Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, and Shane Gillis are joining the NBC comedy sketch series for season 45

By Eric Todisco
September 12, 2019 03:12 PM

Saturday Night Live is adding three new faces for season 45 — including the show’s first ever Asian-American cast member.

On Thursday, the NBC comedy sketch series announced on Twitter that former staff writer Bowen Yang, who is of Chinese heritage, was tapped as a featured player for the upcoming season, alongside newcomers Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis.

Yang made his debut on the series last season as a writer. He briefly appeared on camera in March as Kim Jong-Un in a sketch with host Sandra Oh.

He also co-hosts the comedy podcast Las Culturistas.

Fineman and Gillis were both named New Faces at the Just Laughs Festival in Montreal in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Fineman has also performed with Groundlings, an improv theatre troupe in Los Angeles.

Bowen Yang Shane Gillis Chloe Fineman Saturday Night Live (SNL) Season 45 New Cast Members
Chloe Fineman, Bowen Yang and
| Credit: Stephanie Nelson; Phil Provencio; Alex Schaefer

SNL‘s new hires comes two weeks after Leslie Jones confirmed her departure from the series after five seasons.

The comedian and actress shared an Instagram montage of her many iconic skits, thanking the network, producers, writers and her costars for making the show her “second home.”

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1767 -- Pictured: (l-r) Leslie Jones, Colin Jost during "Weekend Update" on May 18, 2019 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Rounding out the SNL season 45 cast are returning stars Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Kyle Mooney and Chris Redd.

Despite Kate McKinnon’s contract ending in May after seven seasons, she has closed a deal to return to the series as well, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

SNL returns Sept. 28 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.