UAlbany grad Awkwafina to star in Comedy Central series

Actor, comedian and rapper Awkwafina, a University at Albany graduate and former Times Union intern, has had a standout year so far, with co-starring roles in the major studio releases "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Ocean's 8" and a hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live."

She caps the year with more big news: Comedy Central has picked up a 10-episode scripted series to be titled "Awkwafina."

Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, wrote the first episode for the series, according to an announcement from Comedy Central. Film, TV and stage star BD Wong will play her father; Lori Tan Chinn, known to fans of "Orange Is the New Black" as Mei Chang, has been cast as her grandmother; and "Saturday Night Live" writer Bowen Yang will play Awkwafina's more successful cousin. The show's premise, according to Comedy Central, is based on Awkwafina's life; she will play an ambitious 20something living with her father and grandmother in Queens who is "striving for a larger-than-life existence," the announcement said.

"I've been watching Comedy Central since I was old enough to hold a remote, and so many of their shows have defined who I am today," Awkwafina said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "I am so honored to be given their platform to tell the story of an Asian-American girl against the backdrop of the city (in which) I was raised."

Awkwafina graduated with honors from UAlbany in 2011 with a major in journalism and a minor in women's studies. She was Times Union intern, covering arts and entertainment, for one semester.