If Saturday Night Live has felt a little more queer this season, it’s because of openly gay breakout star, Bowen Yang… and we love him for it!
Yang joined SNL in Season 44 as a writer before being promoted to a full-fledged cast member in Season 45. He was the show’s first cast member of East Asian descent, and the fourth openly gay.
Like a glass of ice water on a hot summer’s day, Yang’s been a breath of fresh air for the show (and the world) ever since, so it’s only natural he earn a spot on our 2021 Pride50 list.
In March, he stopped by “Weekend Update” to discuss the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States. He started the segment by light-heartedly encouraging people to share Instagram-inspired infographics like “Six ways to check in on your AAPI friends and tell them they’re so hot,” before taking a more serious tone.
“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.
The segment went viral, with folks celebrating his ability to balance humor with commentary and brutal honesty.
But this isn’t the first time the Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens actor has kept it relentlessly real. In January 2020, he revealed to The New York Times that he underwent conversion therapy as a teenager after coming out to his parents.
Yang shared that his father set up the therapy sessions after discovering his AIM conversations with another man online.
Eventually, Yang stopped going to the harmful therapy, accepted his sexuality, and went on to great things. But it’s not just his realness people are falling for, it’s also his impeccable comedy chops.
For one thing, we’ll never be able to watch Titanic the same ever again…
Or forget that time he was 100% that trade daddy:
Not to mention, Yang’s pop culture podcast, Las Culturistas, which he co-hosts with fellow comedian and actor, Matt Rogers.
Aside from being hilarious and a must-listen for anyone with two ears, the podcast also includes the iconic “I don’t think so, honey!” segment, which gives guests one minute to rant about something within culture (and deserves its own place in LGBTQ history).
Whether exposing deep-seeded issues within society, breaking records, or pretending to be an iceberg, Yang has injected some much needed humor, heart, and unapologetic queerness into our lives at a time when it’s been needed most. His talent leaves us feeling anything but sinking, and for that, we can’t get enough.