Bowen Yang Reflects on 'Emotional' 'SNL' Departures and Changes to Come Next Season (Exclusive)

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Big changes are in store for Saturday Night Live. The NBC sketch comedy series said goodbye to four longtime cast members -- Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson -- who all made their last appearance during the season 47 finale. 

While speaking with ET's Denny Directo about his new film, Fire Island, breakout star Bowen Yang said that the last day on set “was so emotional.” 

“It is just these four people who have defined what that show is in the last decade,” he continued, referring to the fact that McKinnon had been on the show for 11 seasons, while Bryant had been on for 10, Mooney for nine and Davidson for eight.

SNL
NBC/Getty Images

He went on to explain that the cast members were “distinct presences, distinct voices and four people who were sort of the best to ever do it.” 

For Yang, who just completed his second season as an on-air cast member after first joining as a writer in 2018, this will mark the first time they haven’t been around during his brief tenure. “I haven’t worked there when they haven’t,” he noted. “So, it’s going to be an interesting sort of envisioning of the show and recalibration. But I’m excited to see where it goes.” 

Another emotional last day on set included saying goodbye to his co-stars, Joel Kim Booster, Conrad Ricamora, Matt Rogers and others, after they wrapped filming on the upcoming Hulu film, which is the first all-LGBTQ, Asian-led romantic comedy. 

“By the end of shooting, I remember when everyone wrapped, we were crying,” Rogers said of the cast getting really close during their time on location.  

Fire Island
20th Century Studios

An adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the film, written by Booster, sets the Jane Austen narrative in contemporary times during a visit to the gay mecca on Long Island. And when it comes to the setting, it was the perfect place to let an uninhibited queer story be told. 

“You go to Fire Island and you feel like this weight has been lifted off,” Yang said. “You don’t have to explain yourself and explain your queerness. And the way that Joel wrote it is that it is kind of seamlessly worked in.” 

“I felt the same way in terms of my Asian identity,” he continued, noting how special it was to be on a predominantly Asian set led by director Andrew Ahn. “These characters don’t walk around and go, ‘This is what being Asian is like.’ It’s kind of hinted at or just touching the surface in toeing some line.” 

He added, “This felt like something even more special.” 


Fire Island premieres Friday, June 3 on Hulu.

 

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