ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Comedian and actor Jimmy O. Yang, best known for his role in the HBO series “Silicon Valley,” offers a tongue-in-cheek resource guide for immigrants with his new book, “How to American.” The memoir details Yang’s experience as an immigrant from Hong Kong trying to make it in Hollywood, which included learning English from watching “The Sopranos” and working as a strip club DJ. Yang joins Forum to talk about stereotypes and how this book is what he wishes he could’ve read when he first came to the U.S.

Guests:
Jimmy O. Yang, actor, HBO’s Silicon Valley; author, “How to American”

English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00this podcast is brought to you by good eggs good eggs works with local bay area producers to deliver fresh produce baked goods meat seafood and dairy straight to you on your schedule they even carry pantry essentials in wine beer and spirits is a good exotic arm to learn
00:00:15more KQED public radio in San Francisco I need a camp coming up on a farm comedian and actor Jimmy all Yankee fans of the show Silicon Valley know him best as the character Jinyang a role he got paid less than three thousand dollars for the entire first season
00:00:42so how did you go from that a few years ago to being called a comedy powerhouse by Vanity Fair Yang joins us to talk about learning English from BT and the sopranos and why some of his biggest haters have been other Asian Americans that's all next on foreign
00:00:57joint this is forum I mean it can a year ago junio Yang was called the funniest dude you never heard of by G. Q. but if you're a fan of the HBO series Silicon Valley you definitely know his character Jinyang at Chinese immigrant app developer who doesn't speak
00:01:29English very well here he is from season one getting schooled on recycling by the character Ehrlich Bachman played by actor TJ Miller green is for grass and leaves okay the blue one is for recycling couldn't put those in there yeah very good the black one is for all
00:01:52of the trash do you understand yes which is for burning now we don't burn trash in this country it's a legal you never burn trash can you say that I never burn trash I never burn trash yes what about garbage there really is an immigrant though from Hong
00:02:20Kong and he's written a new book titled how to American the immigrants guide to disappointing your parents welcome to forum hello thanks for having me what what a nice clip to start off the morning you know I think a lot of you can relate to the the cans
00:02:38are recycling but I wanted to ask you actually about your name because this is something I did not realize until I read your book because the way it's written is Jimmy O. dot Yang as if %HESITATION is a middle initial but alas he was actually %HESITATION Yang right
00:02:56is this too much of my father's disappointment I'm spelling it this way he spells that %HESITATION apostrophe Yang R. because he wants to be Irish but I used to go up on stage spelling it %HESITATION you why a and G. two wars combined together and that's what's on
00:03:13my passport but then nobody can ever pronounce that and that then seem Chinese because it's actually two words people like %HESITATION lay away **** and then expect when I still stand up as you know it was a lot of trouble for the host to pronounce it so I
00:03:27decided it would be funny if I go Jimmy O. Yang it's kind of like a joke in a way it's like Homer Jay Simpson what is J. stand for effective J. Y. J. so what is the O. stand for is that you just %HESITATION you know and and
00:03:42my legal first name is diamond Jimmy it's man Chang mentioning yeah which in Cantonese is a mind saying which means ten thousand success right very ambitious parents that surely set me up for failure it's like I I I I don't know mean is like your real name like
00:03:58like it is it is as my middle name though yeah really yeah yeah my mom gave me am basically at an American or Canadian because I was born in Canada but Melissa but I go by mean she enrolled me in school and Nina as meaning even though she
00:04:11gave me of really well I think I'm the only Jimmy that's not actually named James or anything it's just jamming because as sounded American my dad's name is Richard because he was I I want to be rich it's it's very simple math I guess so then how did
00:04:27you come up with Jimmy or did your parents come up my parents came up with it because they they they thought it sounded like a like a white person so that's where we are you know they they my brother Roger after Roger Moore China's favorite James Bond and
00:04:43my brother hated that name because he said a sound like all white dude say changes he changed his name of Roy which ironically sounds like an old black and his legal name is now Roy Rogers which is the most American thing in the you know it's the I
00:05:02think it's very hard generally for immigrants to get him you immigrated here from Hong Kong to southern California right when you were there layers of him and it's it's difficult because there are so many cultural references so much that is implied like I remember as a kid watching
00:05:17a comedy with my mom and she is just not laughing at all yeah she's not getting so how did you as somebody who has but I'm second generation right she's she's the one who immigrated so how is how is it for you how were you able to get
00:05:30it as someone who arrived in this case well first my dad still doesn't laugh my comedy size I get what you're saying and %HESITATION when I first came here I learned a lot of English by watching TV and mainly be ET right because that our team of top
00:05:44yeah that to me was amazing like each music video was like a slice of an American dream that ever seen before and all these art forms hip hop rap and stand up I've never seen before in Hong Kong and tech came here so one of the first things
00:05:57I watch was a comic view you know they feature a lot of urban comedians do in five to ten minute bits and that was just so interesting to me because I didn't just learn about the language from comic view I learn about the culture you know black who
00:06:09do this why people did I don't know any of that like in in China just punch Asian people so like all the stereo types how one race looks at the other and and how a certain person view the world in America that was so new to me and
00:06:23I really learn about everything from BET comic view so you learned the stereotypes that Americans have about Asians or Asian American that too yeah or how black you thought about why people how I feel thought about by black people and certain stereotypes I don't know apparently one comedian
00:06:38said black people all all black people have bad transmissions in a car I don't know that I don't know doesn't I don't know why people do crazy stuff like sky dive it that that blacks who would never do it you know said all that stuff was really interesting
