Hudson Yang of ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and Aziz Ansari’s ‘Master of None’ nominated for NAACP Image Awards

NBC:

ABC‘s “Fresh Off the Boat” is loosely inspired by celebrity chef Eddie Huang‘s memoir of the same name and stars Hudson Yang as a young Huang, as well as Randall Park as his father, Louis, and Constance Wu as his mother, Jessica. Wu has been nominated for her role in “Fresh Off the Boat” in both the 2015 Critic’s Choice Television Awards and the Television Critics Association Awards.

On Dec. 1, “Fresh Off the Boat” released an in-character cast video and social media campaign under the hashtag #makeitrightFOTB lobbying for a Golden Globe nomination.

Among the nominees for the 47th annual NAACP Image Awards is “Master of None,” Aziz Ansari‘s Netflix series released earlier this fall. Co-creators Ansari and Alan Yang received a nomination for their writing of “Parents,” the second episode of the series, and Ansari was nominated for Outstanding Director for the same episode.

Kelvin Yu (left) talks with Aziz Ansari (right) in a scene in Netflix’s “Master of None.” 

“Parents” deals with second-generation main characters Dev, portrayed by Ansari, and Brian, portrayed by Kelvin Yu, thanking their first-generation parents for sacrifices made during their parents’ journeys to the United States. The pair take their parents out to dinner where they learn about their parents’ youth and upbringing.

The 47th annual NAACP Image Awards is scheduled to take place on Feb. 5, 2016.

NY Post: Ken Jeong “totally vindicated” by the success of his show Dr. Ken

 

NY Post (by Robert Rorke and Andrea Morabito):

After first exposing himself to audiences as “The Hangover’s” naked gangster Leslie Chow, Ken Jeong is taking on a much more grounded character in “Dr. Ken,” loosely based on his own past as a physician. With the comedy now picked up for a full season, Jeong fielded questions from The Post about turning his life into TV.

“Dr. Ken” got panned by critics — do you feel vindicated, now that ratings have been good?
In a word, yes. I feel totally vindicated because all the reviews were based on a pilot script that was in gestation for a long time, and I knew that the subsequent series episodes are much better in quality and will sustain the show. After the pilot, I knew we had room for improvement, and during the 10 weeks of pre-production, I was in the writers’ room every day, ensuring we would improve every aspect of the show from the writing to the characters to the quality of storylines, and we succeeded.

Dr. Ken air on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC

Margaret Cho slams SNL for inviting Donald Trump to host

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OUT.com: 

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is set to host Saturday Night Live next month, a move that has left many people outraged. Comedian Margaret Cho joined the foray, slamming producers for inviting a “known racist” to participate while failing for decades to promote true racial equality.

Taking aim, Cho said:

Why has there never been an Asian-American host, cast member or musical guest on ‘SNL’ in 41 years? Forty-one years. Yet they want Donald Trump, a known racist, a known sexist, who disgustingly wants to have sex with his daughter. Who does he think he is, Woody Allen?”

“People come at me and say, ‘Oh, Fred Armisen is a quarter Japanese, Rob Schneider is half Filipino.’ Yeah, that makes three-quarters of an Asian-American, not even in one person, in 41 years.

Cho went on to suggest herself as a musical guest and Ken Jeong and George Takei as potential hosts.

Ken Jeong featured in bizarre ad for smartphone game “Cookie Jam”

Mashable (by Patrick Kulp):

Ken Jeong definitely knows how to make an entrance. In a breakout role in The Hangover, Jeong memorably leaps from a car trunk stark naked, madly flailing a crowbar. After that part, Jeong burst onto the comedy scene with a cast-member spot on NBC‘s Community and turns in several blockbuster movies.

Jeong was similarly unfazed with the absurdity of it all when the game makers first presented him with the script.

I knew exactly the tone they wanted to do — it was something that was really broad and physical but also with a deadpan delivery to it,” Jeong told Mashable. “It’s almost like a meta-commercial, where you’re satirizing old school commercials.

He was even able to put his own spin on the role, after spitballing a few different antics for his character.

We punted him a few different ideas of what we wanted to do,” said Josh Brooks, SVP of brand strategy & marketing for Cookie Jam maker SGN. “He was absolutely in character, coming up with unique ideas…Ken loves diving in and making things his own.”

The 30-second spot was good practice for Jeong’s current day-job, he says, where he is in the middle of shooting his first sitcom in a starring role, ABC’s Dr. Ken, and he has found himself with more creative control than ever before.

So it’s only fitting that the doctor-turned-actor makes his appearance in a new commercial for smartphone game Cookie Jam by barging Kool-Aid man-style through a wall into a hair salon clad in a cookie costume.

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‘The Daily Show’ adds Ronny Chieng as a correspondent


Australian comedian Ronny Chieng has joined on as a correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Chieng, a standup comedian, joins new host Trevor Noah, who was named to the desk after Jon Stewart announced he was stepping down from Comedy Central‘s long-running late night satire news show.

