2016 was the year of white-washing, yellow-facing, and an all-around ordeal for Asian American representation. Asian-Americans reacted in different ways. So people created hashtags, some people created podcasts, and some people made a brilliant variety show.
Asian AF is a monthly variety show that happens at the UCB theatre in Los Angeles. This past week, creators and co-hosts Will Choi (Drunk Monk Podcast) and Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls; 13 Reasons Why), brought Asian AF to New York City. Late at night in the the East Village, tens of hundreds of Asian Americans loaded in small theatre to see comedy done by people who looked like them. Did we have day jobs to go to the next day? Sure. Was it far from where we live? Yes (I mean, really, the place is off Avenue A!)
But was it amazing! YES. The Asian-American comedy scene certainly exists, but it hasn’t been showcased in this way. Here was the breakdown of the evening:
The stand-up acts were some of my faves. Brian Park (College Humor) opened it all up, followed up Kevin Yee. Kevin’s songs were recently featured on an episode of 2 Dope Queens. And seeing him live was even better than hearing him sing on my ipod. But Aparna Nancherla (Crashing; Masters Of None) is always one of my faves. This is the third time I’ve seen her and I always laugh way to hard at the weirdest jokes. Her take on anxiety during the current presidential administration still makes me giggle.
The sketch portion featured one of my favorite comedy acts in town, AZN Pop! The all-Asian-American, all-female pop group sang their ode to white guys, “something all Asian girls like.” If you haven’t seen them, buy your tickets ASAP for their July 28th show. You will NOT be disappointed.
Special guest Hudson Yang (Fresh Off the Boat) introduced two sketch videos from Randall Park and his crew. Hudson Yang is very tall, guys. Like he’s 13 and is already as tall as Will Choi.
The last group to perform was the UCB Super Team! An all Asian-American improv team performed a few Harolds with great success. How there isn’t already an all Asian-American improv team yet is beyond me. NYC’s Asian-American community is spread out between three different boroughs, so maybe that’s why. We aren’t as compact as the LA community so it’s a little harder for people to team up.
Hopefully, Asian AF makes to way to being a permanent NYC show. Representation matters, and Margaret Cho and Aziz Ansari can’t be the only Asian American comedians with name recognition. UCB, what do you think?