Colorado native Bowen Yang nabs Emmy nomination for SNL — The Know

Colorado native Bowen Yang on Tuesday made history by becoming one of the first Chinese-Americans and the first-ever “Saturday Night Live” featured player to be nominated for an acting Emmy.

The nominations, announced July 13, singled out Aurora-raised Yang as a top contender for the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category.

While other full “SNL” cast members have been nominated for Emmys in the past, Yang is considered a featured player — the term used for cast members during their first two, prove-it-or-lose-it seasons. They typically become regular cast members if they make it to a third season.

Yang joined the show in 2019 as the show’s first Chinese-American cast member, and only its third openly LGBTQ+ player (after Terry Sweeney and John Milhiser). At the time, Yang’s alma mater was quick to congratulate him on Twitter.

“The class of 2008 knew this day would come,” Smoky Hill High School tweeted, along with a photo of Yang’s senior superlative: “Most Likely to Be a Cast Member on Saturday Night Live.”

Asian representation has been largely absent at the Emmys for decades, and diverse names have only arrived relatively recently. In 2018, Sandra Oh became the first Asian American woman to be nominated as lead actress, for “Killing Eve,” according to NBC News. Archie Panjabi and Riz Ahmed have both won Emmys, in 2010 and 2017 respectively, and in 2017, Chinese American actor B.D. Wong was nominated for outstanding guest actor in a drama series for “Mr. Robot.”

Comedy, which is often snubbed at the Oscars, also sees its full bloom at the Emmy awards, given the diverse slate of comedic shows on TV (stand-up, sketch, variety, etc.). Yang is a great example of someone who deserves more attention.

He co-hosts the Las Culturistas podcast with Matt Rogers and lives in New York City, but started out in Smoky Hill’s improv troupe, Spontaneous Combustion, which was formed by veteran teacher Adrian Holguin. He’s lately become an indispensable character actor on “SNL’s” Weekend Update, where his bits often go viral — like playing the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.

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