Saturday Night Live regular Bowen Yang was hoping to prepare for another episode of the sketch comedy show this week. Instead, he joined fellow Writers Guild of America members on the picket lines as the union went on strike for the first time in more than 15 years.
“I’m very disappointed. We had a few more good shows I think. We all came back rested and ready to work on Monday,” Yang shared The Hollywood Reporter while protesting outside Netflix’s Manhattan offices. “Pete (Davidson) was very excited to host, even though he knew there was a big star on the week and there was a looming possibility it wouldn’t happen. I think we were all ready to give it our all for the next three weeks before the season came to an end.”
Along with a number of other late-night shows, SNL production stopped on Tuesday after the union declared the strike. Yang and several other cast members are also members of the WGA.
Yang said he felt most for “the new cast and the new writers who started (op SNL this season) — they didn’t get a chance to mark the end of their first season, which is always a big milestone.” The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represent studios and streamers, have not yet set a time for negotiations to resume, but with the two sides far apart in their final talks on Monday, a quick resolution seems unlikely.
Yang called himself a “proud guild member” and said he was “demoralized” after seeing a WGA document that said the AMPTP did not even contradict several union proposals for a new contract. “The fact that most of the points were rejected outright is really devastating and concerning,” he said THR. “So I’m here to put pressure on the studios along with the rest of the union.”
Yang started out as a writer about SNL in 2018 and joined the cast the following season. He is also a member of SAG-AFTRA, whose own contract expires at the end of June. “I’m very lucky to cross both things,” he said. “Many people in the industry are members of multiple guilds, and I think it’s important that we show as much solidarity as possible between the unions – especially as they also negotiate with the alliance.”