00:06:51to me as somebody that's really never ever met a white person or a black person tossed thirteen and so those are the kinds of things that gave you that education that you could then apply to your comedy I also remember you writing that you preferred to be the
00:07:03weird Chinese kid who like hip hop and talk like BT hosts then to be a foreigner and what was the thing about how foreigners were or are treated here that you feared more than how you'd be treated just for being weird yeah I think it's interesting I go
00:07:21through phases of my life where I don't want to be how people see me right special our first came to this country I'll just a wee a foreign kid I could barely speak English so anything aside from that is and of great you know like beat being like
00:07:34a weird rapper kid like I try to wrap like I could barely speak English but I try to wrap my star rap group it was me my black friend Julian and my other friend Eugene was half black and half Japanese so we have perfectly one and half Asian
00:07:47dudes and one and a half black dudes and we call the rap group yellow Panthers formal name in hindsight but I didn't really think that one through when I was younger but yeah I think it's interesting I like even though now I'm an American citizen it's kinda hard
00:08:04for people to see me as American first they always see me as the Asian dude any part of the world like I was studying abroad in Italy I was walking by the street markets you know the flea markets on the streets a street sign and all the vendors
00:08:17like could you on the hall comes to me that trying to get my attention and I'll look him dead in the eyes and and say Hey how are you doing and perfect English and they'll still be like could you on the how comes I mean it's a little
00:08:29frustrating but I think you know arm it's something I've gotten used to and I'm I'm very proud to be who I am now yeah though at the same time I remember you saying that it was it was almost like some of them some of the most poignant rejection
00:08:47that you remember as a kid right it trying to fit in in your new school in LA came from other Asian American absolutely they were afraid to be associated with the newest foreign kid arrive at their school I understood that was about I I kind of I can
00:09:03understand that now as an adult right but as a kid going through those painful I was to wear fob fresh off the boat kid and all these American born Asian kids didn't want to associate themselves with me because they're afraid that because outside exactly because they probably like
00:09:21I get it like I empathize with it now because they fell unfair that they were treated like the foreign kid even though they were born here they're just as American as anyone you know so they don't want to now associate themselves with the actual foreign kid so now
00:09:35they seem force I get it you know and and and it's a different point of view I don't agree with it but I understand it now as an adult because not everybody just want to be treated equally you know me being American citizen that I want to be
00:09:49looked at as American but I understand and I'm proud to be an immigrant you know but for them they all they know is being American and all that and now it's like it's unfair like why am I looked at as deformed kid if I was born here just
00:10:03like you know the white people and black people that were born here do you think that's why you've gotten blow back around the character Jinyang especially earlier in the earlier seasons that they felt like you were just basically re you re a flying I guess is yeah for
00:10:18lack of a better word man he's in stereo types it's it's interesting ride because mostly it's in the jerk reaction to the accident because as the season progresses you can see Jinyang is in a way kind of the anti assimilation character he he he doesn't care to be
00:10:33American and he's kind of a pain in the **** to a lot of these guys and becomes kind of villain which is very three dimensional right but the knee jerk reaction was initially to the accent all here comes another %HESITATION Chinese guy playing a accent and and I
00:10:47know a lot of actors that don't want to do the Asian actors because they were born here right like I said so for me I was to kill with an accent I'm just plain person myself like ten years ago right and I just try to always played as
00:11:00truthfully as possible you know the actions based on myself based on my mom based on you know my relatives that I know and I just try to play this character with humanity but I I get weather reactions coming from once again I don't agree with it but I
00:11:13get it and now I spend a lot of time thinking about this and I get it because there's five of us on TV right so a lot of weight is carried on our shoulders and sadly I'm not six two I'm I don't look like an Asian off model
00:11:27I don't look like that do from then Jess Sassen and I'm sorry you know like I'm sorry I'm representing you you know like to certain of these people but you know you get the the the the people come as you at the at thankful represent Asian people and
00:11:39I appreciate that that that feels good right Anne got the people that's like our man you know you making us look bad because like you not the super good looking guy and you speak with an accent like a moment like that's not I'm an actor you know not
00:11:51every actor can that's I'm really excited at the end they for movies like crazy which agent yeah entire cast is Asian so I can be as much of a villain as I want or as much as a funny guy ridiculous guys I want because there's a whole spectrum
00:12:06of us not just one of me representing all of us and you know it's it's a little unfair like if you think about it if Johnny Depp is acting in a movie would judge him by his performance is either good actor a bad actor rainbow when I'm in
00:12:20something people usually judge me and my good Asian bad Asian and it takes away completely from the performance from the craft you know which is what I want to concentrate on yes I think you he you're right when you say that part of the frustration around it is
00:12:34best for Mazen Americans is that there are so few Asian American actors right so then what ever gets out there gets popular gets well known becomes how people know you like for the longest time long duck dong from sixteen candles was like one of the ways that people
00:12:51basically felt like they understood Asians generally and so you just need more of the variety to shift the narrative and interestingly Jinyang is changing in Silicon Valley how massive another clip from him out from this season I boldly ask to see a little bit of gin Ying's evolution
