Bowen Yang Is Tired of Being Asked About Shane Gillis

Bowen Yang isn’t interested in rehashing the Shane Gillis-Saturday Night Live saga—so please stop asking him about it.

Yang addressed the topic when he and fellow SNL star Kenan Thompson sat down with Variety to discuss the just-completed 49th season of the sketch show.

On September 12, 2019, Gillis was announced as a new featured player for SNL‘s then-upcoming 45th season. Just hours later, a video from the previous year of Gillis using an Asian slur resurfaced. Soon after, Vulture published an article that detailed what appeared to be a pattern of Gillis making racist, homophobic, and sexist comments. Four days after NBC’s initial announcement, and before he ever even appeared on the show, Gillis was fired.

Gillis’ hiring coincided with that of Yang, who is gay and SNL‘s first Chinese-American cast member. Those facts have caused the two comedians to become inextricably linked in the ongoing narrative—which got a second wind when Gillis was brought in to host SNL this past season.

“Anytime our names are in the same sentence, at least in a journalistic way, it always feels deleterious,” Yang told Variety when asked about his feelings on Gillis’ hosting stint. “It feels like one person is trying to undo the other. I was just really curious about what that show would be like and if it would be an opportunity to really move past it.”

Yang went on to note that neither he nor Gillis should be defined by the story at this point.

“I think he and I have done enough things in our careers now to really not [have] that be the definitive beginning or the thing that casts a pall over everything else that we do going forward,” Yang stated.

SNL recently started its summer hiatus, but Yang is keeping busy. He can currently be heard lending his voice to characters in both The Garfield Movie and the Disney+ series Monsters at Work. He’ll do the same for the upcoming The Cat in the Hat movie, starring Bill Hader. In November, Yang will also co-star in the big-screen adaptation of Wicked.

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