Bowen Yang, you have done it again. Constantly raising the bar for us all, and doing it flawlessly. On last night’s Saturday Night Live, Yang took to the “Weekend Update” desk and basically turned it to dust with his talent, giving a monologue about anti-Asian hate and violence that was as funny as it was powerful. After being introduced with a title card that reads “Asian cast member” (“is that my official title?”) Yang shared his own spin on those infographics you’ve seen floating around Instagram about how you can help AAPI communities in the wake of the racist Atlanta murders and overall rise in hate crimes, like “Six ways to check in on your AAPI friends and tell them they’re so hot,” and, “Call your senators and demand they know about the lesbian characters in Sailor Moon!” (But actually.) Yang went on to express a feeling of helplessness in the face of straight-up imperialism and racism, saying, “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,” before getting to his central thesis: “Do more.” As in, it goes beyond just a one-time donation. As in, “Why are you telling me that you tipped your manicurist well? Let me know when you get on your knees and scrub her feet while she looks at your phone. Do more.”
By the end of the monologue, Yang has pivoted from jokes to sadness to empowerment, sharing the Mandarin cheer jiayou, which essentially translates to “fuel up!” and saying, “It’s the Year of the Metal Ox, which basically means a car. So everybody get in, buckle up, there’s no pee breaks, we ride at dawn, grandmas!” It’s one of the best things we’ve seen on Weekend Update in ages, and a testament to Yang’s ever-growing powers as a cast member. We still want to see his “Gay Passover Bunny” character, though.