Bowen Yang has only been a performer on SNL for two seasons, but he’s already made a name for himself. Indeed, maybe his most popular sketch is one of its weirdest: He played the iceberg that destroyed the RMS Titanic in 1912, getting defensive with Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost and telling him he’d rather talk about his new album, called, simply, Music. It worked gangbusters, but on Friday Yang confessed to Jimmy Fallon that, leading up to the big night, he wasn’t sure anyone would get it.
For starters, it wasn’t his idea. It came from SNL co-head writer Anna Drezen. “She texts me in February, ‘Hey, maybe for the April 10 show, for the Titanic anniversary, you can play the iceberg who sank the Titanic,'” he told the Tonight Show crowd. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, cool, maybe, sure,’ kind of raised my eyebrow at her over text.”
Two months later he texted her, to see if she was still game. She told him she’d completely forgotten about it. But they managed to get it on the docket for the April 10th show, which was hosted by Carey Mulligan. Still, they weren’t sure it would fly.
“The entire week we did it, we were losing our minds a little bit, because we kept looking at each other and bursting out laughing,” Yang said. “On Saturday, at 7 p.m., as you’re supposed to turn in scripts, we were like, ‘What are we doing? This will never make it onto TV. Will people get it?'”
But they did, and it became the breakout sketch for that night’s show. The lesson? Don’t second guess your strangest ideas, especially if they involve playing a non-sentient piece of ice.
You can watch the Tonight Show segment in the video above.