In another of this season’s intriguing and unexpected hosting choices, tomorrow’s Saturday Night Live will see Shang-Chi himself, Simu Liu, showing off his comic chops. Fans of the beloved, recently cancelled, and, apparently, behind-the-scenes fraught Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience already know Liu can reliably bring the funny, although it’s likely his lead role in MCU blockbuster Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is what finally bought the Chinese-Canadian actor his ticket to 30 Rock.
And, sure, actor, stunt person, and seriously ripped action star Liu wasn’t the funniest part of Shang-Chi (Awkwafina, unsurprisingly, stole that honor), but the guy’s got a light touch when not kicking people in the face, and the Marvel formula allowed him plenty of opportunity to go for the action-laughs.
In this week’s promo for his episode, Liu is stuck playing peacemaker, as he and cast member Cecily Strong find themselves smack in the middle of a former-lovers’ quarrel between musical guest Saweetie and other cast member Kyle Mooney.
“Okay, is this going to be a problem?” Liu asks, before Mooney storms offstage, accusing the “Best Friend” rapper of breaking off what seems (at least on Kyle’s part) to have been a pretty serious thing. Now, nobody’s saying that Kyle Mooney and Saweetie couldn’t go for it in real life—they’re both approximately the exact same height, to pick out just one factor. But more likely this is all in Kyle’s head (even if Saweetie shrugs off the couple’s supposed breakup like it’s no big thing).
As for Liu, who’s been vocal about the lack of representation for Asian actors in Hollywood (and, as it turns out, Canada), his hosting stint will represent just the seventh Asian or Asian-American host in the show’s history. Which is nice, in a “What took you so long?” sort of way. (Not-so-fun fact: fellow martial arts star Jackie Chan was the first-ever Asian host in Saturday Night Live history—in the show’s 25th season.)
Look for Liu and fellow barrier-breaker Bowen Yang to have something to say about Saturday Night Live’s, shall we say, halting progress toward casting and hosting diversity. (Or at least toward not actively casting slur-spouting bigots as part of its ensemble.)
For Liu, though, Saturday will likely be all about weathering the signature whirlwind SNL live TV storm, and, apparently, keeping the cast’s various love lives from interfering. Keep it together, Kyle.