00:13:12and this is basically him talking to the guys from pied Piper %HESITATION which is you know a start up that's trying to make it big like Maisel combined start ups are in basically telling them that they can no longer work there anymore as long this is my incubator
00:13:31now what if things are over there what the bill for you are racists and a richer you are ugly the Eric administration is over mark put the you can just kick Assad Jinyang sorry you know make teams always circumstance so you know Ehrlich is the guy who previously
00:13:58on the home who is played by TJ Miller into Jim Miller is definitely right now and I met a lot of different controversies and has left the show but I'm but there is this story that you express sight I hear a lot in interviews of being able to
00:14:12play somebody who is such a jerk I almost wonder if you feel like you're living vicariously through June yeah absolutely I think any of us has this part of us that we wish you know during road rage and just get out a car because somebody out and really
00:14:25get the upper hand should be the villain and and now I actually get to do it on screen which is very fun in a way it's like living in alter ego you know but I want you know he is the great thing is like I I'm I'm such
00:14:36a small like non unassuming looking guy and and Jinyang is kind of like soft spoken and like monotone but he could be so diabolical and conniving which is I think what's great about it so did you get less of the blow back now because you are actually challenging
00:14:50stereotypes or Jennings character starting to challenge the you know the blowback never stop the people are mad they will always be mad about something and then they blame it on me I first daylight alleging angst is accented character and now they're like why does all Chinese people up
00:15:05the conniving I'm like okay whatever man you gotta find some to say you know %HESITATION what ever I play if I play Superman you going to be like what why Superman five six you know like there's always something that could that could be said and and certain very
00:15:21militant group of people that just got me mad and you know what I can't I can't worry about it I'm I'm just trying to yes it did you and does it get to you it did and I was very angry about it I have a support group with
00:15:32certain other Asian actors and comedians and we realize it's it's this hopefully a small population I think it's a small percentage of Asian because I think the the the the the rest of my fans are mostly Asians and they're very supportive and great but is this small percentages
00:15:49angry I don't know what it is maybe that I getting laid I don't not like bike that's what a very angry it's like you know I I don't know about it whoa by saying that I mean you're kind of like there's this whole other thing about Asian American
00:16:03men as somebody sexual I mean do you know this room yeah that's that's the stereotype about their I I've been pitching the Ching H. get laid and have couple girlfriends for like five seasons now so hopefully next season they'll happen but they think it's it's a so called
00:16:17Silicon Valley barely anybody gets laid on the show and if they do it's like the most awkward thing you know but you know I I've been lobbying and %HESITATION you know as as you see and I think crazy rich Asians I play this character that has all the
00:16:31girlfriends yeah you know it's just easy I as an actor I want to play a spectrum of people and certain characters don't get laid certain people are Playboys scene I mean I think it's kind of shocking that it's I read the first movie with an all Asian Cassin's
00:16:45joy luck club twenty five years and that's a really long time we're talking with comedian actor Jimmy O. Yang best known for his role as Jinyang on the HBO series Silicon Valley his book is called how to American and immigrants guided disappointing your parents and you write in
00:17:00the book this Chinese mantra family first money second pursue your dreams never yeah that's my father's mantra is get rid of for you really did have this dual existence with what you showed your parents and how you live when you were outside of the house was that the
00:17:19way that you found a compromise between these two are I I think that's one of the toughest things that we don't talk about %HESITATION for immigrants or for people that were formed parents in a way right because okay like on the surface it's hard to fit in at
00:17:35school and simulation but the thing is is the duality you live and and having to reconcile that when you get home I when you speak a different language at home when you live by a different rule at home and at an inn in America will always tell you
00:17:48to pursue your dreams you know and I wanted to do that but at home my dad's like pursuing your dreams high become homeless so it's like what do you what do you what I do here I don't know and I don't want this respect my parents and at
00:18:02the end of the day and my Chinese like am I do I live by my parents rules or should I am I an independent American kid you know that list by that independent American spirit to pursue my dreams so it's really conflicting even until today I get into
00:18:17a lot of arguments and disagreements my parents and I want to have a really good relationship with them and I do but %HESITATION I I really have to tell of like Hey this is what I want to do and this is why and I get why they don't
00:18:29understand it because maybe back home back in China when he grew up during the communist revolution it and have the same opportunities you know and all they wanted to do it for my dad was going to college and he couldn't because the communist revolution what's going on so
00:18:42for us kids all he wanted was for us to go to college in a safe job yes and I went to college for economics and now would be a comedian said to him that's completely crazy and I understand that but to me this is a goal and this
00:18:55is a dream that I could make happen in this country did your parents know the extent to which you were at times barely scraping by I mean yeah you were you were working at the two as the DJ at a strip club your used car salesman you're trying
00:19:10to you had hundreds in your bank account basically tell that was about times like yeah exactly and then also them even when you did the first season of Silicon Valley you were paid less like twenty seven hundred dollars right the whole season higher first yet another look and
00:19:26nine hundred Bucks on sex scale minimum yeah and you drove uber to be able to make up the difference so did you keep that from them I keep us parts of it like the strip club DJ I if they knew I was living in a one bedroom apartment
