“Why do ninjas wear those f*ing masks? I mean, they do it to disguise themselves, but they’re Japanese guys. They all look the same!”
~ Bobby Lee
After playing Clue for the first time last night, we stayed up late hanging out and watching TV. We started talking about different comedians, and our conversation turned to the few prominent comedians who are minorities. Aziz Ansari (currently on Parks and Recreation), and Ken Jeong (currently on Community) were the two that came to mind as having steady TV jobs right now. Margaret Cho had her own sit-com a while ago, but it wasn’t very popular – partly because the show was based on the goings-on in Margaret’s “Korean-American” family (cast members were of different Asian ethnicities), which probably didn’t resonate with the majority of the American viewing population. There were stories of producers telling Cho at times that she was “too Asian” and at other times that she was “not Asian enough” – so crazy! I think America just wasn’t ready for a show about an Asian-American family.
Then, Ryan told us about “The Kims of Comedy” – a standup comedy show produced in 2006 and staring Korean comedians Bobby Lee, Kevin Shea, Steve Byrne, and Dr. Ken Jeong. Yeah, DOCTOR Ken Jeong. Did you know that Ken Jeong was a practicing medical physician for seven years before he landed his breakout movie roll in “Knocked Up“? No wonder he played his doctor character so well! A great article by the Washington Post was written last year about his journey from physician to comedian where he talks about fulfilling his parent’s wishes for a stable job in becoming a doctor, but moonlighting as a stand-up comic, what he went through during the years of this “double-life”, how his family has intersected with his career and how comedy has helped him deal with tough times.
So, early early early this morning, we watched “The Kims of Comedy” – hilarious name for this all-Korean show. The jokes were not all about being Asian, but of course for us, those were just too funny. I was so pleased to see an all-Asian production like this put together. Our friend Aaron often laments at the lack of Asian entertainers in the limelight, and I agree, but I think something that hinders most Asians – particularly in the arena of entertainment – is that culturally, we are taught to not bring attention to ourselves, to be humble (almost to a fault), and to avoid the spotlight. So while this was just one show, and it was done a while ago, I was still very pleasantly surprised it was produced, and it would be awesome to see more like this.
Just a warning: This is a comedy show – I did not say it was a clean one – Asians can get crazy too, ya know …
The Kims of Comedy DVD