Andrew Yang wants to be president. And he’ll give you $1,000 dollars a month.
Bowen Yang wants to be a star on NBC Saturday Night Live. You just have to sit through all the commercials.
Which is more important? Don’t kid yourself.
Bowen Yang on a cultural barometer like SNL means a lot more to America right now than an Asian American with no shot to win the White House.
Just as Bowen gets a bump up, SNL takes a step back by simultaneously hiring Shane Gillis, a comedian of these Trump times who revels in racist, misogynistic, homophobic material. He’s all white whine. And not a good one. In one podcast, he complains about a published list of upcoming comedians having mostly women and minorities, and says, “Not one straight white male!”
Well, Gillis, who routinely disses gays, uses words like “retard” and “faggot,” and disparages women by calling them “flat chested bitches,” just got picked to be on SNL.
Racism and sexism worked out for him. Maybe he should be president?
But now it’s time for us to let SNL know it doesn’t work if they’re interested in attracting a huge audience of lots of diverse people.
This isn’t about social justice. It’s about what’s genuinely funny in Modern America.
Give Gillis a break? Why?
Other examples of Gillis’ humor on Twitter and You Tube, in video clips revealed by freelance writer Seth Simons, certainly doesn’t show Gillis coming from a perspective of love. If anything. it’s a kind of intolerance and disrespect that tends to lead to real acts of hate.
On a bit about Chinese restaurants from a Sept. 2018 podcast, Gillis talks about Chinatown, saying “Why do the fucking chinks live there?”
In another, he comments on the video game “Clash of Clans” and mockingly uses a fake Chinese accent to call it “Crash of Crans.”
There are ways to play the accent game. That is not one of them.
In other words, Gillis is every bit as bad as the standard morning deejay “Ah-so” BS. But he brings the attitude of Trump’s white base.
Since being outed for his intolerant material, Gillis has been contrite on Twitter saying, “he’s a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss.” Then, because he fears his new job is on the line, he adds: “Happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve ever said.”
Let’s see. If you’re “actually” hurt, I apologize; for the rest of you, let’s party? That’s no apology.
Gillis adds that his intention is “never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Like committing a public act of racism?
How about taking the risk of actually being funny without denigrating people based on race, color, creed or sexual orientation?
Gillis’ humor shows he goes for the low-hanging fruit. So did SNL.
Too bad the Gillis thing mars the addition of Asian American Bowen Yang—the third Asian American cast member on SNL.
Let’s make sure people know that. No disrespect to Bowen.
I first caught Bowen on Twitter two years ago where he did these mic drop funny lip synch videos that went viral. He’s also a podcaster. When he got to SNL as a writer last year, I knew it wouldn’t be long for the show to discover his on-screen talents.
In the old days, the white stable at SNL would go Asian with a squint and a yo-yo-yo. Bobby Moynihan would do the Asian characters. The standard was set with John Belushi’s Samurai Futaba.
Are white guy Asians funny? SNL needed a non-white Asian.
They would hire extras to play Asian parts in sketches. I met a Chinese actor who actually played an Asian Olympic skier. SNL did have cast members of Asian descent. Reportedly, the talented Fred Armisen is a quarter Asian. And I happen to know Bay Area-born Rob Schneider, the Rich-meister, name-game playing, copy machine harasser, was half-Filipino. His dear mother.
But neither Armisen nor Schneider were well known for ethnic characters in particular. And once again, there’s a failure to acknowledge the broad diversity of Asian America.
But now there’s Bowen.
Can we expect Bowen Yang to play Candidate Yang for all of 2020?
Imagine a cold open with Yang as Yang passing out $1,000 to everyone in sight. Maybe to start their own business?
You mean like a private marijuana dispensary?
Or maybe a sweatshop in a rust belt inner-city neighborhood employing undocumented immigrants fleeing Trump’s ICE? Lots of diversity characters in that sketch.
Or Bowen Yang as candidate Yang’s father, who grew up on a peanut farm in China, reacting to the fantasy that his American son is actually running to replace… Alec Baldwin?
You see, I did watch the Democratic debates last night. Julian Castro I love. But he should be nicer to old people. Bernie still wins on authority and crustiness. And he knows all the “keep your doctor/keep your present insurance” stuff is bogus. Universal health care is the only way to go to cut corporate profits down. Not out. Just reasonable.
And who else could go toe-to-toe with Trump for the little guy? Everyone had a decent night. Schoolteacher Warren, Vegan Booker, and “Hand me your AR-15” O’Rourke were good. Buttiegieg scored with his coming out story and his quip about “serving under” a certain officer. Harris didn’t have the spark of previous debates. But no one really popped like Andrew Yang, who, for me, benefitted from the SNL news.
I just kept seeing Bowen doing him in a cold open.
The sky’s the limit, now that there’s an Asian American of Chinese descent on SNL.
But there’s still the matter of Gillis. There are so many non-racist sketch players and comics in the current talent pool. Here’s what you do with a throwback racist.
Throw him back.