Ana de Armas Opens Up About Learning English From ‘Friends’ During ‘SNL’ Monologue

Ana de Armas paid homage to her Cuban roots during her “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut on Saturday. As the “Blonde” star emerged on stage for her monologue, she greeted the audience in Spanish, before opening up about her experience coming to the United States.

“Gracias, gracias,” De Armas said in response to a roar of applause. “He tenido un año increíble y estoy muy feliz de estar aquí presentando el programa de esta noche.” (“Thank you, thank you; I’ve had an incredible year and I’m very happy to be here hosting the show tonight.”)

“I speak English,” De Armas continued, “But I didn’t when I first got to the U.S. I was born in Cuba. I came to America when I was 26, and I learned English the way everyone who comes to this country does: by watching ‘Friends.’”

“Who would have thought that the best English tutor would be Chandler Bing?” De Armas joked, proceeding to mimic the fan-favorite sitcom character. “I mean look at me now; could I be any better at English?”

De Armas went on to explain the hardships she faced coming to America with English as a second language. She used the example of an acting class, “which was definitely a scam,” centered around the audition process: “There was this line, ‘I beg your pardon.’ But I had never seen or heard that phrase, so I thought this character was literally begging.”

The Academy Award nominee also shouted out Robert de Niro during her opening remarks, who she met while working on her first movie in the U.S., titled “Hands of Stone.” De Armas elaborated on how the fellow actor visited her father at work while on a trip to Cuba.

“That was such a kind gesture, and I have been so fortunate to work with so many wonderful actors,” De Armas concluded. “My dad was so proud of me, and he would be proud to see me today standing on this stage. I feel very lucky to be here.”

De Armas’ latest project with co-star Chris Evans, an Apple TV+ film titled “Ghosted,” will premiere April 21. The actor also wrapped filming alongside Keanu Reeves for “Ballerina,” the fourth installment of the “John Wick” franchise.

Like De Armas, Karol G will later make her “Saturday Night Live” debut as the musical guest of the evening. The Colombian singer-songwriter received the Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2018 and has since topped the Billboard 200 with the release of her latest studio album, Mañana Será Bonito.

The April 15 episode opened with repertory players Heidi Gardner and Bowen Yang playing co-news anchors Dana and Jace, reporting live from Central Park in New York City. The duo interview an eclectic array of typical park-goers dressing in questionable attire for the recent 90-degree weather.

“Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes as well as Michael Che and Colin Jost, co-anchors of Weekend Update. Featured players include James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernández, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.

Produced by Broadway Video and SNL Studios, the 48-season sketch show is helmed by series creator Lorne Michaels and director Liz Patrick.

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