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore and New Hampshire, Chieng embarked on a standup career after graduating with degrees in commerce and law from the University of Melbourne. He was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by several publications in 2012, and has opened for the likes of Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr. He made his U.S. television debut this year on The Late Late Show.

Comedy Central announcement:

RONNY CHIENG: Born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and raised in Manchester, NH and Singapore, stand-up comedian and actor Ronny Chieng has been a rising star on the comedy scene in Australia where he moved to attend the University of Melbourne. Embarking on a stand-up comedy career after graduating with a degree in commerce and a degree in law, Chieng’s career began to take off in 2012 when he was named one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by The Age, the Herald Sun and The Sydney Morning Herald and received the “Best Newcomer” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for his debut stand-up special, “The Ron Way.”

Since then, Chieng has continued his meteoric rise, performing sold-out tours in Australia and appearing at numerous international comedy festivals, including the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Last year, Chieng won the “Directors’ Choice” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and “Best Show” at the Sydney Comedy Festival. He has appeared in and performed on numerous TV shows in his adopted home of Australia and has opened for both Dave Chappelle (2014) and Bill Burr (2015) during their nationwide stand-up tours in Australia. Earlier this year Chieng made his US television debut on “The Late Late Show.” Chieng is repped by Century Entertainment Australia and APA.

I’m so excited to welcome these new members of The Daily Show team,” Trevor Noah said in a statement. “Now I get to share my stress with other new people.”

The new season of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah premieres Monday, September 28 on Comedy Central.

Mindy Kaling now has her own Umami Burger, featuring house-made Sriracha aioli

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FoodBeast (Peter Pham):

Umami Burger is teaming up with comedic genius Mindy Kaling to create a burger: The Mindy Burger. Kaling is probably best known for her role as Kelly Kapoor on NBC’s award-winning comedy The Office and, more recently, Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project.

The Mindy Burger is made with pickled jalapeños, fried onion strings and a house-made Sriracha aioli on a beef patty. It’s served on Umami’s famous bun.

I love Umami and I was so honored to be able to create my own burger. Spicy and cheesy, it reflects my own personality,” Kaling said.

The burger isn’t for show, either. For every one sold, a dollar will go towards The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Through research, patient support and community outreach, the Pancreatic Cancer Network has set a goal to double pancreatic  cancer survival by 2020.

Available Sept. 1, the burger will be available at all participating Umami Burger locations for $13.

Aziz Ansari’s book ‘Modern Romance’ explores how technology affects relationships 

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 Audrey Magazine: 

We were all sad to see the cast of the Parks and Recreation say goodbye to their loyal viewers during the series finale last week, but when one door closes another one opens. That certainly seems to be the case for 32-year-old actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. Not only does he have a Netflix stand-up comedy special on its way, Ansari also has a book coming out soon. And no, it’s not what you expect.

Many comedians, such as Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, release memoirs to give fans a look into their personal life. Ansari, on the other hand, is releasing a book called Modern Romance where he apparently recruits a sociologist to conduct studies on love and romance in this day and age.

I had been starting to do this stand-up about dating and realized that the current romantic landscape is way different,” Ansari told TIME.  “All these very modern problems — like, sitting and deciding what to write in a text — that’s a very new conundrum.”

Ansari goes on to explain that while doing research for a stand-up bit, he realized he wanted the perspective of someone in the proper academic field to assess things like texting and how it can affect relationships. The result? A sociology book that has Ansari humor written all over it.

I want to be clear: The book is not, “It’s crazy! We have phones now!” The changes are far beyond the technology,” Ansari explains. “And marriage, not that long ago, was an economic institution where two families would come together to bring their wealth together. The whole idea of finding a soul mate only became a thing in the past 100 years. So the whole redefinition of what marriage is — nobody’s really written this comprehensive book about this kind of thing. I think it’s really funny and very interesting.”

Needless to say, the book certainly shows plenty of promise. Modern Romance hits bookshelves on June 16th. You can learn more about the book here on the official website.

 

 

Comedian Jenny Yang’s “Ask an Asian” series takes on ignorant questions 

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Audrey Magazine:

Last month, BuzzFeed Video took to Facebook and wrote, “Please reply in the comments with questions you have for Asians-Americans.”

Needless to say, you wouldn’t believe the amount of racism, stupidity and ignorance that went into some of the questions asked. We expected to end up rolling our eyes a bit, but seemed as if people were being extra creative with their racism and ignorance.

This is why we are especially glad that Jenny Yang is confronting these questions head on and responding with wit and humor. So far, there are two “Ask An Asian” videos up. The first, titled simply “Ask An Asian,” tackles 11 questions out of over 7000 submitted. It’s the “Ask An Asian About Food” video where things start to get hilariously bizarre with questions about chopsticks and whether or not Asians can eat peanut butter.

We hope with the popularity of Buzzfeed and YouTube, everyone out there will learn a thing or two. Judging by most of the 7000 questions that were asked, some people certainly need to. We’re definitely glad it’s Jenny Yang who is dropping the knowledge.

