SNL's Bowen Yang says Tina Fey made him more careful about authenticity : Wild Card with Rachel Martin Bowen Yang has had some iconic Saturday Night Live roles — the iceberg that sank the Titanic, the Chinese spy balloon, the Tiny Desk intern. And he's also had big successes outside SNL — in movies like Fire Island and Bros, and on his hit podcast, Las Culturistas. He talks to Rachel about living too much in the present, hard truths from Tina Fey and why the afterlife should have a rollercoaster.

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Bowen Yang thinks being present is overrated

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How do you get in your own way?

BOWEN YANG: Hmm.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

YANG: I get in my own way by, like, over-privileging the present.

MARTIN: That's so interesting 'cause everyone wants to be in the present.

YANG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I feel like that's overrated. I feel like being present is overrated.

MARTIN: I'm Rachel Martin and this is WILD CARD, the game where cards control the conversation.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Each week, my guest chooses questions at random from a deck of cards. Pick a card one through three. Questions about the memories, insights and beliefs that have shaped them.

YANG: Not that I'm, like, permanently camped out at the present. But I do forget about the past. I forget that I have, like, been through tough things before.

MARTIN: So I got to tell you, I take research very seriously. My team and I spent hours digging through articles and profiles of our guests, trying to understand them, right? This is serious work. And, of course, this is what I did to prepare for my conversation with Bowen Yang. I knew a lot about him already, though, like the fact that he's the first Chinese American cast member on "Saturday Night Live." I know the inside jokes from his podcast "Las Culturistas," which he hosts with his best friend, Matt Rogers.

But I also have to cop to the fact that the research for this interview was just a good time because I had an excuse to watch a lot of "SNL" clips. The iceberg that sank the Titanic, the Chinese spy balloon, the Tiny Desk intern - Bowen Yang classics all. But as much as I love him on "SNL," it was the 2022 rom-com "Fire Island" that made me fall in love with Bowen Yang. He turned what could've been a light and easy role as the best friend who never gets the guy into something heartbreakingly real and joyful.

So it is my very great pleasure to welcome Bowen Yang to our show. Bowen, thank you for being here.

YANG: Hi, Rachel, thanks for having me. The less you read the better, so I'm glad you didn't do too much research.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Perfect. But I read the perfect amount.

YANG: Oh, good.

MARTIN: But really, I'm so glad you're here. I've been waiting to get to talk to you for a long time, so I'm glad we get to do it in the format of this crazy game.

YANG: Yes, me too.

MARTIN: So...

YANG: I'm nervous.

MARTIN: OK, don't be nervous, don't be nervous, because we're going to ease our way into this. So what happens when one lands their dream job? Because "SNL" had been the thing that you quite literally had dreamed about doing for a very long time when you were growing up. And it was a thing that you saw and thought, I don't know, no, I couldn't, but wouldn't it be cool if I could.

YANG: I think I was leaning more in the I couldn't notion of it. Like, it was a thing where, I mean, blah, blah, blah, representation matters. But also, like, my manager at the time was like, "SNL" is looking for tapes. If you want to send in 5 minutes of characters and impressions, go for it. I was like, yeah, I'll do it on a lark because there's no way they're ever go to hire for camera this effeminate Asian man. And I was just throwing everything against the wall, being like this is for me. This is not for them. I don't think this will be seen.

MARTIN: Yeah, because you just commit yourself. You have nothing to lose, so you might as well put it all out there.

YANG: Exactly.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: And then once I landed it, it was just about seeing what I could probably get away with because I was like, I think I, like, infiltrated the system here somehow.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: But it's always been - it's been the best. I mean, I will cherish this time forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: How do you feel about playing the game?

YANG: Let's do it.

MARTIN: OK. So I'm going to tell you a little about how this works, though. I've got a deck of cards in front of me. Each one has a question on it. I'm going to hold up three cards at a time and you are going to choose one at random to answer, OK? There are two rules. You get one skip. If you use your skip, I'm going to swap in another question from the deck. You get one flip, so you can put me on the spot and ask me to answer one of the questions before you do. We're breaking it up into three rounds, memories, insights, and beliefs, with a few questions in each round. And because this is a game, there's a prize when we get to the end. Are you ready, Bowen Yang?

