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Awkwafina Shouts Out "Idol" Lucy Liu in Touching SNL Opening Monologue

How Awkwafina's chance sighting of the movie star at SNL changed her life

Amanda Bell

For her first time hosting Saturday Night Live, Crazy Rich Asians and Oceans Eight star Awkwafina had a lot of people to thank in her opening monologue: her grandma in Queens who still thinks the show is called Comedy Central, Kanye West -- er, 'Ye -- who saved her from dressing up as a water bottle by doing so himself last week, and last, but certainly not least, Lucy Liu.

As it turns out, when Awkwafina was barely double digits in age she found out the Charlie's Angels star was slated to host the show, and she simply had to be in the area when it happened.

"Back in 2000, I came here to 30 Rock and waited outside when my idol Lucy Liu hosted SNL," the trumpet player-turned-rapper-turned-actress remembered. "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."

It was about more than just pure fandemonium for Awkwafina; it was also about representation and seeing her own potential to take the stage.

"I remember how important that episode was for me and how it totally changed what I thought was possible for an Asian-American woman," she went on to add. "Standing here tonight is a dream I never thought would come true. So, thank you Lucy Liu for opening the door. I wasn't able to make in the building back then, but 18 years later, I am hosting the show."

Awkwafina is the first Asian woman to host the show since Liu hosted in 2000, and she's one of just five Asian actors to do so, after Liu, Jackie Chan, Aziz Ansari, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Now that she's got this item checked off the bucket list,, Awkwafina's still hoping to get a little closer to Liu. "I love you, Lucy Liu!" she said to end her intro. "Be my friend."