In honor of the almost-1 year anniversary of Bowen Yang’s promotion to – the fifth LGBT and first Chinese American! – full cast member on Saturday Night Live, we’re taking a look-back on his best moments on the show.
Although news of Bowen’s initial appointment was buried under Shane Gillis’ reprehensible homophobic and anti-Asian “jokes”, who had been hired (and unceremoniously fired) as cast member at the same time, he’s certainly carved out a bold, fabulous and hilarious name for himself in the past year.
Now a Forbes 30-under-30 multi-hyphenate, with a Shorty Award-nominated podcast Las Culturistas and a recurring role on Awkwafina’s new Comedy Central sitcom, we can’t wait to see what Bowen Yang has in store for us.
1 Chinese Trade Daddy
Bowen's glorious revival of SNL's longest-running sketch, cable news parody, Weekend Update. He embodies a sassy, savage trade representative from China ("the Lizzo of China"!), taking shots at Trump's trade war - lauded universally by audiences as critics alike.
2 Sara Lee Bread ft. Harry Styles
Anything starring pop-rock sensation Harry Styles is sure to go viral, but this borderline-NSFW sketch stormed social media after its broadcast. Written by and starring Bowen, watch as he and veteran SNL-er Cecily Strong interrogate Harry about his use of Sara Lee Bread's corporate Instagram.
3 Kim Jong-Un ft. Sandra Oh
When still a staff writer, Bowen made his debut in March 2019, before his official promotion to full cast member, as North Korea's Chairman Kim questioning Putin over his ties to Trump. He steals the show - without speaking a word of English - even amongst Saturday Night stalwarts and esteemed guest Sandra Oh.
4 The return of Trade Daddy, coronavirus edition
"Trade Daddy" Chen Biao has got a promotion! Although a bit strange perhaps to view retrospectively our (narrow) perception of COVID's spread when it was still February, Bowen still shines as his iconic camp Chinese official.
5 LaGuardia Airport
Although only a supporting role in this ensemble cast, starring John Mulaney, each small cog makes for a brilliantly funny mockery of the tragedy that is flying through LaGuardia - complete with showtunes and a Jake Gyllenhaal cameo.
6 SoulCycle ft. David Harbour
Bowen is one of the competitors at a SoulCycle instructor try-out, to see who can be the most motivating. He hilariously rips apart an experience familiar (and painful) to anyone who's been to spin class.
7 Bonus: lip-sync videos
Not an SNL sketch, but self-made Bowen's lip-sync videos on Twitter are a work of art, and brought him his initial notoriety. He lip-syncs perfectly to iconic moments of pop culture, like Miranda Priestley's infamous Devil Wears Prada monologue or Tyra Banks screaming on America's Next Top Model.