Simu Liu And Bowen Yang Battled For ‘Asian First’ Trophies In A Satirical ‘SNL’ Sketch

Back in September, Simu Liu, a once-obscure actor, made history: With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, he became the first Asian lead in a Marvel movie (to say nothing of headlining a pandemic-era money-gobbler). When he hosted the most recent SNL, he found himself working alongside someone else who made history: Bowen Yang, SNL’s first Chinese-American cast member (and perhaps the first to enrage Fran Lebowitz). And in a pre-taped, behind-the-scenes sketch, the two decided to have some fun with it.

The sketch finds Liu visiting Yang in his dressing room, where the two quickly start competing for what they call “Asian First”s. Each has big “firsts,” but what about more specific ones? For Liu, he has “First Asian Man to Deadpan on Splash Mountain.” For Yang, he has “First Gay Asian Cast Member to Mispronounce ‘Boutique.’” As soon as one of them reveals some obscure milestone — e.g., Liu winning for “Mr. Asian Panera,” for picking two at the sandwich joint — Yang tries to one-up him with, say, getting a “Good Job (Asian)” trophy from the state of Michigan.

Sometimes they almost won the same award. Liu shows off a belt bearing the words “First Asian Man to Blow Up a Dragon from the Inside,” for one of Shang-Chi’s stand-out bits. “I got the same one, too,” Yang says, “but it means something else.”

You can watch the sketch in the video above.