Emmys 2021: Bowen Yang Makes History With Supporting Actor Nomination
When Bowen Yang finally joined the cast of Saturday Night Live after a year of being one of the show's writers, he already made history as the first Chinese American cast member to join. And he's making history again.
Yang snagged an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live, this also makes him the first featured player (a cast member who joined for two seasons) in the show's history to be nominated for an Emmy.
If Yang gets the award, he'll be the third Asian star to win in one of the major acting categories after Riz Ahmed for The Night Of in 2017 and Archie Panjabi for The Good Wife in 2010. Aziz Ansari was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Master of None, though his two wins were not acting awards but for writing and directing the comedy series.
B.D. Wong was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2017 for Mr. Robot. Meanwhile, Sandra Oh became the first Asian American woman to land a lead actress nomination for Killing Eve.
When Yang "promoted" as a full-time SNL cast member, he was the fourth Asian cast member following Rob Schneider, Nasim Pedrad and Fred Armisen. He's also the third openly gay male cast member after Terry Sweeney and John Mihsier. "I always loved SNL growing up," Yang shared to NBC News. But he also had trouble imagining himself on the show, because there hadn't been people who looked like him.
Yang's Emmy Award nomination nod is historic but it still reflects the reality that only a few Asian Americans have gotten nominations over the years. For his upcoming project, Yang is to star in Fire Island, a new romantic comedy movie alongside Joel Kim Booster. It will be directed by Spa Night director, Andrew Ahn and is described as a modern reinterpretation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It will follow two best friends who are on a weeklong break on Fire Island.
See also: Oscars 2021: 7 Asians That Made History