Bowen Yang Feared Audiences Wouldn’t ‘Get’ His ‘SNL’ Iceberg Sketch

Yang said that the process of writing the sketch went down some absurdist roads, so much so that he was worried it could turn off audiences.
Fire Island -- Set in the iconic Pines, Andrew Ahn’s ”Fire Island” is an unapologetic, modern-day rom-com showcasing a diverse, multicultural examination of queerness and romance. Inspired by the timeless pursuits from Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice,” the story centers on two best friends (Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) who set out to have a legendary summer adventure with the help of cheap rosé and their cadre of eclectic friends. Howie (Bowen Yang) and Keegan (Tomás Matos), shown. (Photo by Jeong Park/Searchlight)
"Fire Island"
Courtesy of Searchlight Picture

Last April audiences were treated to a “Saturday Night Live” sketch that proved actor Bowen Yang was one of the funniest comics out there. In remembrance of the sinking of the Titanic, the infamous iceberg that the ship hit (played by Yang) stopped by the Weekend Update newsdesk. Though the iceberg was there to promote his new album, all anyone wanted to talk about what the Titanic.

In a recent appearance on Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Yang sat down with “And Just Like That” star Cynthia Nixon to talk about how the iceberg sketch came to be. “It came from the [former] head writer, Anna Drezen, who is an old friend of mine from college,” Yang said in the video. “She texted me for the April show, ‘You come out as the Iceberg, and you’re here to promote your album.’”

He said that the process of writing the sketch went down some absurdist roads, so much so that he was worried it could turn off audiences. “All week, I was like, ‘I don’t think people are going to think this is funny. There’s too much going on,” he said. Thankfully, the sketch was a huge success and secured Yang a Primetime Emmy nomination last year.

Yang joined “SNL” in 2018 as a writer and recently completed his second season as an on-air cast member.

With the recent departure of Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney from “Saturday Night Live,” Yang is stepping into the role of being one of the series’ comic anchors. He said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight earlier this year that “I haven’t worked there when they haven’t,” the “Fire Island” star said. “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.”

The viral star added, “‘SNL’ is my home. I’m so happy and sad about tonight’s show. For so many reasons I can’t explain. Can’t wait to be back next year in a [John] Mulaney musical number.”

Yang can currently be seen in the romantic comedy “Fire Island,” streaming now on Hulu, and will be in the Billy Eichner-penned romance “Bros” later this year.

You can watch Bowen Yang’s iceberg sketch below:

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