Bowen Yang’s High School Classmates Predicted He Would Be on SNL
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Bowen Yang’s High School Classmates Predicted He Would Be on SNL

-Welcome to the show, Bowen. -Hi! Thank you for having me.
-I’m so happy you’re here. -I’m very happy to be here, wow. -And this is — this is
a workday for you. -It’s a workday.
-This is the Monday pitch day. And when I first met you,
when I hosted, you were a writer on the show.
-Yes. -And then you became
a cast member. You had auditioned before
you became a writer. -Yeah, a few times.
-And what did you — What were your audition pieces? -So I never thought it
would happen, so I just had fun with it. So I would do just like
really — just silly people. I did my soul cycle instructor, I did the choking poster guy. -Uh-huh.
[ Laughter ] -And then they would ask you
to do impressions every time. -Yeah.
-I had to go back in a few times, and then I —
at a certain point I just ran out of Asian
public figures. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] -So then I really, like, scraped
the bottom of the barrel and I did, like,
Michiko Kakutani. Do people know who she is?
[ Light laughter ] -A “New York Times”
book reviewer. -Thank you.
-Yeah. -Thank you, Seth.
-And was like — I mean, ripe for the taking. -So ripe. She —
-And I mean, for years Lorne would be like,
“We don’t have –” -“Where’s Michiko?” Who’s going to use the word
“limn” in a sketch? [ Light laughter ]
Um, she — So the thing about
her is that she was never — she’s never really been
photographed, and no one knows what she sounds like. -Perfect for an impression.
[ Laughter ] -But, it gave me free reign to
do whatever I wanted. -Yeah, there you go.
-So it was great. It was fun. -One of your first characters
you did on the show was, I guess, the minister of trade,
yes? -Yeah.
-The Trade Daddy. -Trade Daddy. Yeah. Chen Biao.
[ Cheers and applause ] -How did this — how did this
come to pass? -This was — this was part of
my, I think — one of my — in one of my auditions,
I did him right as the trade war was starting, and I was like,
“It feels topical, but, like, how do you make
this funny?” And then really the only way
to do that is just to make him catty and mean.
-Yeah. -So that’s just who he is.
-It paid off. You — you also —
this was before you were a full cast member.
-Yes. -You played Kim Jong-Un.
-Yes. -And —
[ Laughter ] -K.J.U., K.J.U. -K.J.U. He loves it, right?
-He loves it. -He loves it, right?
Yeah. [ Light laughter ] And you — but this is
fantastic. Because again, this was before
you were a full cast member, so you also had a sketch
that you’d written in the show independent of this. -I was going through, like,
a super-long dry spell. When you first start out
as a writer, you’re just getting
your bearings. And you don’t really get stuff
on, and that’s fine. It’s part of, like, the crucible
you have to walk through. But then that show, I — I helped write two
pretaped sketches and I was helping
on her monologue. And it was the busiest,
busiest — I haven’t had as busy of a week
as that since. Like, even as a cast member.
And we did this. I was in my Kim Jong-Un,
and then had to run under the bleachers during
dress rehearsal. So, when you’re writing
a sketch, you have to go sit next to Lorne,
under the audience, and he’s watching and he’s
giving you notes. He’s like, “Maybe we could cut
to Kenan sooner,” or something. And then —
[ Laughter ] But I was still
in the full K.J.U. — fit. And then just, like, sat next to
him while he was, like, giving me feedback
and I was like, “Yeah, uh-huh.” -But that’s the only way
Lorne respects you is if you dress like a dictator.
-Absolutely. [ Laughter ]
Absolutely. -He’s like, “You could do —
or not.” “Or not.
Just depending on — yep. It’s up to you today.”
-Exactly. [ Laughter ] -You — also, that was —
Sandra Oh hosting was — -Yes. -…just exciting
in its own right. But she was a big deal for you,
yeah? -She was a big deal for me. I remember seeing her
in “The Princess Diaries” and thinking,
“Who is that woman?” And then I stumbled on an
episode of “Arli$$” and I was like,
“Okay, this is not age-appropriate for me
as a child.” [ Laughter ]
And then — And then, like, watched
“Grey’s Anatomy” and thought, “Oh, I’m gonna be a doctor.” -Just because of Sandra Oh
playing one on TV? -Just because of —
absolutely. -Yeah.
-And then, really, it’s an example of
bad representation, because it tricks Asian people into going into
the medical field. [ Laughter ] -Yeah. -When they should be doing
something else. [ Laughter ]
-Now I do want to point out, like, people you grew up around
had some ideas that this was going to happen.
This is really cool. Your superlative was
“Most likely to be a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”
[ Laughter and applause ] -That’s kinda crazy.
That’s wild. -That’s really —
-It’s weird. -So…
-It’s weird. -Like, if I’m doing
the math right, you had a 10-year reunion. Did you get to go?
-I did not go, because our student body
class president is nowhere to be found.
-Oh, no. -So, I hope he’s doing okay. Zach Glenn,
if you’re doing okay, please let us know? [ Laughter ] But no, it never came together. But I would have loved to go.
-Well, it’s really — It’s really sweet…
-Yeah. -…that they — the fact —
like, you have to see them again collectively, because they will
feel so right. -Sure.
-Like, no one — -Got it. -…no one who writes
superlative — Like, at Donald Trump’s
high school, it wasn’t like, “Most likely to be
impeached,” you know? -Sure, sure, absolutely. They should all be
agents or something. -They should all be agents now. You — so you were born
in Australia — grew up in Colorado,
born in Australia. -Yes. And then Montreal
was in between. So my dad and my mom
met in China, then they moved to Brisbane. Was born there with my sister,
and then we moved to Montreal, and then we moved to Denver. So I’ve lived in all these
places that used to be owned by England.
-Yeah. -I’m a little Commonwealth
baby. Yeah. [ Laughter ]
-So your parents are Chinese. Are they — were they excited
when they heard you were on “SNL”? -They knew that
I liked the show. They knew it was a big deal for
me when I got hired as a writer. But then, they asked me — They did not know
what the show was. And, so, they were like,
“Does this mean you have to move
to Hollywood now?” Or something.
They don’t know that it’s here. -So they didn’t know the first
detail about the show. -Exactly.
-Yeah. -Truly the first piece of
information that’s given out on the show is that it’s in New
York, and they didn’t know. -Have they been able to come
and see it? -They have.
They came a couple times. They came last year
for my birthday during Liev Schreiber’s show.
-Oh, that’s good. -And they really
liked Lil Wayne. [ Laughter ] My dad was like,
“He’s really good. [ Laughter ] He’s got bars.” And then — And then they came
for the premiere this season, too, which was so great.
-Oh, that’s great. -Yeah.
-Hey, I’m so happy you’re on the show, and I’m so
happy to have you here today. It’s just absolutely fantastic
talking to you. -Thanks so much, Seth.
This is so great. -Bowen Yang, everybody.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “Bowen Yang’s High School Classmates Predicted He Would Be on SNL

