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Gay Asian comic Bowen Yang joins Saturday Night Live cast

Nick Duffy September 12, 2019
Bowen Yang is joining the cast of Saturday Night Live

Bowen Yang is joining the cast of Saturday Night Live (FilmMagic/Getty)

Gay comic Bowen Yang has joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, becoming the show’s first full-time cast member from an Asian background.

It was announced on Thursday (September 12) that Yang would be joining SNL for its upcoming 45th season, which is set to begin on September 28.

Yang, whose parents are from China, is best known as the co-host of gay comedy podcast Las Culturistas, as well as for his viral lip-sync videos to dramatic monologues.

The comic has previously served as a staff writer on the show during its 44th season, co-writing a skit that featured Emma Stone as an actress who is cast in a gay porn film as the cheated-on girlfriend. He also made occasional appearances on the show previously as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Yang, 29, was congratulated on Twitter by friends and fans, who pointed out that he was one of only a few out gay men to have joined the SNL cast.

Bowen Yang is first gay Asian comic on SNL

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon tweeted: “OMG YES YES YES 🙆🏼‍♂️👏🏻❤️”

One supporter tweeted: “First Asian cast member and also one of the VERY few openly gay men on the cast. Putting on my Terry Sweeney Nancy Reagan wig and clapping for @bowenyang!”

Bowen Yang as Kim Jong-un with Sandra Oh on Saturday Night Live
Bowen Yang as Kim Jong-un with Sandra Oh on Saturday Night Live

Another joked: “if you truly care about asian representation, you must venmo all your gay asian male friends $5 to congratulate them on this victory.”

Yang will not be the only out LGBT+ cast member, however, with Kate McKinnon returning to the show.

The two other new cast members announced on Thursday are Shane Gillis and Chloe Fineman.

Saturday Night Live has come under scrutiny before over lack of out gay men

SNL has previously been called out for its lack of gay male comics, with 1980s staple Terry Sweeney and short-lived 2014 cast member John Milhiser among the only out men to have appeared.

James Adomian, who is known for his viral impersonations of Bernie Sanders, said in 2018: “We are in a golden age of gay male comics, at live shows, around the country and at festivals.

“We are very well-presented at live shows and on the internet. Television? Not so much.

“It’s sad for me to see these guys and go, ‘Oh my god, this is great!’, and then you realize, oh f**k, there’s a brick wall in front of them…. it would be nice if they put a gay man on camera on that show.”

He claimed that execs including SNL’s Lorne Michaels were afraid of putting gay men on TV, adding: “[They’re saying], I’m not homophobic, but I’m afraid that my audience is.”

More: Bowen Yang, saturday night live, SNL

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