With the backlash against the news that America’s resident xenophobe Donald Trump would be hosting Saturday Night Live on November 7, there have been renewed calls for more diversity on the venerable comedy series. And among the suggestions is for Dr. Ken star, Ken Jeong, to be invited to host (with a Margaret Cho musical appearance to boot) to help make up for the fact that in the show’s four decade history, there have only been two hosts of Asian descent—Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan.
Back in 2011, I addressed this lack of Asian representation by asking SNL to consider inviting John Cho and Kal Penn to co-host the show on the eve of the release of the third Harold and Kumar film. SNL roundly ignored my passionate and sound plea.
But that won’t deter me from giving it another go so I’m here to lend my support to the campaign for Ken Jeong to host the show. Here are seven reasons (aside from the obvious fact that the brotha is hilarious) why he’d be a great choice:
1) HE’S THE STAR OF HIS OWN NETWORK TV SERIES
He is not only the star of his own broadcast network prime-time series, but one that’s named after him and inspired by his own life. There aren’t many who can say that—Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr and only a small handful of others belong to that exclusive club. Plus, his new show Dr. Ken is a Friday night hit—the top scripted program of the night, in fact. And if you need further assurances that Jeong is popular and can attract viewers—remember that he has played memorable and iconic roles in big hits like The Hangover and cult favorites like the TV show that wouldn’t die, Community.
2) HE’S THE HARDEST WORKING MOFO IN HOLLYWOOD
Ken Jeong has literally appeared in everything. If you don’t believe me, check out his IMDb page. The brotha’s credits include movies like The Duff and Transformers: Dark of the Moon to one-shot guest appearances on TV shows like The Shield, Hot in Cleveland and Two-and-a-Half Men. This is a guy who never stops working so he’ll no doubt bring that same work ethic to SNL. And when he’s not working, he’s on social media interacting with his fans. How many other celebrities are on twitter at 2AM, personally responding to his fans? And how many of those appreciative fans do you think will tune in?
3) HE’S WILLING TO TAKE RISKS
It’s been awhile since anyone used words like “edgy’ and “dangerous” to describe Saturday Night Live. Hell, the most “dangerous” thing that’s happened on the show in recent memory was when a camel decided it was going to get its ass in a close-up during a sketch. If SNL wants to be edgy again, what better way to achieve that than to hire the man who, in The Hangover, jumped out of a car trunk completely naked even though the script didn’t call for it nor did the director or anyone else ask him to?
4) YOU CAN FEATURE ASIAN CHARACTERS WITHOUT HAVING TO RESORT TO ‘YELLOW FACE’
If Jeong happens to be hosting the week that our friendly neightborhood North Korean dictator decides to launch nuclear weapons at the dirty Western imperialist pigs, you’re covered. No need to once again bring the “Oriental” make-up expert who created Mickey Rooney’s look in Breakfast at Tiffany’s out of retirement to make one of the regular non-Asian cast members look like this:
5) YOU CAN HAVE AN UNOFFICIAL ‘COMMUNITY’ SEVENTH SEASON AND/OR MOVIE (OR THE CLOSEST TO ONE YOU’RE LIKELY TO GET)
With Yahoo’s recent announcement that they lost a shit ton of money producing shows like Community for their streaming platform and the cast busy on other projects, it’s highly unlikely we’ll be seeing the return of that show anytime soon. So what’s the next best thing? A Community cast reunion on SNL! With Jeong as host, there’s a good shot at a mini-reunion—whether in a live sketch or a digital short. And for us die-hard Community fans, we’ll take what we can get.
6) IT’S GOOD FOR RATINGS
The thinking that “middle America” won’t watch a show starring an Asian seems a relic of the past considering the current success of shows like Fresh Off the Boat and Dr. Ken. But even within the history of Saturday Night Live itself, that reasoning doesn’t hold much water. When Jackie Chan hosted the show back in 2000, that episode was, and still is, one of the most watched SNL episodes in its entire forty-year history. Compare the Jackie Chan episode which received a 7.3 household share rating with last week’s Tracy Morgan episode which received a 4.2 household rating and was considered one of the best performing episodes in recent memory. *Drops mic and exits*
7) IF THERE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, JEONG HAS YOU COVERED
Jeong doesn’t just play a doctor on TV, he’s the real deal. So if anyone gets hurt or sick during rehearsal, help is only a few steps away.