Bowen Yang as the Chinese Balloon Proves He’s Found His Comedy Niche Playing Inanimate Objects
Like a real live Disney animation, Bowen Yang is establishing himself as the nation’s preeminent source of anthropomorphic comedy. When it comes to portraying otherwise lifeless objects, Yang is the master.
After a week of late-night jokes about the Chinese balloon spying (allegedly, allegedly) on America, one would think the topic had been deflated of all comic potential. But thanks to Yang and his ability to bring inanimate objects to life, Saturday Night Live shot down any doubts that it could build a sketch around the week’s buzziest story.
“Well, ya got me,” sighed Yang Balloon, treading ocean waves with the help of dayglo water wings. “Congrats, you shot a balloon.” The put-upon inflatable offers lame excuses for its cross-country journey, claiming it drifted over Montana only because it is such a big fan of Yellowstone, a show it likens to Succession, but outside. And now the punctured bladder is humiliated after being shot down by President Biden. “I can’t believe I’m Joe’s Osama.”
But this isn’t the first time Yang has pulled off a wayward object drifting in the Atlantic. He became the first SNL featured player to get nominated for a comedy Emmy, largely on the strength of his embodiment of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
“On Saturday at 7 p.m. as we are supposed to turn in scripts, we were like ‘what are we doing?’,” Yang told Jimmy Fallon about his breakthrough sketch, a bit dreamed up to commemorate the anniversary of the sinking ship. But the bit killed, based on an entirely credible premise -- the boat hit the iceberg, not the other way around. So why all the hate for an unassuming glacial mass just minding its own business?
It’s not all fun and games, either. Yang sent goosebumps up and down America’s collective forearms when he appeared as Spectrum, the living manifestation of an evil connectivity hivemind. It’s the only being in the universe powerful enough to cancel your cable (but of course, it orders you a new landline instead.)
What’s next, Bowen Yang? The breathing incarnation of ChatGPT? An outlandishly priced carton of organic eggs? A Coronavirus variant promoting its new EDM album? As long as it was never alive in the first place, we’re here for it.