Bowen Yang Becomes Third Asian ‘Saturday Night Live’ Cast Member In Show’s History

Saturday Night Live” is taking a step toward more Asian representation. 

The show announced on Thursday that Bowen Yang, an “SNL” staff writer, got bumped to a full-time cast member for its 45th season. Yang’s position makes him only the third Asian cast member in the show’s history. 

Before Yang, two Asian Americans ― Rob Schneider, who’s of Filipino descent, and Fred Armisen, who’s of Korean ancestry ― spent several years as cast members. 

Many on the internet were excited about the news. Perhaps that’s an understatement.  

In addition to Yang, Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis will also join the cast.

In the past, “SNL” has come under fire for its lack of diversity. While its cast has not been a paragon of diversity to begin with, the beloved comedy program historically had issues with proper representation among its hosts as well. A 2016 report showed that, at that point, roughly 90 percent of the show’s hosts had been white. Among Asians, only Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu had had the gig.

Since then, others, including Aziz Ansari, Awkwafina, and Sandra Oh had the prestigious opportunity to host. 

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