YANG: I think I am ready, which is enough.

MARTIN: It's all going to be fine.

YANG: (Laughter).

MARTIN: Round 1, memories. In this round, we're looking back at things that have shaped you - people, experiences - OK?

YANG: OK.

MARTIN: So I have three cards in front of me. You pick one, two or three.

YANG: I'm going to go with three.

MARTIN: This one. What was a moment when you felt proud of yourself as a kid?

YANG: Oh, wow. I have such an immediate answer. See, my fear coming into this was that I would be stumped and that I would not - I would have to rummage through my entire (laughter) life experience.

MARTIN: I mean, we might get to that point.

YANG: We might get to that point.

MARTIN: But we're not there, no.

YANG: No, thank goodness. I remember in the first grade - or year one, as we called it in Canada. I was in Montreal at the time. And then there was a class one day in school where we drew. I had pastels. And then there was unstructured, like, drawing time, right? First grade classic, classic stuff. I drew a clown with blue hair, a flower in his shirt, standing outside the circus. And then there was a speech bubble on the clown, and he was saying, allo. Your French Quebecois greeting, allo. Pretty simple stuff, right?

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: But apparently the teacher at the time thought it was so sophisticated that she, like, submitted it to this art contest. And then I won a full 20 Canadian dollars.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: And it was the first - I think it was a pretty vital moment of, like, creative validation for me growing up.

MARTIN: Yes, totally.

YANG: And my parents were very excited. And I got 20 bucks.

MARTIN: Did your parents think you were going to be an artist, or you just moved on from that?

YANG: No, they really pushed that. And for some reason, art was, like, acceptable creative outlets for an Asian child of immigrants.

MARTIN: Well, it was the high arts, the high arts. Yes.

YANG: It was the high arts.

MARTIN: Right.

YANG: And so I think they were very confused when I pivoted years later to improv comedy...

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: ...And, like, telling jokes onstage, because they were like, this is completely crude. What happened to, you know, your, like...

MARTIN: Your pretty clown pastel.

YANG: ...Your pretty clown pastel? And I was OK at the violin.

MARTIN: Oh.

YANG: Like, I really hit all my Asian child marks growing up in the U.S. And somehow, I landed on comedy.

MARTIN: Yeah. I think it's a good bit.

YANG: Thanks.

MARTIN: Just saying that I think it all worked out...

YANG: (Laughter).

MARTIN: ...The way it was supposed to. OK. Moving on.

YANG: OK.

MARTIN: We're still in memories...

YANG: Ugh.

MARTIN: ...Three new cards - one, two, three?

YANG: OK, great. Maybe - let's switch over to one.

MARTIN: Let's switch to one, shall we?

YANG: Mm hmm.

MARTIN: Let's just see. What's happening over here?

YANG: Let's see.

MARTIN: What was a moment in your life when you could have chosen a different path?

YANG: Oh, I went to school at NYU. And the pathway was going to be - you're going to major in chemistry. You're going to take your MCAT. You're going to go to med school. And the comedy stuff is sort of, like, being relegated to a hobby. That was my way of sort of putting a lid on things until the top kind of just blew off right as I graduated college. I remember commencement, being with a lot of students who were just so excited about the next thing, and I felt none of that.

And then I retook my MCAT. I took it twice. And so I remember being in the testing center at a computer. And I just remember an interview with Steve Carell where he said he was going to apply to law school. And then once he got to either the written portion of the LSAT or something on his law school application, that he just realized he couldn't do it. And then, like, that moment, that interview flashed before me in the testing center.

MARTIN: Oh, whoa.

YANG: And then I was like, I can't do this.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: Walked over to the proctor, said I'm going to void my test. Thank you very much. And I think he was pretty perplexed 'cause we were, like, well into, like, hour four...

MARTIN: Right (laughter), 'cause it's not like...

YANG: ...Of the test.

MARTIN: ... You just sat through four hours.

YANG: Exactly.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Just finish it.

YANG: It took you this long to realize? I know. He was like, you might as well just, like, close it up, whatever. And I remember calling my parents outside, telling them what had happened.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: I was fearing the worst. I was fearing them just...

MARTIN: You've let us down.

YANG: ...Completely confounded.

MARTIN: Yeah. Yeah.