Check out the two videos below:

 

Get to Know Dis/orient/ed Comedy’s Jenny Yang

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Audrey Magazine:

The first time Jenny Yang performed a standup routine at an open mic, it felt like time had come to a standstill. Her set at the Tuesday Night Café in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo lasted only about four minutes. “But it felt like forever,” says Yang, laughing. “I almost barfed, but I didn’t.”

Instead, she became physically ill afterwards, for about a month. “I got sick because I’d worked myself up into such a frenzy,” Yang says. “But part of me also knew that pursuing something so scary, so challenging, meant that I could really grow from it.”

Fast forward to 2014, five years from that fateful night Yang first stepped up to that microphone. And over that time, the Taiwan-born, California-raised writer and comic has been winning over audiences in clubs and college campuses across the country with her socially conscious humor and exuberant style of delivery. Her material infuses new life into territories often tread by comics of color — the lack of diversity in mainstream media, the pitfalls of dating outside of your race — with a refreshing mix of well-placed sarcasm and self-deprecating candor. Her writing and commentary has been featured on National Public Radio, BBC News, Bitch Magazine, Colorlines and others. Last summer, a Buzzfeed video she starred in and helped to write, “If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say,” hit viral status, with over 6.7 million views to date.

But she realizes she still has much more to learn in her chosen field. “I’m still considered a newbie,” Yang demurs. “People say that between seven to 10 years is when you get to a point when you’re better.” She admits, however, that she feels much more confident on stage these days. When asked if she’s ever “bombed,” Yang pauses a few seconds to think, then answers matter-of-factly: “When you start doing standup, you get used to varying degrees of jokes working or not working. It’s a lot more gray than just, oh my god, I was going to kill myself out there.”

In person, Yang is friendly and warm, and indeed, she’s funny — though not in the set-up and punch line manner of her stage act, nor with the unbridled silliness conveyed in 140 characters or less on Twitter. (An example: “At the market, read ‘Organic’ vegetables sign as ‘Orgasmic.’ Calling therapist now.”) Perhaps because she sometimes tweets in shouted all-caps and easily embraces the abbreviated shorthand of the Internet generation, I expected to meet someone more cavalier, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal. Rather, Yang seems to give serious thought to every answer, at times interrupting herself to clarify a point.

There are moments she borders on pensive, such as when discussing her opinions on where Asian Americans fit within the racial and social structures of the U.S. “We’re still very black and white in America,” she says. “Even considering the Latino community is a start. In some ways, the public discourse has recognized Latinos, like, ‘Look at them, they’ve emerged!’” Yang rolls her eyes. “Well, actually, they’ve always been here.”

As for Asian Americans, she believes that “mainstream media is still very undereducated on how to talk about us in a way that honors the community, as people worthy of respect.”

She mentions Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese American NBA star, whose image was juxtaposed with a fortune cookie by the press during the height of the Linsanity blitz two years ago. “Who does that?” she asks, exasperated. “How would anyone think that would be OK?” She adds, “Because he’s Asian, they play up stereotypes. To me, that’s just where we’re at, sadly.”

Yang says that she grapples daily with the myriad ways that her Asian American identity intersects with other facets of her life, and she hopes to translate her observations into jokes that will make people laugh, all the while creating a more nuanced dialogue on race, gender and politics. “That’s really important to me,” she says. “Because I’m on a public platform, how do I explain myself and the people I care about?”

One such means is her involvement with the blog I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault, an online safe space where women share powerful and heartbreaking stories of harassment and sexual assault, in the form of letters written to a younger sister. Yang contributed a post that poignantly detailed a childhood experience with an older white boy who sexually bullied her, and the injury further compounded when Yang’s own mother readily dismissed the abuse.

In the time since she began pursuing an entertainment career, Yang has come to the definitive conclusion that “we need more Asian American artists.”

In this spirit, Yang founded Dis/orient/ed Comedy, a standup tour that features an all-Asian American, predominantly female cast. The show premiered at the David Henry Hwang Theater, the 240-seat space that is also a part of the Union Center of the Arts, along with the courtyard where Yang first took up the mic at the Tuesday Night Cafe years ago. Dis/orient/ed Comedy is actively touring the country now, with at least one show a month.

She’s also running a monthly story-telling project called Family Reunion, launched this past August at Echoes Under Sunset, in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood. At a recent show, attendees were treated to a surprise appearance by legendary comic Margaret Cho, whom Yang calls her “comedy fairy godmother.” The series takes place on the last Thursday of each month. Yang promises that future Family Reunions will feature cameos by seasoned performers like Cho, while retaining a commitment to showcasing emerging acts.

Asian Americans are complicated,” says Yang. “We need more artists and writers, more people to tell our stories.”

She grins and adds, “We have enough East Asian ophthalmologists.” Then she bursts into laughter.

Visit jennyyang.tv for Dis/orient/ed Comedy tour dates.

–STORY BY JEAN HO
Photo by Daren Mooko
This story was originally published in Audrey Magazine’s Winter 2014-15 issue. Get your copy here.