The ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast adds its first Asian-American series regular

Bowen Yang joined "Saturday Night Live" last season as a staff writer. Photo Credit: NBC/Alex Schaefer

Comedians Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis are also joining for the 45th season.

Bowen Yang joined "Saturday Night Live" last season as a staff writer.
Bowen Yang joined "Saturday Night Live" last season as a staff writer. Photo Credit: Julia Larsen Maher

The upcoming season of “Saturday Night Live” will have three new featured players — including the show’s first-ever Asian American cast member.

Bowen Yang, a Chinese-American comedian who was a staff writer on "SNL" last year, will join the cast for the show’s 45th season, "SNL" said in a release Thursday.

Comedians Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis, who were recognized as New Faces at the Just for Laughs Festival in 2018 and 2019, respectively, have also been hired as cast members, according to the release.

Yang, who is openly gay, told NBC Out "SNL" was an “incredible fixture” in his life growing up.

“I was the kid who at 12 years old went to NBC studio tours, and I would just answer all these trivia questions on the tour that the pages would ask about ‘SNL.’ I was that kid,’” he recalled.

He also co-hosts pop culture-centric podcast "Las Culturistas" with fellow comedian Matt Rogers.

Fineman has regularly performed with The Groundlings, a Los Angeles-based improv and sketch comedy troupe, and has appeared on shows including “Jane the Virgin” and “Search Party.”

Gillis co-hosts a comedy podcast called “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” with comedian Matt McCusker.

"SNL" will premiere on Sept. 28. Woody Harrelson is hosting and Billie Eilish is the musical guest.

Maya Rajamani