YANG: Yeah. And they were pretty delicate with me.

MARTIN: I'm glad.

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: Yeah. But that was a moment. That was a moment where, you know, like, the door slid. Like, it was, like, it could have really...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Gone one way or the other.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: You could be a heart surgeon right now or...

YANG: A bad heart surgeon.

MARTIN: I hope in the other life, you're a good one.

YANG: Yeah, well, a heart surgeon whose, so to speak, heart wasn't in it, you know?

MARTIN: (Laughter) Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: We're going to take a quick break. But when we come back, Bowen talks about the advice that Tina Fey gave him that he feels a little bit conflicted about.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: You have passed through Round 1. We are now in Round 2, OK?

YANG: Great.

MARTIN: In this round, we are focused on insights. So this is stuff that you're working on now - observations you've made about yourself, what you're learning. Three new cards.

YANG: Oh, and...

MARTIN: One, two...

YANG: ...Different colors.

MARTIN: Yes.

YANG: Right.

MARTIN: Round 2 is blue.

YANG: Very good.

MARTIN: One, two or three?

YANG: Let's do two.

MARTIN: (Singing) Two. I don't know why two always me want to sing, but it does.

YANG: It's nice.

MARTIN: What's a quality you're drawn to that you don't possess?

YANG: Oh, can I flip it? Can I ask you that?

MARTIN: Sure. Sure, you can. In general, I like people who are connectors of other people. Do you know what I mean?

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: That person who derives a lot of self-worth from bringing other people together and, like, matchmaking that way and, like, having great dinner parties and seeing what relationships pop up from that. I am so not that person. Like, dinner parties make me tired. And I - like the people who know me well know that I'm always going to be the first to leave.

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: And so I really am drawn to people who are really good at socializing. Like, and I mean...

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: ...That genuinely. Not like, oh, they're really good at making small talk.

YANG: Right.

MARTIN: I mean, really good at cultivating relationships and bringing other people together. And it's such a lovely thing. And I wish - and I've really done a lot of, like, is it because I'm really self-centered, and I just need everything to be my way all the time - I mean, maybe. But I'm really drawn to people who can - who just seem like they just have boundless - like, so much bandwidth for...

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: ...A lot of people in their life.

YANG: Sure. Isn't it so interesting? - because I have that same thought where I'm like, oh, am I - does this make me, like, a selfish person if my social battery drains a little bit faster than most others? And like, why is that, like, the counter, like, reality...

MARTIN: I know.

YANG: ...To that, you know?

MARTIN: It shouldn't be.

YANG: It shouldn't be. I don't think it is.

MARTIN: Yeah. But you still have to answer the question.

YANG: OK, fine, fine, fine (laughter).

MARTIN: What is a quality that you - maybe you, like, see it in a bunch of your friends...

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: ...But you know that it's not, like, a thing you have in spades.

YANG: Sure. The joke answer is, I wish I could be the person who opens up any fridge or pantry and is like, OK, I know what I'm going to make for dinner.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: Like, isn't that such a superpower?

MARTIN: I think that's a real answer. It's a total superpower.

YANG: Is that a real answer?

MARTIN: Well, if you have a second answer - say more about that.

YANG: I'll give you a second answer. But for this first answer, it's like, you know, if you're, like, with friends staying in, like, a vacation situation, like a group house.

MARTIN: Yes.

YANG: Or A, excited about that idea, and then B, like, the act of opening up...

MARTIN: Right.

YANG: ...A fridge or a pantry, looking at what's there and then, like, improvising in the kitchen? Like, that is so, so, so foreign to me.

MARTIN: Yeah. They're like, anchovy paste and tomatoes...

YANG: Right. Right.

MARTIN: ...And cheddar cheese. Delicious.

YANG: Delicious. I got it. It's going to be lasagna somehow. You're like, what? How did you come up with that?

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: OK, so that's the more frivolous answer.

MARTIN: OK.

YANG: OK. The other one, I think, it is this ability that people have that I don't where they can, like, think in this very collectivist way. I feel like I am very individualized. And I think about my needs in a way that is, like, totally OK. It's not a problem. It's the way that, like, the human brain has evolved, which is to make rapid assessments and decisions and not to patiently think about something. That's just not something that, like, we ever had to do to survive.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: And that's something that I think everyone struggles with. But some people just seem to have, like, an easier way to tap into that, to, like, think of, like, the meta. And I feel like I think pretty small scale, which I think is OK. Like, I go to work, and it never occurs to me that, like, millions of people are watching what I'm doing.