  1. he #sucks

    SNL identity politics gay hire …all he's done is play gay stereotypes on the show
    For a funny cast member, see Kate McKinnon…not hired because she's homosexual

  2. Funniest new cast member in a long time, especially when Scarlett was on. "First Asian cast member turned into, Twitter's gonna eat you alive" 😂

  3. Bowen, Chris Redd and Melissa Villaseñor are the only reasons I still watch the SNL sketches. Those three need WAY more screen time!

  4. Absolutely unfunny here & on snl. Mayb he needs the right character idk but dont feel him on snl. Or even mayb dont put him in sketches with the funny snl characters. Guna look up his Kim sketches, didn't know he did that.

  5. Is Bowen Yang gay? Or does he just do flamboyant REALLY well?
    He always plays the token gay or the token Asian… …and I'm PRETTY SURE he is Asian LOL 😂😂😂

  6. Bowen is hands-down one the of best additions to the SNL cast of the past decade (and the funniest since Kate and Cecily). He's made cast members and hosts alike break character in pretty much every sketch he's been in.

  7. Asian parents need to let their kids pick the career they want they seem to thrive more doing the things they like to do.

  8. This video was recommended to me after seeing Kelly Marie Tran on The Daily Show and I gotta say in my entire lifetime there has never been this many Asian Americans in entertainment and it's so exciting and a long time coming.

  9. It’s a disgrace how he makes fun of Andrew Yang on the show. He has no dignity and I’m Asian so don’t come at me with comments bashing. I’m just calling it the way I see it. We have a real shot at electing a Progressive President and he shits on the man for media attention. Shame on you sir. #Yang2020 #YangGang

  10. As an asian american, i didnt mind the lack of asian representation on SNL until bowen yang joined the cast. now, im always so excited and proud when he shows up in a sketch

  11. Oh my god I love him so much!! Saw him on The Outs for the first time and he was so amazing! He's been consistently improving since then, so happy for him!

  12. He was my stand partner in high school. I was in his sister’s grade. Super stoked to see him blow up after all his hard work.

  13. Anyone else go back, hit the captions, figure out he's saying "limn" and then have to Google that? I love him just for this.

  14. From the moment Bowen slid into the SoulCycle sketch I knew he was going to be the highlight of any sketch – and then he actually grabbed Mikey Day's junk during the Surprise Home Makeover sketch with Jennifer Lopez LOL

  15. As a gay asian guy, I look forward to what he will do on SNL, mostly cause I can finally look to SNL for a halloween costume.

  16. idk why, but this dude makes me crack up every time he is on screen. #BowenIsGoingPlaces
    I can't wait until he hits his stride, though. Great first year, but he's only going to keep going up.

  17. An affirmative action hire. Not funny at all; just does the "gay voice" and doesn't mix it up at all. Kate is much more diverse.

  18. Hey Bowen, I'm pretty sure I just found Zach Glenn:

  19. Why do I feel he's just the SNL token Asian man? Like. as an Asian, I was really glad when he was casted.
    But when I looked him up, watched his stand up, he isn't funny. All the sketches he's been in, his roles, especially the significant ones are underwhelmingly or awkwardly performed.
    He's like Ken Jeong. Ken is funny, sure. But he's got acting chops on the same level as Conan O'Brien's, so I don't get his fame.
    Same with Bowen here man. While I'm glad there's a representation for Asian americans, I'm also expecting for those representatives to be just as skilled with their black or white counterparts.
    Not be representatives just for representation. That's just pandering and I find it quite repulsive.

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