Bowen Yang loves a first draft. Even if he thinks the first script for a sketch is awful, having written it means that the Saturday Night Live Star, 31, who reportedly has a net worth of $3 Million according to Celebrity Net Worth, has put the stories and ideas in his brain down on paper. “Now I get to mold it into something,” he says. “It’s that feeling of laying it all out there—Marie Kondo style, taking all your clothes and putting them in one place and seeing how much you have.” Bowen Yang Net Worth
Yang and his SNL co-stars wrapped the show’s 47th season two weeks ago, but he hasn’t yet indulged in the celebratory spa day or meal he normally treats himself to after the finale. Instead, he’s been busy promoting Fire Island, the Pride and Prejudice–inspired queer rom-com he co-stars in with his real-life friend and fellow actor and comedian Joel Kim Booster.
Here, Yang talks to WSJ about how reading Eve Babitz made him see Los Angeles differently and why string cheese is his favorite vice.
Here are some things Bowen Yang revealed to WSJ. Magazine…
On what time he wakes up on Mondays and the first thing he does:
I will answer this if it’s a Monday of a show week at SNL, in terms of the most structured Monday. I’ll tend to wake up at around 9 a.m. and then just slowly, lethargically put on all matter of lotions and potions and tonics on my face.
On how much sleep he needs:
I’m in this purgatory right now where I’m not even sure which one of those I am. I used to be someone who needed eight-plus hours to feel fully recharged. I still probably do need that but lately I have been just getting up after four hours, after one or two REM cycles, however many that is, and going, “Well. Ideally I would love four more but my body’s up, I feel sort of awake, let’s just get the day started.” I unfortunately think that’s a side effect of working at SNL. You learn to operate on a deficit of sleep.
On his go-to breakfast:
Yes. Oh yes. It is egg bites at Starbucks, either the mushroom-kale egg bites or the egg white roasted bell pepper egg bites. It is the easiest, most mindless food in terms of decision-making. I don’t have to waffle on what I want to eat for breakfast, I can just order that from Starbucks, eat it in a few bites, douse it in hot sauce, drink some iced coffee and then move on with my day.
On his vice:
String cheese, probably. Something that just doesn’t fill me up at all but it’s so calorically dense that it can’t possibly be healthy. And yet I eat it as a way of pacifying myself and passing the time.
On when he is most creative:
It is probably Monday. It feels like it’s the reset button, the recalibration to zero that we all feel at SNL, where no matter how high you soared on Saturday or how low you felt, you can always come back to Monday with a fresh set of eyes and hopefully a clear mind to come up with something for the week. It creates a nice tentpole for you to go, “Well, it’s Monday, this is designated time, protected structured time for me to feel like I should come up with a couple of ideas.” It doesn’t have to be committed to any standard. It can just be things that you’re capturing on paper or on screen to feel like you have a starting off point for something later on in that week.
On his exercise routine:
I work with a trainer as much as I can, the schedule is so tectonically chaotic, I feel like I always have to reschedule. I’ll go to the gym a couple times a week if I’m good. And then Peloton every now and then as well.
On his new movie Fire Island:
The movie, written by Booster, “is going to spoil us for the rest of our careers,” says Yang. “I don’t think there’s going to be another project coming any time soon where we get to work with our best friends in a place that we love to go to every year. It was so, so, so cosmically beautiful that we were able to do this at all.”
On his fondest memory from shooting Fire Island:
Forming friendships with the new cast members and the crew. I had known Joel Kim Booster and Matt Rogers for a very long time, but it was sort of about creating this new family of friends from this production that was so rewarding. I remember everybody sitting outside of their trailers. No one shut their doors, everyone was out together passing the time. And me and Matt Rogers and Tomás Matos would just rap Nicki Minaj verses by heart and just share in the lexicon of queer references that were validating and made us feel joyful and seen.
On his favorite part of playing his character in the movie:
My favorite part of playing Howie was showing this new side of what I can do, I think. I know that sounds a little histrionic or whatever, but I feel like I got a little stuck in my own self-concept in terms of being a comedic performer who can do something very immediately gratifying. But I got to really challenge myself in terms of grounding something emotionally for a project that is so laugh-out-loud funny. I wasn’t really driving the jokes and it took me a second to really be okay with that. In the end, I was really rewarded by that aspect of feeling like I was able to do something that was out of my comfort zone.
On the key to a successful Fire Island trip:
Going with a good mix of people who you know and love and some people who you want to get to know and love better—people that you can go with and feel like you belong there with. You don’t have to try too hard to co-mingle too much in a way that takes away from your enjoyment or makes the experience unpleasant.
On what he’s reading and watching:
Lately I’ve really been getting into Eve Babitz books. I used to be pretty ambivalent about Los Angeles but I think it’s because I haven’t consumed enough Los Angeles material and media. I haven’t seen enough movies that take place in L.A., I haven’t read enough books that take place in L.A.. And I’m reading Eve Babitz for the first time after being a lover of Joan Didion for so many years. To discover her as a contemporary and read her writing, which is so relaxed and funny and flirty and sexy and clever, I was like, “Oh, this makes me really connect to Los Angeles in a way that I never have before.” It makes it sound fun.
I haven’t been watching too much TV, I’ve gotta catch up, but I’m really enjoying Girls5Eva on Peacock, my Bravo shows, the housewives. I really enjoyed the last season of Russian Doll. It was really cool to work with Natasha Lyonne [on SNL] and tell her that in person.
On the one piece of advice he received from Lorne Michaels that’s guided him:
Give people somewhere to go, and that’s something that Lorne Michaels has told me a lot. Too many times in sketches, I’ll be so tempted to come in at a 10 and try to sustain that for five minutes and that’s not really how people consume a piece of writing or entertainment. They need that arc to ramp up to something that really hits by the end. Working at SNL has taught me that you should have some patience, that you should not underestimate your audience’s patience, that you should probably apply that to life. Set up some track and some road for a lot of different areas of your life, and hopefully it becomes its own journey where you reach a different post or goal at the end. Bowen Yang Net Worth
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