Comedian Bowen Yang unleashed an epic rant on last weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, ostensibly over the recent wave of anti-Asian-American violence. In the same rant, however, he also issued a passionate plea to acknowledge gay characters in Sailor Moon.
For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon is a popular series of manga and anime adventures about a group of young women gifted with extraordinary powers. Together, they unite to protect the solar system from nefarious forces bent on conquering the universe.
Apparently, Bowen Yang is a fan. In addition to his advocating for acknowledging gay characters in Sailor Moon, Yang also issued a pointed–and often hilarious–denunciation of violence against Asian-Americans.
“Is that my official title, Asian Cast Member?” Yang asked when introduced by fellow cast member Colin Jost. Jost noted that Yang had asked to be introduced as “Asian Cast Member.” “Yeah, I set your ass up, it feels good,” Yang quipped.
“So things for Asians in this country have been really bleak for the past two weeks… and all the weeks before that since forever,” Yang continued. “But there’s a lot of work to do and I found some posts online with action items that everyone can take to help. Here are some I found super helpful: ‘Six Ways to Check in on Your AAPI Friends and Tell Them They’re So Hot.'”
Yang then went on to detail several other dubious initiatives, including one to add a Panera in North Brooklyn and ‘Call your senators and demand that they know about the lesbian characters in Sailor Moon!’”
“What can I say to help how insanely bad things are?” he went on. “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 then got to the crux of his argument: do more.
“You cried during Minari?” he continued. “Congrats. I was sobbing into my boner for Steven Yeun. Do more. And why are you telling me that you tipped your manicurist well? Let me know when you get on your knees and scrub your feet while she looks at your phone. Do more!”
“I’m just a comedian,” Yang then admitted. “I don’t have the answers. But I’m not just looking for them online, I’m looking around me. The GoFundMe for Xiao Zhen Xie, the grandmother who fought back against her attacker, raised $900,000, which she immediately gave back to the community. That’s where we are as Asians, now come meet us there.”
Yang concluded by sharing a Mandarin phrase that translated means “fuel up.”
“I don’t know what’s helpful to say to everyone, but that’s what I say to myself,” he added. “Fuel up. Do more. It’s the year of the metal ox, which basically means a car. So everyone, get in, buckle up, it’s no pee breaks. We ride at dawn, grandmas!”
Well said, Bowen.