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‘SNL’ star Bowen Yang on anti-Asian hate crimes: ‘There ain’t no common ground’

A portrait of Bowen Yang.
Bowen Yang joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2019.
(Joseph Alva)

“SNL” cast member Bowen Yang joined the show’s “Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che last night to speak out against the recent spate of anti-Asian hate crimes happening across the U.S. in recent weeks.

(Yang joined “Saturday Night Live” in 2019, making history as its first cast member fully of Asian descent.)

“Things for Asians in this country have been bleak for the past two weeks ... and all the weeks before that since forever, but there’s a lot of work to do and I found some posts online with action items everyone can take to help,” he said before revealing colorful social-media-inspired graphics saying things like “Amplify these Asian voices who want more Paneras in North Brooklyn” and “Six ways to check in on your AAPI friends and tell them they’re so hot.”

“Bowen, no offense, but is this actually helpful to all Asians?” Jost asked.

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“Maybe, I don’t know, Colin,” he replied. “What can I say to help how insanely bad things are? 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.

“I see my friends donating and that’s great, but then I also tell them, ‘Do more,’” he added. “Like, OK, you’re ordering from Chinese restaurants? Do more ... And 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.”

Yang ended his remarks on a serious note, saying, “Look, I’m just a comedian, I don’t have the answers. But I’m not just looking for them online, I’m looking around me. The GoFundMe for Xiao Zhen Xie, the grandmother who fought back against her attackers, raised $900,000, which she immediately gave back to the community. That’s where we are as Asians. Now come meet us there.”


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