00:19:42with two roommates %HESITATION they work worried I think but I I I kept the fact that I was missing out payments of my student loans I kept the fact that I was shopping and I sensed or to survive you know on just because I don't want them to
00:19:55worry because that's the worst thing right when you're like broke you can work by yourself you know you can handle it but it's one of the people stop feeling bad for you that's the worst part of it all so I didn't want to do that but I'm sure
00:20:07it was stressed out but even worse with the cultural expectations it sound like that just compounded all absolutely I don't even know what the heck they were telling like my relatives like Jimmy's a a comedian like what what can you they don't know what it is they still
00:20:20cost in comedy a talk show you know because you were saying there really wasn't sent up and not not really now there is but when we were growing up and down my dad's generation there really wasn't so you know but I always thought it's better off to disappoint
00:20:35my parents for a couple years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life and hopefully and I did overcome a certain point and and and now they're you know %HESITATION passing out Chinese newspapers to my it to my family you know with me on it so
00:20:49so that that's fine but what you just said really does feel like the basic message of your book which is the importance of not disappointing yourself and yes in is that probably why you say you wish you had this book sooner yeah I as a message I I
00:21:04think a lot of that conflict of living and my Chinese American would have felt better if there's more people talking about it I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way you now %HESITATION and and that's one of the reasons why I want to just write
00:21:20a very relatable book based on my own story it's not like I'll make an immigration a political issue or anything like that it's just making it like humanizing it in a way so okay first of all immigrants can understand and relate to my story and not feel so
00:21:35crazy about themselves like I did I'm and also people who might have a certain opinion about immigrants hopefully they can get a little more on this point of view a first person point of view after reading my story if you still feel a certain way O. or before
00:21:49after that that's totally fine you know I'm not trying to push any agenda and or any political views it's just this is what I went through as an immigrant and you know you come over your own opinion after well dose of what you went through you you use
00:22:05some of the financial hardship you had in your comedy and just to give people a sense of your stand up I'm gonna have them I'm gonna have to listen to this clip about you complaining about the cost of chickens at whole foods which was something I think you
00:22:19did during your first season in Silicon Valley I don't get me wrong I'm all about like animal rights I'm all about like free range animal but I still live in a one bedroom apartment with two roommates I'm not in a free range human being okay I don't need
00:22:36to eat a chicken the live better and I the chickens on twenty acres in that bombing two orders for four to this is to try to sell you on the chicken like Boston forms for put company there like the happy to check in the better taste right it's
00:22:55bullshit don't listen to that I want to eat the most miserable chicken pox so I don't feel bad killing a happy chickens I wanted to check in at the borderline suicidal you know these losses because the battle getting divorced and she was going to kill so many ways
00:23:12I'm just doing a favor I'll have more with Jimmy O. Yang after the break Yang best known for his role as did being in the HBO series Silicon Valley his new book is how to Americans and immigrants guided disappointing your parents what are your questions for Jim he
00:23:28who gang eight six six seven three three six seven eight six is the number to call poster comments on our website keep me dot org slash foreign email us at four in the case dot org or post them on Facebook or Twitter more after the break I mean
00:23:41it came Sutter health C. PMC CPM see his serve San Francisco for more than one hundred fifty years and is proud to open its new mission Bernal campus in August twenty eighteen designed as a healing environment the new hospital has all private rooms pediatric after hours care and
00:23:58the specialists and facilities to provide comprehensive maternity services including low intervention and multi dimensional birth methods learn more and take a virtual tour that C. PMC twenty twenty dot org you're listening to form my meaning Kim we're talking with actor comedian and author Jimmy O. Yang who immigrated
00:24:19to the US from Hong Kong when he was thirteen years old I went from scraping by as a used car seat car salesman in comedy club usher to comedy powerhouse according to Vanity Fair as the character Jinyang in the HBO series Silicon Valley he's also in a film
00:24:34coming out next year right next year retrieved August this August on August seventh coming out August seventeenth called crazy rich Asians Yang has also written a memoir of sorts also guide book titled how to American and immigrants guided disappointing your parents a book he says he wishes he
00:24:52could have read when he first came to California well if you have a question for Jamie %HESITATION Yang the number to call is eight six six seven three three six seven eight six again eight six six seven three three six seven eight six or email address form at
00:25:06KQED dot org we're also on Facebook and Twitter at KQED forum and we start with Daniel in Cupertino I Daniel I hi go ahead you're on also so Jimmy I'm a huge fan %HESITATION your comedy in engineering in particular mice I actually lived in Beijing in and out
00:25:26late nineties early two thousand and your character reminds me of just so many sort of down and out for Intel computer tech people I met there yeah and yet and yet I working Cupertino in the bay area and I see people that are they just they need to
00:25:42read your books because they are these people so I just wanted to thank you because really yet your your character is done so much and then come from a white guy who speaks Chinese but you're just so spot on on the capturing what it's like to be while
00:25:58I just moved here now what they wanted to thank you for that appreciate what did you base how do you prepare to play Jinyang like do you base it on yourself from Hong Kong or a particular region of China you know yes it's a few things I actually
00:26:13going to detail in the book I'm pitching my book and how to American guys you get it online anyway I'm so yeah I I think it's a few things right based at the accident itself is it's a lot of my mom a lot of my relatives back in
