Bowen Yang Subtly Calls Out ‘SNL’ for Embracing Nikki Haley

Brandon Bell/Getty Images/Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images
Brandon Bell/Getty Images/Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Bowen Yang has (passive-aggressively) shared how he feels about Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

Taking to Instagram on Monday morning, Yang posted a photo of a note addressed to Haley that reads, “Welcome to Studio 8H! From, Lorne + everyone at SNL.” Yang captioned the post, “everyone! :)”—a seemingly sarcastic response indicating he didn’t share the same enthusiasm for Haley’s cameo as SNL boss Lorne Michaels.

Notably, Yang also disabled the comments on his post.

This past Saturday, Haley appeared in an SNL sketch set at a fake CNN Town Hall, where she lightly roasted former President Donald Trump, who was being played by cast member James Austin Johnson. The cameo ended with the night’s host Ayo Edebiri “confronting” the candidate over her slavery gaffe—but mostly just providing cover for her to move on from the controversy.

Yang’s apparent distaste for Haley’s cameo comes amid a complicated time at Saturday Night Live, with the NBC show once again welcoming divisive figures into its studio.

After the Jan. 27 episode, for example, many viewers noticed that Yang physically distanced himself from Dave Chappelle, who had curiously hopped onstage at the end of the show that night (Chappelle had not hosted or appeared in any sketches during the episode). Chappelle, of course, has drawn considerable backlash from the LGBT community for what many perceive as transphobic jokes. After Chappelle got onstage, Yang—who is gay, and who largely sat out the 2022 episode of SNL that Chappelle hosted—stood unsmiling on the far opposite side of the stage.

And during the Feb. 3 episode this past weekend, comedian Shane Gillis, who was fired from SNL for using racist and homophobic slurs, was revealed as the show’s next host. Back in 2019, Gillis was announced as one of three new featured players set to join the Season 45 cast, along with Chloe Fineman and then-writer Yang, who became the show’s first Chinese American cast member. But Gillis was fired just days later, following backlash over videos surfaced of him using racist slurs, including anti-Asian slurs, on his podcast.

Now, Gillis is set to host the Feb. 24 episode of SNL alongside musical guest 21 Savage. Yang has not yet commented on Gillis’ hosting gig, but as some viewers have pointed out, it’s likely he’s not thrilled about it.

Shane Gillis Will Host SNL 5 Years After He Was Fired

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