In its first new episode since late February, “Saturday Night Live” addressed the recent surge of anti-Asian violence across the U.S. in a segment led by cast member Bowen Yang that's now going viral.
During the episode, hosted by Maya Rudolph with musical guest Jack Harlow, Yang, 30, stopped by the “Weekend Update” desk to share resources on how people can help amid the surge of attacks on Asian Americans, especially older adults.
To start, "Weekend Update" co-anchor Colin Jost introduced Yang as the sketch show's “Asian cast member," prompting Yang to ask, “Wait, is that my official title?”
“That’s how you told me to introduce you!” Jost replied.
“Yeah, I set your a-- up,” Yang quipped. “It feels good.”
Yang, "SNL's" first Asian American cast member, then explained that “things for Asians in this country have been bleak for the past two weeks, and all the weeks before that since forever.”
He proceeded to share some posts that he found on social media "with action items everyone can take to help." Yang's tongue-in-cheek examples included “six ways to 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.”
Asked by Jost if these resources are actually helpful to all Asians, Yang responded, “Maybe? I don’t know, Colin.”
“What can I say to help how insanely bad things are?” he continued. “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 added that while it’s great to see his friends donating and trying to help, they can do more.
"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."
"You're right, I should do that," Jost answered.
"Yeah, you should specifically," Yang replied.
"I’m just a comedian," Yang later added. "I don’t have the answers, but I’m not just looking for them online. I'm looking around me."
He then told the story of Xiao Zhen Xie, the San Francisco grandmother, 75, who fought her attacker and received nearly $1 million via GoFundMe, which she plans to donate to the Asian American community. “That’s where we are as Asians. Now come meet us there," Yang stressed.
He ended the segment on a hopeful note, sharing a Mandarin cheer that means “fuel up.”
“I don’t know what’s helpful to say to everyone, but that’s what I say to myself,” he said. “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!”
The segment received praise on social media and has already hundreds of thousands of views online.
Comedian Jenny Yang added on Twitter, “I will sleep on a mattress of pineapples for Bowen Yang.”
“Bowen Yang is a legend," tweeted writer Akilah Hughes.
Olivia Munn, Sandra Oh and Joanna Gaines are among the host of celebrities who've drawn attention to anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. following the Atlanta spa shootings earlier this month, which left eight dead, including six Asian women.