00:26:25Shanghai and %HESITATION it's it's not a Cantonese accents a Mandarin accents the more specific and and and I think the attitude of a lot of the stuff that he does when he doesn't understand I was trying to imitate certain things it it's it's basically how I did like
00:26:43what I did when I came to this country I don't know what the pledge of allegiance was I'll just kind of mouthing the words following the kids like thinking this was the right thing to do because everybody else is doing it and %HESITATION there's a general kind of
00:26:55light I don't care attitude like like witching yanks always say this mantra to myself before every take I'm just like well what's it all up with stuff that means I don't know and Mandarin because either he actually doesn't know something or he actually just doesn't care to now
00:27:11and he just like screw everyone else Jinyang is kind of like I I wish I could be more like Jinyang when I first came here because it really doesn't care about being part of the American fabric he kind of goes by his own way and you know screw
00:27:21everybody else right I wish I was more like that but I think as a kid like you just wanted to fit in you know and I try to be as American as possible well Joe says such an awesome and hilarious character on Silicon Valley but there's also some
00:27:34cultural during their for all of us perhaps on coming to understand global tactic in the economy he learned a lot about Silicon Valley being on the show we have like the coolest consultants on the show like the guy I Tim Anglade that made the not hot dog happy
00:27:52just did it and he showed me how Google tenser flow work you know and and everything like and ask questions a lot of the seas that used to be our consultants and stuff %HESITATION Eric fanning Baba shout out to those guys like every time from the bay area
00:28:05I get to visit you know the Google campus face what I'm gonna Twitter later today and and and I just so many questions from just observing and seeing how this world works you know and what everybody does here sometimes I still don't know this company is so many
00:28:18people I don't know what half the people are doing here %HESITATION but yeah a lot of stuff about even machine learning alike V. are you know I try to I try to know as much as I could with my limited brain power but yeah I I I got
00:28:31a lot of question I'm a lot of good friends now and that you know in the valley as they say well this listener asks is Silicon Valley well different than LA wealth I think so right like I think it's a totally different level of rich like entry level
00:28:47you get paid six figures like there's so many people struggling in LA you know actors and stuff like that I'm I'm by far the poorest person about walking a Facebook right like like people got money there you know and and it's stupid money millions and millions of dollars
00:29:02but it's unassuming LA people might be more flashy by G. wagon when I get some money you know I call that the douche wagon %HESITATION you know the square Mercedes horrible car but if you don't like so the value was still drive a Prius but they got a
00:29:20hormone dollars an account is the wife flip flops though what do you drive I I I I used to have a Prius when I was driving over and then my mom forced me to buy a Lexus yeah she was like well you know you you making some money
00:29:33that I should buy a nice luxury car I'm like well I don't really care she's like no I care it does yeah it feels like it is important to Paris actually also cooking was really important in your family your dad the news rather cook the rice you told
00:29:46me you had a lot of stress from your dad about making the rice perfectly yeah my dad's to cook in the house and he'll make like a five course Shanghainese meal I want Chinese people cook we cook like every day there's five courses on the table like and
00:30:00me and my brothers responsible for cooking a rice right that's what kids did you know and if you must arise you messed up the whole meal because that's the Lynch pin everything so it's a very fine art right you know there's a finger ten years and I wanted
00:30:12to settle this debate for me because I was having with my aunt she was saying that the best way to measure the water level in the rice is to stick your hand in there and where it goes up on your hand right right right it's the first match
00:30:23of the index finger she has a slightly higher higher yeah what the she goat deep in the right now she doesn't but she lays her hand kind of flat whereas other people say it's you have to measure it and cops yeah right and so I was trying to
00:30:35say to her look your hand is a different size and Mike choosing put your hand into it to this crime and I said my my hand is different but then I did it based on her recommendation and the rice was perfect really now see eye balling kinda works
00:30:48but different batches of rice required different water levels okay when its new crop I think and it will cost more what I remember having done this a long time or what it's like the Thai rice at a Vietnamese rice at a Japanese grain rice it's different some rice
00:31:01and different seasons required different water levels it's an art all right so I'll say maybe you know you can finger it to kind of figure it out the first time but it's a trial and error like the first batch is never perfect I I guess I got lucky
00:31:14but you know let's keep doing that but %HESITATION and then the older rice I think it requires a little more water so you got a kind of finesse it is so the measurement on your fingers for what kind of rice I think that's the general rule of thumb
00:31:27right he is the first notch between the rice and the water but you compensate a little more or less depending on how that batch of rice comes out because you don't want to be half raw that's almost an edible or you don't want to be more she that
00:31:42that compromises the whole meal of everything yes and your dad really made that now and the fact that you have so much detail around it also just illustrates how much pressure he put on you is traumatized yeah it seems that way and I get any rice is very
00:31:57important but the thing is is that %HESITATION at what I found so fascinating was that your dad went into acting alter matching it and or at least not thinking you should do that I think at the end of the day that's a part of a lot of people
00:32:11streams to be an artist to be an actor he just literally thought it was impossible right so when he saw me doing that he was I always so easy you can do it I could probably do it too some I find you know what I'm gonna call my
00:32:23agent tomorrow and see if they need an old Asian man on their roster and apparently everybody needs an old Asian person the rosters to its high commodity you know and and and they they start setting amount auditions and when my fave awesome of the book is the hundred
