Bowen Yang on His Historic 'SNL' Emmy Nom: 'I'm So Grateful and Lucky'

“I’m so grateful and lucky,” Bowen Yang tells ET’s Lauren Zima about his Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his breakout year on Saturday Night Live. When the 73rd Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced in July, the 30-year-old performer also made history by becoming the first featured cast member recognized. 

“I’m just very lucky that I am the beneficiary of good timing,” Yang says, noting how the category structure has changed over time. Of course, that doesn’t take away from how “amazing” it feels to be acknowledged and getting to celebrate the news with friends and cast. “It was just a really special day.” 

When it comes to his future on SNL, there seems to be no doubt that Yang’s returning. But the question is, will he be promoted to a full-time cast member. “I don’t know yet. They haven’t alluded to anything yet for me,” he says. “So, I’m just waiting. We’ll see.” 

In fact, when it comes to the status of several longtime cast members, including fellow nominee Cecily Strong, who recently told ET she “feels good” about whatever happens, it’s unclear if they’re returning or not. “I can, honestly to goodness, tell you I don’t know. I just spoke to Cecily the other day and we’re all still just figuring it out,” Yang says. “This is the time during the summer where we all take stock of what we want to do.” 

And for Yang, that includes shooting his first feature film, Fire Island, alongside comedian Joel Kim Booster, as well as promoting his work on the scripted podcast Hot White Heist, the Apple TV+ series Schmigadoon!, and the second season of Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, in which he plays the Nora’s cousin Edmund.

When it comes to the Comedy Central series, Yang says the new season sees everyone reevaluating where they are in life. “Nora is seeing what her ambitions are, Grandma is rallying her posse together, Wally is exploring love, and Edmund is exploring acting.”

And Edmund’s attempt to tape himself for an audition in episode four hit particularly close to home for the rising star. “Any self-tape I do in the future will trigger that scene. It’s such a weird loop,” Yang says, adding that the scene was “a really funny one. Nora and I got to improvise a lot. It was really, really joyful.”

Awkwafina is Nora From Queens season 2 premieres with two episodes on Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. 

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