Why Awkwafina Used Her 'SNL' Monologue To Pay Tribute Her 'Idol' Lucy Liu

"Thank you, Lucy, for opening the door."

Over the weekend, Awkwafina became the second Asian-American woman to host Saturday Night Live. The Crazy Rich Asians star touched on this milestone in her monologue, making sure to shout out actress Lucy Liu, who made history on the show in 2000.

Awkwafina called Liu her "idol," and said she waited outside 30 Rock when the actress hosted the show. "I was a kid and I didn't have a ticket, so I knew I wasn't getting in, but I just wanted to be near the building," she recalled. "And I remember how important that episode was for me and how it totally changed what I thought was possible for an Asian-American woman."


"Standing here tonight is a dream I never thought would come true," Awkwafina continued. "So thank you, Lucy, for opening the door. I wasn't able to make it in the building back then, but 18 years later, I am hosting the show."

The Washington Post points out how much has changed in the nearly two decades since Liu hosted. While Awkwafina spoke emotionally about the importance of representation, Liu's monologue acknowledged the history-making moment by joking about various Asian stereotypes.

In much the same way that Liu's hosting gig affected Awkwafina, some social media users shared how much the breakout star's appearance on the show affected them. Teen Vogue even points to a tweet about an SNL watch party at a tea shop, where viewers gathered to "cheer her on."

In August, before the release of Crazy Rich Asians, the rapper-turned-actress posted an emotional message on Twitter thanking fans "for believing in Awkwafina." She added, "Awkwafina was a dream I was chasing, and in some ways, I am still chasing her. But we need to take risks. We need to go broke. We need to prove them wrong, simply by not giving up."

Hopefully, the young people who are inspired by Awkwafina's latest appearance won't have to wait 18 years to see another Asian-American woman host SNL.

Watch Awkwafina's full monologue in the video below:

Cover image: JStone / Shutterstock.com


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.