00:32:38and won auditions I went on before myself come out yes and for me out of those hundred auditions I book maybe like four rolls right my dad booked for out is for six auditions and any came always I all my god this is easy this is so great
00:32:52he got on the show call home a little Daddy it's a sit com thing in China it's a Chinese shot that you feel tense images so I didn't think much of it right because I was like oh and it's never going to err in America became one of
00:33:05the most popular shows in China a billion people watching it and he is like this really quite like bigger than you are yeah and my aunt from Shanghai call the house tonight Richard you're so good your son must have taken after you hung so that my whole plan
00:33:20completely backfired do you ever it's interesting because a lot of times Asian American actors will actually go back to say a **** you know China to check in because it's a little easier to get big there for you did the opposite I mean you are do you think
00:33:36about going to Hong Kong to try if they pay me enough money I'll I'll go to Cambodia you know I don't care you know you pay money I'll go anywhere but yeah I think if there's opportunities out there I can speak the language I speak dialects so %HESITATION
00:33:50yeah I would love to explore that but things are going well here I'm busy enough here %HESITATION but I I think at some point I would definitely like to expand over there too but hopefully if things go well here they watched a movie star made here you know
00:34:02so ill old kill two birds and one stone well let's go to Moses sin Berkeley high Moses I think you for the opportunity JB I have so much to say but I just want to first of all %HESITATION say that your character and some combat Lee is is
00:34:21just really awesome and I'm glad you wrote the book I look forward to reading it %HESITATION as as a Democrat who also ended up %HESITATION pursuing a note that the creative arts side of things %HESITATION %HESITATION I this needs a lot %HESITATION to to hear from someone who
00:34:39actually persevered and and not stuck to his guns so my question to you is is that %HESITATION was there ever a time in your life where you felt like ambivalent about %HESITATION pursuing your dreams because they know you at I I definitely understand as an immigrant to have
00:34:58that pressure you know that enough to have %HESITATION into my parents are supported that %HESITATION and extend the struggle from the community expectations and things like that %HESITATION so if you could speak on that that would be great thank you which out what do you do yourself %HESITATION
00:35:14and arts yeah so my my friend and I actually are a filmmaker's although he was brave enough to go to film school that I studied %HESITATION a cognitive fine that I ended up just kind of related to my true passion so we didn't walk in on an independent
00:35:30film for the last four years we just about finished that recently that's great congrats man yeah I think I I I I wish I would've went to school for acting or filmmaking you know that would have been actually useful I want to school with economics and I did
00:35:44you see San Diego UC San Diego I don't get anything out of it but like a student loan debt it's it's the easiest major still please my parents and I just couldn't get get like I I just couldn't wait to get on with it and when I was
00:35:59sitting I had an internship at Smith Barney a pretty prestigious like financial firm right that might that help me out with every Asian parents stream and I just hated that job so much like a month into it I was like yeah I was having a panic attack like
00:36:12sitting behind this desk imagining sitting behind this desk till like forty years from now when I was like seventy years old doing the same thing just gave me a panic attack so I really started pursuing the arts out of desperation that desperation brought out you know my passion
00:36:29in a way so was there a time that I felt ambivalent or I felt like I want to give up yeah for sure when I was broke when I was a you know I can rejected and open mikes you know hancom ticket open all all in the Hollywood
00:36:44open mikes a very competitive you put your name in the hat and they are all the name because not everybody can go up and really they just pick the names at a friends you know so a lot of that happened and it was crappy unix Michigan rejected an
00:36:56arched audition I'm like omigod I can I can't do this but that I was having fun though like as much as I was getting rejected I was having fun at the comedy clubs hang out with my two roommates my one bedroom apartment I was having way more fun
00:37:09doing that than a potential maybe six figure job at Smith Barney so for me it wasn't even alternative it's just like I don't care mouse broke I was loving it and I think that's what all artists have in common right and I hope Moses you feel this way
00:37:24I don't know like what you originally wanted to do but hopefully struggling as a filmmaker making this independent film maybe when not much money feels better the journey itself feel so much better than what you would have done otherwise I think it's so coincidental that it was Mike
00:37:42judge who gave that message to you is that I mentioned speaker UCSD and now you work for my actually you're friends with Mike judge right yeah an hour from these technically both right yeah it was crazy he was my commencement speaker he gradually UCSD what a physics major
00:37:59and he didn't like what he did either so he went on the road as a musician he's a professional basis like the guy's a genius right and then he found animation and he said that was his passion he sat down and that's how I may be visible and
00:38:12everything else afterwards so that really spoke to Mike discusses an average dude he didn't have any connections in Hollywood arm and he made it you know just purely based on his passionate taken a chance arm so that really spoke to me of you know the message I took
00:38:28away from its you know don't do what you should like do what you love Eric in San Francisco what's on your mind alright I just want to say that you know with all the news lately you hear a lot about %HESITATION the interaction between blacks Hispanics and white
00:38:46but you kind of wonder what we're not Asian girl and it's really good to hear this show about an Asian American who's trying to make his way in a big industry in the United States and I kinda even log born in the United States and identify with a
00:39:05lot of %HESITATION of what you guess the saying what if Jim is saying you know I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and %HESITATION but a lot of what he says just rings true and you really are trying to make it Eric thanks for that sentiment