MARTIN: I think you have to be that way, right? Like, you can't be the other way.

YANG: Otherwise, you lose your mind. Yeah.

MARTIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. I mean, not that you need my validation, but I think your brain is good. I think you think of things exactly the way you need to.

YANG: Well, tell my therapist.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Rachel said my brain is good. OK. We're moving to the next question.

YANG: OK. Great.

MARTIN: Three more cards. One, two, three.

YANG: Let's go with three.

MARTIN: How do you get in your own way?

YANG: Oh, how do I get in my own way? I get in my own way by, like, over-privileging the present. I don't ever refer...

MARTIN: That's so interesting because everyone wants to be in the present. Like, that's the thing, everyone's like, oh, I just got to be in the present all the time now.

YANG: Right, but sometimes - yeah, yeah, yeah. I feel like that's overrated. I feel like being present is overrated. Not that I'm, like, constantly there. Not that I'm, like, permanently camped out at the present. But I do, like, I forget about the past. I forget that I have, like, been through tough things before. I guess I need to pair, like, being in the present with, like, acknowledging, like, the totality of the past.

MARTIN: May I gently nudge in that direction? Because you have been through hard things, you know. And just being a gay man in America is a thing. And I can imagine that there are things that it would be easier to just - not erase them from your memory, but you say you over privilege the present. But if you over privilege the past, then that could occupy too much of your space to a point of paralysis maybe.

YANG: Sure.

MARTIN: Now I'm saying things that I'm projecting on you, but...

YANG: No, no, that's totally right because I think I just - I think this is just what we do in terms of compartmentalizing is we just cordon off...

MARTIN: That's that bad boy up.

YANG: Exactly. But I think, like, let's just, like, dangle the keys in front of us and be like, oh, right, let's, like, open up the file, and let's...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Go through the cabinet. I think I don't do that enough, and that is what kind of hampers me a bit.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: I think what you're saying is that you want to have more of a balance.

YANG: Yeah.

MARTIN: And maybe there's some stuff worth taking from the file cabinet of your past that doesn't have to be triggering, but it can enrich your present.

YANG: Yeah. Yeah. I think I - God, I think I lost the thread on that metaphor for a second about the filing cabinet but thank you for making sense of it.

MARTIN: (Laughter) I don't know. OK. We are moving on, three new cards.

YANG: OK.

MARTIN: Last question in this round. One, two, three.

YANG: Let's go with one.

MARTIN: What have you learned to be careful about?

YANG: This is, like, really something that I've dwelled on for the past, oh, two, three months. Tina Fey came on my podcast. And she, in a very playful, so brilliant way, was railing against me for sharing my real opinions on movies on the podcast and just my real opinions in general. Like, sometimes I use my podcast as a diary, and I'm like, oh, this is what happened to me today.

MARTIN: Right.

YANG: And if I go back and listen to it now, I'm like, wait. Why did I have to bring that up? But basically, what Tina was saying was this is something, this is a permanent record. It's like that thing of, like, the internet has written in permanent marker. And she was saying - the phrase that kind of, like, went a little viral from that was her saying authenticity is dangerous and expensive. And I really am still reckoning with that idea, where I'm like, I've always been an open book. I've always shared my thoughts pretty extemporaneously on things and haven't really regretted them too much, but now I think I'm reevaluating what it means or, like, how worth it is to, like, be honest about everything. But then at the same time, like, if you kind of start to self-censor a bit, then, like, what does that do to your idea of yourself?

MARTIN: It's hard. I mean, it's not like, woe is you. Your life is so hard.

YANG: No, not at all.

MARTIN: But being in the public spotlight, it forces you to figure that out. I think that's what Tina Fey was saying, right? Like, you might want to work with these people someday.

