Simu Liu: From foreign leaders to American tabloids

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Covering the July 2017 competition was a sort of baptism for Simu Liu. Throughout the tumultuous press conference and the subsequent interviews on CNN, he could barely keep up with himself, pausing at every opportunity to sip from his water bottle.

It helped that Liu is adept at multitasking — his ideas came together at lightning speed, he was around to translate every answer and participate in each dialogue. “Lots of people give bad answers to one question, ” he said, “but if I ask them six, I get eight, “

“Saturday Night Live” is a world apart from CNN, but Liu says the show’s political edge and hard-hitting satire are mirrored in his professional approach. “I’m really looking at what you’ve done and where you’ve been and what you will be doing,” he says. “As a host, I always try to be as transparent as possible, ” he says.

“SNL” has always been ahead of the curve in terms of political satire — the show aired its first episode in 1975, complete with an endorsement by presidential candidate Richard Nixon.

The show is still a powerhouse in the political satire department — clips from Trump and his closest advisors have peppered the show in recent years. Though the political atmosphere has become increasingly polarizing, that hasn’t stopped the cast and crew from working to speak directly to America’s current political landscape.

Simu Liu with SNL cast. Credit: GEORGIA FARNSWORTH/NBCUniversal

Liu’s obsession with politics goes well beyond the literal. Many of his best stories, he says, come from the lives of foreign politicos. Liu loves to see how foreign leaders interact with their staff and photographers. “My favorite is actually Xi Jinping. He’s a leader who I really like to watch. He likes to, like, act cool — they really have this long press conferences,” he says.

But he’s equally fascinated by daily life in America. “So many people have told me to really, really look at America,” he says. “It’s in my heart. It’s in my blood.”

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