00:39:22here in the very beginning when you did go for that audition in Silicon Valley Jinyang was going to be white like a guest star I mean just a guest yeah you got him in one episode that's all I was promised that's why it was sag minimum nine hundred
00:39:38dollars a day you know and it was just really cool for me to get to work with Mike judge for like one day and that one of them like you know you my commencement speaker thank you his out really I had that is awesome like he's really down
00:39:51to earth and I thought I was the first and last time I'll see them see TJ and stuff like that and then they ended up giving me more like two more episodes and I'm having like five lies told in the first season and then second season on as
00:40:04I talked about in the book there's some crazy thing that happened when the show to want to be in this exclusivity and has a really tough decision I end up choosing Silicon Valley and they believed in me enough to maybe a series regular main character on the show
00:40:17and that was ever since I think %HESITATION it's in the industry's call pulling an oracle yeah I could see he was also like a one episode guest star and then I think the audience like them so much they brought him back as a main character yes how you
00:40:32mention TJ how do you feel about it he's the Ehrlich Bachman character who left the show he's got a lot of controversies right now but one is an allegation of sexual assault against him he was arrested after calling in a bogus bomb threats I mean those are allegations
00:40:49that are taken very seriously especially now more than ever do you worry about him is it awkward to get questions about him I worry about because he's a good friend I can't speak to any of those things are for me my interactions with him has been nothing but
00:41:04great he's one of my best friends on the show so it's very sad for me see him go and we still talk on the phone he still very like we still were support of each other arm I was going to really tough time is is going to sound
00:41:15like such a first world problem but I was picking a new agency last week and it's a really tough decision and and TJ really talked me through it and everything and yet we still talk and %HESITATION he's great like whenever we were together when a great chemistry as
00:41:28you can tell on the screen and I just had a lot of fun with him so on yeah we're about him and and then I hope everything will be okay %HESITATION but we'll see you know is he here okay with the fact that his departure enabled your character
00:41:41to expand yeah he actually he called he was like you know what congratulations you know itching and really kind of gets to fly this year little more and interact with some of the characters so so he's happy for me which is great %HESITATION and %HESITATION yeah I was
00:41:55the first person he called when he said when he decided to not be on the show anymore and it was really sad us try to convince and come back but he was like look man like this is could could be a blessing in disguise for a character you
00:42:08can get more stuff and hopefully you know this is the maybe the end of Jingtang in Ehrlich but %HESITATION would be the end of Jimmy and TJ maybe we'll have some future projects together Jim your Yang is with us if you want to ask a question or given
00:42:21your thoughts eight six six seven three three six seven eight six is the number to call eight six six seven three three six seven eight six and let's go to Mary in San Jose hi Mary hi this is Mariann other Merriam startled Mary I'm sorry okay sorry second
00:42:39okay go right ahead the first time I've ever even call into anything but when I heard Jimmy I never even knew there was an Asian American comedians someone when when I sorry alley wall Bobby Lee that's and so I can John I'm just a name all of yeah
00:43:05no but when I heard your it's about the %HESITATION whole foods I just cracked up Michael where did he get this talent I'm going to see a movie because I have never I have never done this before after somebody's not talented but my question to you Jimmy is
00:43:21that how did you turn around the your real life into a humor type of thing to do that yeah that's that's a good question Mary on Marion berry I appreciate that thank you first of all and I I think I've always been able to look at things with
00:43:38a sense of humor right %HESITATION might might might that's always been able to get things in a sense of humor even though he's kind of like %HESITATION you bust my chops and everything but he's up for is a funny guy and he went to the worst of or
00:43:50worse in the communist revolution you know and I think going through it %HESITATION the assimilation plan that now looking back at the simulation process it was really hard right like I could even speak English at to make new friends on the continent lost thirteen years all but gone
00:44:04through it I was always able to have fun and I think one of the first my first defense mechanism was humor I was always able to conduct a witty funny kid instead of like getting beat up or like getting into fights or whenever people insult to me you
00:44:18know I always had to come back wears its factual comebacks like people was like Hey you moms fed or some you know when kids I'm like no she's a skinny Chinese woman what he talking about you know or or or actually you know trying to be cool and
00:44:30then be hip hop and then yeah kind that when people make fun of me for that I just laid into that character you know so I was always able to kind of postings with a sense of humor and never blame the fact that then get a job because
00:44:41I was Chinese of baby because I didn't speak English or anything like that it's just you know if I didn't get an audition I try to be better than I thought this was speaking of being a kid and have popped the story that you tell of when the
00:44:52kids are telling you to set your pants avoid her like pull down your pants and you thought the man you used to pull them off Shawshank redemption and that she should of the well Mary said she liked hearing some of your humor let's play one more clip %HESITATION
00:45:08this is actually your bit from when Arsenio hall was odd he did yeah in you're doing a stand up segment for him always end last stand up comedian the Arsenio hall show he was promised a second season before I went on after I wanna he got canceled so
00:45:24you feel response I feel very sauce I have a poster to my friend made me for my birthday says you got Arsenio canceled well here is a hears that last stand a bit from that last stars a little boy and this is about used by any why you
00:45:39can't fully enjoy California weather in Los Angeles man I've been going to the beach it's great what I could never do I can never take my shirt off at the beach ladies don't get me wrong I'm in shape okay I'm in shape is an extra small extra slim
