Simu Liu: a skilful host on SNL, taekwondo

Story highlights Simu Liu is an Olympic gold medal-winning taekwondo gold medalist. Each week, we’re highlighting the best comedies of the week with videos on them, so you don’t have to worry about missing…

Simu Liu: a skilful host on SNL, taekwondo

Story highlights Simu Liu is an Olympic gold medal-winning taekwondo gold medalist.

Each week, we’re highlighting the best comedies of the week with videos on them, so you don’t have to worry about missing the latest comedy round-up.

By D-E-S-S-I-N-G.

For those who grew up on Saturday Night Live, the word “game-changer” gets thrown around a lot, with the best examples most often referring to former cast members whose popularity vastly improved the show’s fortunes after leaving the program for other projects.

For example, two would-be actors who made major inroads when they left SNL — yes, actors! — are Adam Sandler and Tina Fey. If you asked viewers who knew who Sandler was when he first hosted the program, then the answer is likely going to be “a guy from Sandler’s movies.” Similarly, you would be in deep for when you learned that Fey was a regular on SNL a decade earlier.

Well, this week, SNL alum Simu Liu has finally made his hosting debut, and we have to say, he’s managed to make a name for himself outside of his karate accomplishments in much the same way that those two characters made such an impression.

Honestly, the typical archetype of an “SNL” host isn’t exactly the first you’d think of for Liu, especially not now that he’s won a gold medal in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and has spent more than a decade performing in China. Liu certainly isn’t a household name in the U.S., but look no further than Saturday Night Live’s social media to see that people have clearly warmed to him. He’s garnered more than 71,000 likes on SNL’s Facebook page just in the last 24 hours alone, and 30,000 likes on his Instagram account. That’s right: An Olympic gold medalist, no less.

Here’s an example of the masses responding to Liu’s special on SNL, ahead of his Aug. 3 hosting debut:

And just in case you needed further proof that people are having a fantastic time (or maybe just figuring out who Liu is) here’s more: Liu made the requisite number of funny faces (which have already earned more than 42,000 likes), he got an absurd amount of awkward laughs (that have racked up more than 67,000 likes on SNL’s Facebook page), and SNL fans are showing love for him on Instagram too.

So if you’re a SNL fan — and of course you are — you have a lot to be excited about when it comes to Liu’s hosting debut.

In fact, what this episode had for viewers was a thrilling, if not surprising start. For those who already know Liu — and for those who have yet to tune in to a SNL episode — we have some insight into Liu’s character, and why it may be up your alley.

But if you’re not sure who Liu is — or were so incredibly uninformed that you couldn’t see his face, no matter how hard you try — it’s time to know some basics on the man:

1. Simu Liu is the father of nine children.

He is one of only two people in the world to be awarded the World Taekwondo Gold Medal in both the Men’s Kumite Black Belt, and Black Belt Gold Silver Bagu. That’s a whole lot of achievements, and he’s maintained that number for nearly a decade after winning his first medal.

2. Liu’s commentary on China’s role in the Olympics is surprisingly realistic.

When Liu was asked about China and the Olympic Games, he talked about how things have changed in China from the days of “reforming” the Olympics to “losing the Olympics.” Because the shadow of China’s Tiananmen Square incident is still present, every year’s Olympics usually involve heavy security measures. Liu shared that that “not only can Beijing, but the entire country” prepare for any potential “risk” that’s out there.

3. There’s no such thing as a break during a tournament in Liu’s taekwondo world.

When Liu won the Rio Olympics in 2016, he essentially completed a lap of the entire competition. During the fifth match of a tournament, Liu won gold, and then went on to defend his title at the World Taekwondo Championships later that year.

4. Liu used the Olympics to educate

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