Sometimes, when Hollywood and Washington collide, they don’t always know it.
On Wednesday night, the cast of the new ABC family sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” sat down with a few members of Congress and others for a dinner at the Source restaurant ahead of a screening of the show’s premiere episode at the Newseum. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) was gabbing with Randall Park and Constance Wu, the actors who play the parents of the Taiwanese household on the show, the first sitcom in 20 years to focus on an Asian-American family.
Talk at their end of the table was about the dearth of Asian American characters on TV and in movies, with Wu joking that her friend calls her every time she sees an Asian American actress onscreen and asks her if she auditioned for the role. Lieu chimed in about a character he loves: “My wife and I love ‘Veep,’” he said, “And there’s an Asian character, he’s great…”
Park cut off the congressman. “That’s me!” he said. The congressman took a closer look at him, then lit up when he connected the actor to the HBO show. “Oh, wow, I didn’t recognize you! You’re so good in that show!” Lieu said.
Park, who also played North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the controversy-sparking flick “The Interview,” also put to rest any conspiracy theories that the terrorist threat to attack movie theaters that showed the movie was actually a publicity stunt of some kind. “We had no idea,” he said.
Dinner guests also included Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), writer/producer Nahnatchka Khan, and chef Eddie Huang, whose memoir was the basis for the series.