00:45:55fit I'm in shape runs a small guy with really nice hair so from the back I look like a hot Asian chick from the front I look like really hot Asian chick he crazy rich Asians you talk about how that's so important in terms of showing Asian Americans
00:46:28and Asian just being great glee right how much pressure do you feel for this movie to to succeed I'm I try to not you know every movie should you you want to do I try to you hope you win the Oscar but I can't think that way right
00:46:42you know I I think at the end of the day it's a really amazing movie I saw the screening of it and I felt a certain way about it and I don't think you need to be Asian is just taking you to a whole different world and it's
00:46:53beautiful it's colorful and it's well acted it's funny it's romantic so it's really for everyone and I really hope that it does well for us for the in on Asian cultural standpoint so everybody can watch in and also that will lead to more representation of Asians still the
00:47:11students would be more willing to take a chance on an Asian Lee they'll be great for me as an actor and Asian culture in general right but at the same time for me personally I found my creed like I found like my group of friends on that shoot
00:47:24you know because at every show every movie I've done I may like wanted to friends except come out and really good friends might judge TJ and we hang out you know but this set on crazy rich Asians all of this became such close friends someone from Australia England
00:47:40you know I even Singapore we stumble once after one hundred people from that movie and you know I all the time like we just go hang out John choose house director and and we just we we know this shared experience that we all went through you know it's
00:47:54not just where hang out because we're all Asian actors gonna stick together it's just that we all went through those bad auditions where we have to you know to do certain things so we all felt rejected the certain way all we are on have Asian parents that which
00:48:09we weren't active you know so and we all love food and karaoke so we all just gone so close together and that was an amazing experience so for me because take a whack that as a kid I mean you you didn't have a lot of Asian Asian American
00:48:21friends yeah ever since I moved here when I was thirteen I didn't go to like a heavily Chinese neighborhood at all so on the Asian kids were Korean and they're very American in a way and for me personally I just try to fit into American fabric I wanted
00:48:36to score a touchdown Friday night lights I want to go to prom I did neither of those things because my dad never signed a waiver and I never had a prom date but I try to via as American as possible and in the process of that I lost
00:48:49a little bit of myself as the authentic Asian person about like so this movie really brought me back to my roots allow me to go back to Hong Kong for the first time in seventeen years and %HESITATION widely experience hesitant to go back yeah your right to say
00:49:05that I was hesitant to go back because there was a certain childhood memory that's always kind of sweet and positive that maybe was better than the actual childhood memory so I don't want to ruin that I don't want to go back look at different lands now and be
00:49:19like oh my god like this was crappy like I hate this city right so there's a fear of that but then when I went back it was it was beautiful as everything as I remembered the old and the new you know the new fancy five star hotel building
00:49:32that sixty story high and next to %HESITATION little brisket shop that's been there for sixty years the sells the best brisket in the world %HESITATION saw last of it and and and getting in touch I I found a couple actually a couple my old grade school friends from
00:49:46home confound me because they saw the Arsenio video from YouTube they're like you know this kid his last name is all young like I how young you know that's very familiar is not to make a name that a list of Millie the look that all my wikipedia my
00:49:58Chinese name it is that kid they went to school with so then they reached out on Facebook and that's how I got rig reconnected so thank you Arsenio you describe going there is a weight being lifted what was the weight the weight of explaining who we are the
00:50:11weight of why I am here as an immigrant you always have need the story in a way and everyone is so different here San Francisco is very you know I'm I'm very much a melting pot as a heavy Asian population been most of America even Los Angeles being
00:50:26Asian is not normal quote unquote right like being white is what's normal and America and it just felt great and Hong Kong I was the normal person nobody looked at me differently I was just like everybody else you know he didn't have to worry about whether you were
00:50:40reinforcing stereotypes yeah I can just do what I'm doing you know if I'm in dim sum for lunch and playing ping pong I wasn't reinforcing the stereotype that just what everybody love to do you know the pressure was off I felt like a white person how white person
00:50:55feels an American feels great okay I'm gonna try to squeeze in this really lasting super fast this fan of your show wants to know if %HESITATION Jinyang will be having a homecoming with pied Piper back in the house it was alluded to you know to say for sure
00:51:11they were just kind of came here for the next season we don't know %HESITATION only see you can you can lock me up waterborne me if you want but I really I do not know what's going to happen next season and I'm very excited to find out myself
00:51:23hopefully we'll have a sweet homecoming Jimmy O. Yang how to American immigrants guy the disappointing your parents that's his new book he's Jinyang in the H. B. O. series Silicon Valley in this August crazy rich Asians is coming out he's also a punch line in San Francisco this
00:51:38weekend tonight Sunday the shows are sold out but maybe they can walk up I don't know or just follow me go to my website Jimmy comedy dot com got more shows coming up legendary names really a pleasure talking with you thanks for coming here I need to give
00:51:54this is far and have a great Memorial Day we funds for the production of forum are provided by the members of KQED public radio Andronikos foundation and the generosity foundation visit the places and meet the people who make the Golden State unique on the California report magazine will
00:52:19take you on a weekly road trip for your ears and your imagination search for the California report magazine wherever you get your podcasts

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from KQED, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.

EDIT

Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.