YANG: Sure. But I think I'm just applying that, like, even - I think I'm applying that to everything, where I'm thinking, it's not about other people. It's about, like, my own - the way I mull things over just...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Out loud, and how - yeah, and how the idea that people are listening or watching is so overwhelming if I think about it for too long. And isn't that ironic? - because I feel like we've all - with media, that's the whole point. The whole point is for it to be, like, disseminated, and it's for it to be, like, distributed widely and literally broadcast. But, like, there's something a little paralyzing about that.

MARTIN: Yeah. Well, also, Bowen, you have to keep things - you have to keep some things for yourself.

YANG: Totally.

MARTIN: Not everybody, including me, is entitled to all your things.

YANG: There you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: We've got another quick break, then Bowen takes on his inner Carl Sagan in the beliefs round.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Round 3.

YANG: OK.

MARTIN: Beliefs.

YANG: I'm definitely going to use a skip for this.

MARTIN: OK. New cards.

YANG: OK. Let's go.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: One, two, three?

YANG: Let's go with two.

MARTIN: Two. What's a belief you had to let go of?

YANG: Oh. Wow. This is such a hard question. And I don't want to skip it, but I feel like I can't come up with anything right now.

MARTIN: We're skipping it.

YANG: We're skipping it.

MARTIN: You don't even have to think twice about it.

YANG: OK. Great.

MARTIN: All right. We are replacing it with one from the deck. Do you think there's more to reality than we can see or touch?

YANG: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I am generally a skeptic with things. I read too many Carl Sagan books in college. I feel like I have to, like, have some allegiance to science and empirical things and things that are observable and things that can be, like, represented in data or something. But I feel like there is this meta reality or something that exists that people can tap into because, like, I - I know the question is not necessarily implying anything supernatural, but we had on a medium for the podcast.

MARTIN: Tell me. Tell me. We can go supernatural all day long.

YANG: Great. Amazing. This guy was pretty good - Tyler Henry. He's also known to some people as the Hollywood Medium. And it all sounds like - again, like, it invites skepticism because you're, like, how much did he know beforehand? And he said things to me that really were, like, really conceptual and not necessarily, oh, this person is in this other dimension and they're trying to communicate this to you. For me, it was just like, oh, what I'm picking up from you is that, like, you have this legacy of people who were not able to, like, share their lives or, like, the legacy is a little bit blurred.

My dad grew up in a rural part of China where most of his relatives are not really documented. He just - there was just no family tree or history to sort of go off of. And no one could read. And no one went to school. And he was the first in his family to even go to college. And so what Tyler Henry was basically saying was, like, you are able to sort of, like, end this cycle of, one, shame, and two, record in a weird way.

Like, you get to sort of, like - through being yourself and being, like, a citizen of this world now where people are, like, constantly tracking things, and things are easily recorded for posterity, like, that gets to sort of be, like, one of your sort of, like motivating forces in life. And that's something that, like, I kind of loved hearing. Like, it was very meaningful to hear because it was borrowed from this, like, metaphysical space, but at the same time, it applies to something that I can do now, and it is from a reality that is unobservable, which I kind of love.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Last question.

YANG: Last question.

MARTIN: Last question.

YANG: Let's make it count.

MARTIN: Three more cards. We're still in beliefs. One, two or three?

YANG: Let's do three.

MARTIN: One, two, three. Oh (laughter). If you could design the afterlife, what would it look like?

YANG: Wow. I would love there to be a few roller coasters.

MARTIN: Yes. Wait. Why am I saying that? I hate roller coasters.

YANG: But see?

MARTIN: I just like the whimsy of it.

YANG: You like the whimsy.

MARTIN: I like where you're going.

YANG: No, but, like, you would like a roller coaster for, like, family members.

MARTIN: I want there to be one for other people so I can walk by and hear them laughing and screaming and think, oh, look, isn't it cute that they're having fun on that thing and that I'm not on it wanting to vomit? That's what I would like.

YANG: Exactly. Like, for whatever - whatever your beliefs are about roller coasters, there is something about the soundscape of a theme park that is joyous and that is...

MARTIN: Yes, yes.

YANG: It is kind of nice to hear people excited and having fun. I just want there to be rides.

MARTIN: Rides. OK, rides.

YANG: I want it to be like...

MARTIN: Give me one other detail.

