With the 40th season of Saturday Night Live approaching, SNL recently tweeted out a call for host suggestions. We took the initiative to write up a list of Asian American talents who would rock the stage as a SNL host.
Saturday Night Live is notorious for their lack of diversity in casting and guest hosts. In 2014, Huffington Post even created an infographic to highlight the show’s dismal diversity record over the course of nearly two decades. And over the past 39 years, SNL has only had 2 hosts of Asian descent.
Sure, former cast members Rob Schneider and Fred Armisen are of East Asian or South Asian descent, but there is currently no regular Asian cast member on the show. This gaping lack of representation is even more apparent with Nasim Pedrad’s recent departure.
So SNL, if you’re planning to diversify and are still looking for a host this season, here’s a list of 10 Asian American candidates.
Now that Sandra left Grey’s Anatomy, she’ll have more time to pursue other opportunities. With an award for Best Supporting Actress in comedy and twenty years of acting experience under her belt, Oh would be an exceptional host. And yes, technically Sandra Oh is Asian Canadian, but you get the picture.
Cho is a comedy veteran after three successful Harold and Kumar flicks and multitudes of comedy films like American Pie. Given his comedy background and his upcoming starring role in the romantic sitcom Selfie, Cho has plenty to offer to SNL, including Star Trek references.
Hana Mae Lee
Although she only had a few lines in the musical comedy Pitch Perfect, Hana Mae Lee nailed her role as the weird, shy, beat-boxing Lily and delivered some of the funniest lines in the movie. She’s also been performing stand-up comedy since 2009. And hey, maybe the rest of the Bellas could perform as musical guests?
Harry Shum Jr.
Shum is the triple threat SNL loves. Besides his time on Glee, he’s also worked with Wong Fu Productions and the Geek & Sundry web-series Caper to prove his comedic talents. He has the perfect combination of skills for a musical monologue and a dance-off sketch with some of the cast’s trained dancers. Plus, he has great abs—a great perk for the audience.
Aside from Jackie Chan, Liu is the only other Asian to host in SNL’s entire history. She killed it back in 2000, so there’s no doubt that the former angel could kill it now. And with her leading role in Elementary, a Sherlock Holmes sketch could come to fruition.
Despite the fact that Walking Dead is a horror-drama series, Steven’s roots come from stand-up, and he’s genuinely funny in every interview he does. Take all his Conan interviews and the #IAM web-series for example.
She owned it on The Office, and her sitcom The Mindy Project is about to go into its third season. She also used to be a guest writer for SNL after rejecting their offer to become a full-time writer.
Every other main character from The Hangover has hosted SNL except for Ken Jeong. Not to mention, Jeong is a regular on the sitcom Community and a seasoned stand-up comic. He also showcased his hosting chops in the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.
A prominent comedienne in the scene today, Cho might be a bit too edgy for NBC’s comfort. But an edgy, Asian American comedienne might be just what SNL needs to draw a new audience and bring awareness to social and racial issues that AAPIs face today.
This past April Fool’s Day, Takei posted on his Facebook page a false announcement that he would host an episode, firing up the Internet to start numerous campaigns for Takei to become the next SNL host. There’s no doubt that Takei has the charisma, talent, comedy chops, and hype to host. Perhaps, NBC will take the Takei fans’ petitions into serious consideration.
We can only hope that the upcoming season of SNL will give more opportunities to Asian actors and comedians despite its bleak history in diversifying its cast.
Which Asian American talent do you think should host SNL? Share with us in the comments below!