The comic was trending on social media for days after he played the iceberg who sank the Titanic during a segment on “Weekend Update.” Video of the moment went viral, racking up millions of views.
Yang told Jimmy Fallon that the head writer of SNL, Anna Drezen, is an old friend of his, and earlier in the year, she ran the idea for the moment past him. Yang, at first, was skeptical, he explained.
“She texts me in February, ‘Hey, maybe for the April 10 show, for the Titanic anniversary, you can play the iceberg who sank the Titanic.’ And I was like, “Yeah… Cool… Maybe. Sure,’” Yang recalled. “April rolls around I text her, ‘Hey, were you serious about that iceberg idea?’ And she was like, ‘I completely forgot about it. Let’s do it. Why not?’”
The duo moved forward with the sketch, but Yang said they were fairly confident it would never be seen by an audience. “The entire week we did it, we were losing our minds a little bit, because we just kept looking at each other and bursting out laughing,” Yang said. But, it all finally fit together and the moment made it to air.
In the “Weekend Update” segment, Yang’s iceberg was visiting to promote an album and said he did not want to talk about the sinking of the historic ship, which occurred on April 14, 1912. “That was a really long time ago. I’ve done a lot of reflecting to try and move past it,” he told Colin Jost. “It’s one very small part me, but there’s so much going on beneath the surface that you can’t see.”
Yang’s iceberg snapped at Jost’s line of questions about the Titanic with, “I think my publicist was very clear: I’m not here to talk about the sinking,” before getting into the details of the incident from his point of view.
“First of all, you came to where I live and you hit me! It was midnight. I was chilling. And then I hear this Irish cacophony behind me,” he explained. “And before I turn around and go, like, ‘What?’ Half my ass is gone, which was my best feature. And I’m literally injured but all anybody cares about is that like 40 or 50 people died or whatever.”
Yang has quickly become an SNL fan favorite with his characters, such as his Fran Lebowitz and also for recently speaking his mind about the increase of anti-Asian assaults and harassment during the pandemic. Yang is SNL’s first Asian American cast member.
Watch the Fallon interview below.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.