Watch: Out 'SNL' Star Bowen Yang Urges, 'Fuel Up! Do More!' Against Anti-Asian Hate

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday March 29, 2021

Out "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bowen Yang took over the "Weekend Update" for a four-minute piece in which he decried hate crimes against Asian Americans Vulture reports.

Introduced by "Weekend Update" anchor Colin Jost as the "Asian cast member" of the show, Yang fired back: "Wait, is that my official title?" Today reported.

"That's how you told me to introduce you," Yang said.

"Yeah, I set your ass up," Yang cracked. "It feels good."

Yang pointed out that "things for Asians in this country have been bleak for the past two weeks, and all the weeks before that since forever," and though he did not mention specifics, Vulture noted the recent "racist Atlanta murders" in which a mass shooter killed six Asian female massage therapists working in spas in that city, as well as the "overall rise in hate crimes" in America since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News sources have noted that anti-Asian bias crimes and hate rhetoric were fueled earlier in the course of the pandemic by former President Trump, who spoke of the health crisis as the "kung flu" and the "China virus".

Yang went on to share "action items" he said he'd seen online, including "check in on your AAPI friends and tell them they're so hot" and "amplify these Asian voices who want more Paneras in North Brooklyn."

"That's really something that Asian communities are concerned about?" Jost asked.

"Yeah, it is for the ones in my neighborhood," Yang replied. "Call your Senators and demand that they know about the lesbian characters in 'Sailor Moon!' " the 1990s anime that featured as same-sex romance but, infamously, saw that relationship erased in the show's translation and dubbing for the American market.

Saying that things are "insanely bad" for Asians in the U.S., Yang declared: "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 went on to boil it down to a pithy catch phrase: "Do more."

"You cried during 'Minari?' " Bowen said. "Congrats. I was sobbing into my boner for Steven Yeun," the former "Walking Dead" cast member who stars in the highly acclaimed film. "Do more!

"Why are you telling me that you tip your manicurist well?" Yang said. "Let me know when you get on your knees and scrub her feet while she looks at your phone. Do more!"

"I don't even want to be doing this Update piece," Bowen added. "I wanted to do my character 'Gay Passover Bunny,' but - too smart for the show."

"It's too smart?" Jost said. "It was 20-minutes long."

"Whatever. You're scared," Bowen said.

"I'm just a comedian; I don't have the answers. But I'm not just looking online. I'm looking around me." Bowen cited "the grandmother who fought off her attacker" and garner close to a million dollars in donations at GoFundMe, "which she immediately gave back to the community. That's where we are as Asians. Now, come meet us there."

Yang referenced a Mandarin cheer, "jiayou," which, he said, "basically means 'Fuel up.' I don't know what's helpful to say to everyone, but that's what I say to myself: Fuel up. Do more."

Noting that 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox in Chinese astrology -- which he likened to a car -- Yang wrapped up by declaring, "Everyone get in, buckle up, it's no pee breaks, we ride at dawn, grandmas!"

Watch Yang's monologue in the clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.