Two years ago, Saturday Night Live added Bowen Yang as its first ever cast member of East Asian descent. The comedian has been a vital and hilarious part of the show ever since, but on “Weekend Update” this week, he demonstrated why it really matters that he’s there.
“Across the country, rallies are being held to condemn the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes,” Colin Jost told viewers. “Here to share resources on how you can help is Asian cast member Bowen Yang.”
As those words appeared below him on the screen, Yang asked, “Is that my official title, Asian Cast Member?” When Jost reminded him that that’s the introduction he requested, Yang joked, “Yeah, I set your ass up, it feels good.”
“So things for Asians in this country have been really bleak for the past two weeks… and all the weeks before that since forever,” Yang added. “But there’s a lot of work to do and I found some posts online with action items that everyone can take to help.” With that, he shared very specific memes like “Six Ways to Check in on Your AAPI Friends and Tell Them They’re So Hot” and “Call your senators and demand that they know about the lesbian characters in Sailor Moon!”
“What can I say to help how insanely bad things are? If someone’s personality is ‘punch an Asian grandma,’ it’s not a dialogue. I have an Asian grandma, you want to punch her. There ain’t no common ground, Mama.”
Yang’s main message to anyone watching was “do more.” If you’re ordering from Chinese restaurants, he said, “let me know when you feed your white kids chicken feet.”
“You cried during Minari?” he continued. “Congrats. I was sobbing into my boner for Steven Yeun. Do more. And why are you telling me that you tipped your manicurist well? Let me know when you get on your knees and scrub your feet while she looks at your phone. Do more!”
Later, Yang explained, “I’m just a comedian. I don’t have the answers. But I’m not just looking for them online, I’m looking around me. The GoFundMe for Xiao Zhen Xie, the grandmother who fought back against her attacker, raised $900,000, which she immediately gave back to the community. That’s where we are as Asians, now come meet us there.”
Sharing a Mandarin cheer that means “fuel up,” Yang said, “I don’t know what’s helpful to say to everyone, but that’s what I say to myself. Fuel up. Do more. It’s the year of the metal ox, which basically means a car. So everyone, get in, buckle up, it’s no pee breaks. We ride at dawn, grandmas!”
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