YANG: OK, of course. Oh, this is what I've thought about since I was a kid. And this is not a design as it is just, like, a feature I would like the afterlife to have...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Or that I've always imagined the afterlife having...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Is, like, the screenplay of your life, of anyone's life. Like, as we're talking, Rachel, like, I want for me to be able - for anyone to be able to, like, look through and be like, this is when Bowen was talking to Rachel Martin and - and this is not, like, a deterministic thing.

MARTIN: But it's not images? It's not images. It's a screenplay.

YANG: I don't think it's images.

MARTIN: I mean, it's text, yeah (ph).

YANG: I don't even think it's, like, a movie. I don't think anything's, like, produced out of it except, like, for - it's not this, like, determinist thing. It's like - I used to think, like, oh, like, God or whoever has the script for you, and it's set. And, like, that is the determinist thing. Like, I think I want in the afterlife for there just to be a library of screenplays that are for people's experiences in life. And that it is all documented. I love a document. I just love documentation in general.

MARTIN: I think that's great. Why?

YANG: Why?

MARTIN: Well, yeah.

YANG: Just for...

MARTIN: Maybe - am I getting really...

YANG: No, no.

MARTIN: Maybe because of the void in your family's documentary history?

YANG: Yeah. Probably. Oh, my gosh, Rachel, that's great. I mean, like, I think it's that. I just like reading dialogue that is literally real because, like, most of it is boring. But I feel like the way dialogue sort of reads off the page when it's real is fascinating to me. And I don't know. It seems fun. And also, like, it's dry and boring but also, like, ultimately fun. That's like - that's the...

MARTIN: I am so into this idea of the afterlife, Heaven, whatever it is. There's a roller coaster and a library...

YANG: Yep.

MARTIN: ...In Bowen Yang's afterlife. And I think I like both of those as, like, the - you know, in the mall, they've got the two stores...

YANG: Exactly (laughter).

MARTIN: ...That are the anchor stores. I like roller coaster and library as the anchor stores of your afterlife mall. I think that's cool (ph).

YANG: There you go. There you go.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

YANG: That's it. That's it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: So you won. You won the game.

YANG: Whoo (ph).

MARTIN: So you get a prize, and the prize is a trip in our memory time machine - didaleeloo, didaleeloo, didaleeloo (ph).

YANG: Yes.

MARTIN: You get to visit one moment from your past, OK? You revisit one moment from your past. This is not a moment that you want to change anything. This is just a moment that you want to linger in. What do you choose?

YANG: I am going to choose - there's the moment that Lorne called me to say that I was going to get moved to the cast. And I remember that, and that was great. And I was very present in that. But I made it a point to - the next day when they said, oh, we're going to announce you being on the cast tomorrow. And I was like, amazing. And I knew that I had to get up super early that morning, just, like, for myself. Like, no one - I didn't have an early call time or anything.

I just said, what I have to do is get up at the crack of dawn, and you need to take a long walk, and you need to just sit on a bench in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, in New York, and just watch the sunrise. Don't listen to music, just, like, hear the sounds of, like, the world around you and take this in. Take this last moment in before you go down this crazy chute, where you have - you will likely have very little control over what happens from this point forward. This is your last moment to, like, yourself. And it's not to say that, like, it won't go back to that, but, like, that was like, I knew for whatever reason that that was going to be, like, a moment that I had to really claim...

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: ...Before things were out there and before people could make, like, evaluations on you for - this is for you. And I took pictures. I did allow myself, like, a couple of photos, and I look at those all the time. It's just, like, Prospect Park at dawn. There's a dog.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: There's someone jogging. But I would love to just go back to that, just for a second.

MARTIN: Yeah.

YANG: So yeah, thanks for letting me go to that place in the time machine.

MARTIN: Oh, my gosh. You're welcome. Thanks for taking us there. That was lovely.

YANG: Of course.

MARTIN: Bowen Yang, it has just been the best time. Thank you so much for talking with us.

YANG: Thank you, Rachel. This is really, really special.

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MARTIN: This episode was produced by Cher Vincent and edited by Dave Blanchard. It was fact-checked by Nicolette Khan and mastered by Robert Rodriguez. WILD CARD's executive producer is Beth Donovan. Our theme music is by Ramtin Arablouei. You can reach out to us at wildcard@np.org. We'll shuffle the deck and be back with more next week. See you then.

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