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'Saturday Night Live' cast member from Aurora says his passion for comedy started in high school

Bowen Yang's journey to SNL began 15 years ago at Aurora's Smoky Hill High School.

AURORA, Colo. — Saturday Night Live season 46 cast member and Colorado native Bowen Yang said his passion for comedy started 15 years ago in the halls of Smoky Hill High School in Aurora.

"I remember very vividly just feeling like we were in this together. We were gonna have fun, it still applies wherever I've gone. I value that deeply," said Yang.

His teacher Adrien Holgiun started the improv troupe at Smoky Hill more than 20 years ago. Holguin said Yang was an exceptional student.

"He was so academically well rounded. I had him in calculus, he was also amazing in choir, he was in my theory of knowledge class. When he joined spontaneous combustion, he ended up being one of the funniest kids," said Holgiun.

Funny and smart, Yang was in the baccalaureate program in high school. Meaning he was taking college-level courses. Add in drama and improv, Yang said he was spread pretty thin.

“I feel like I got worked to the bone but that's OK, I think it prepared me for a job like this where you're firing on all cylinders," said Yang. 

His drama teacher Tim Brown said Bowen always stood out to him. And his success is inspiring. 

"I think as a teacher you always hope the kids get to where they want to go but there's a realism... you know they won't all make it. With him you knew, if the desire met his talent that he had the potential," said Brown.

And you could say that potential, was not a secret. Yang was nominated most likely to be on SNL in high school. 

"The SNL superlative was just a way of packaging goofiest kid, it feels coincidental that was the title of the superlative but it's a beautiful coincidence I think," said Yang.

Yang started as a writer on the show in 2018 and he was promoted to on air cast last season.

New episodes of Saturday Night Live air Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. on 9NEWS.

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