiple Black Lives Matter protests that occurred in the summer of 2020. Ruffin acknowledges her Asian American viewers by saying: “your feelings are valid and you deserve to feel safe, you deserve to be safe. We love you.”

Watch the full segment below:

After the break, Ruffin speaks on Turner Classic Movies beginning a series called “Reframed Classics” that provides historical context on “problematic” films in a segment called “Reframed Flops”. In the segment, Ruffin briefly comments on three films that received public backlash for their misuse of casting: John Carter (2012), The 13th Warrior (1999), and The Lone Ranger (2013). The last one on that list had its leading role portrayed by Armie Hammer who has been making controversial news headlines.

Afterward, Ruffin introduces the segment “Listen to a Black Woman” where she details different topics that viewers should know about and hear from a black woman, i.e. Ruffin herself. The topics include New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the COVID vaccine, pineapple on pizza, American actresses Helen Hunt and Holly Hunter, pets named after another animal, Paddington 3, birds, music group Bell Biv Devoe, actress Jane Fonda, and advice for the future which Ruffin says is to “never stop watching The Amber Ruffin Show.”

To close out the episode, Academy Award-nominated director Ava Duvernay makes an appearance. Duvernay said that she first met Ruffin when she was directing the historical drama Selma and goes on to claim that Ruffin asked to play the role of Martin Luther King. “I’ll never forget what I said to her,” Duvernay says, “I finished filming the movie, Amber. We’re watching it right now. Please stop talking. It was a lovely exchange.”

I think it’s safe to say that this episode of The Amber Ruffin Show was just the right balance of incredibly hilarious moments with informative commentary on important current events. What did you think of last night’s episode? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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You can watch The Amber Ruffin Show when episodes premiere on NBC’s Peacock website and app Fridays at 9:00 P.M. EST.