Awkwafina broke through into the public eye with her viral 2012 music video “My Vag,” followed by her debut album Yellow Ranger, but she reached a whole new level of fame this year with the Netflix teen comedy Dude, all-female (and, uh, James Corden) caper Ocean’s 8, and Crazy Rich Asians, the sixth highest-grossing romantic-comedy of all-time. In honor of her momentous 2018, the comedian-rapper-actress hosted the second episode of SNL‘s 44th season.
Part of Awkwafina’s monologue was dedicated to one of her idols, Lucy Liu — the Set It Up star hosted SNL in 2000, and there hasn’t been another Asian female host in Studio 8H since then, until tonight. (She’s only the fifth Asian or Asian-American person overall, after Liu, Jackie Chan, Aziz Ansari, and Kumail Nanjiani.) Awkwafina also mentioned hailing from Queens and how her father talks like Donald Trump, complete with an amusingly terrible impression, and mocked Kanye West’s instantly-infamous performance of “I Love It” from last week’s premiere. (Better “instantly-infamous” than “regrettably-infamous.”)
In attendance during tonight’s episode is Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. “Headed to New York to see @awkwafina make some history hosting @nbcsnl,” he wrote on Instagram. “She deserves this moment more than anyone I know. What a talent, what a kind human being. I could not be more proud. Everyone needs to tune in Tomorrow night to support! Pass it on.”
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Headed to New York to see @awkwafina make some history hosting @nbcsnl 🔥🔥🔥She deserves this moment more than anyone I know. What a talent, what a kind human being. I could not be more proud. Everyone needs to tune in Tomorrow night to support! Pass it on. #CrazyRichAsians #SaturdayNightLive #NewYorkCity