Bowen Yang used a recent “Saturday Night Live” segment to deliver a powerful message and ask people to “do more” to stop anti-Asian violence.
Yang took center stage during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment on Saturday to comment on the wave of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) during the pandemic. (NBC Universal is the parent company of NBC News and “SNL.”)
The comedian, who became the show’s first Asian cast member in 2019, began his monologue by playfully calling out co-anchor Colin Jost for introducing him as an “Asian cast member.”
“That’s how you told me to introduce you,” Jost said.
“I set your a– up. It feels good,” Yang replied.
Yang said it’s been difficult for Asians, not only in the last couple weeks but “since forever.”
The “Nora from Queens” actor jokingly shared his version of Instagram infographics on how to help AAPI communities, 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’!”
Bowen’s segment took on a serious note, and he admitted he didn’t know all the solutions.
“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 said.
He added that though it has been great to see his friends donating, he believes people should do more than order Chinese food.
“I’m just a comedian. I don’t have all the answers,” he said. “But I’m not just looking for them online. I’m looking around me.”
Bowen referred to Xiao Zhen Xie, a 75-year-old Asian woman who received nearly $1 million in donations after being attacked in San Francisco. Her grandson says she plans to give the money to the Asian American community.
“That’s where we are as Asians. Now come meet us there,” he said.
Violence against Asian Americans has significantly increased during the pandemic. There has been nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents reported by Stop AAPI Hate since the pandemic began, with women making up 68 percent of the incidents. The nonprofit does not report incidents to police.
Yang’s monologue ended on an empowering note with him sharing how the Mandarin word “jiayou” translates to “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,” Yang shared. “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!”