Asian-American comic Bowen Yang is a featured
player on "Saturday Night Live" this season. (Alex Schaefer/NBC)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #18 (September 16,
2019), page 8.
"SNL" adds three to its cast, including
Asian-American comic Bowen Yang
By Lynn Elber
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES — "Saturday Night Live" is adding three new cast
members for its upcoming 45th season, including the show’s only
Bowen Yang, who joined NBC’s "SNL" last season as a staff
writer, will be a featured player, NBC said. Yang is co-host of
a podcast, "Las Culturistas."
Also joining the show as featured players are Chloe Fineman
and Shane Gillis. Fineman has been a regular performer with the
Groundlings improv company, and both she and Gillis were
featured as "New Faces" at the Just for Laughs Festival in
"Saturday Night Live" has taken heat over the years for an
overall lack of ethnic diversity, with scant Asian
representation among its cast members or hosts.
Former players Fred Armisen and Rob Schneider both are
one-quarter Asian, but neither has been widely recognized for
their Asian ancestry. Among hosts, the long history of "SNL"
includes a short list of Asian or Asian Americans, with
Awkwafina, Aziz Ansari, and Jackie Chan among them.
Change is a constant at "SNL." Leslie Jones, who joined the
show after it was criticized in 2013 for the absence of an
African-American woman among its regular or featured players, is
focusing on stand-up and movies and won’t be back this season.
The show returns September 28 with host Woody Harrelson and
musical guest Billie Eilish.
After the announcement of new "SNL" cast members, a video
clip of Shane Gillis re-emerged in a news report. The video
shows Gillis using a racial slur for Chinese people and deriding
Asians trying to learn English. The video apparently was posted
in 2018 to a YouTube channel featuring Gillis and fellow
comedian Matt McCusker, according to a story by Variety.