First of all, for the readers who don’t know- what is KTown Cowboys? And how did you come up with the idea?
The idea of the Ktown Cowboys series came when Daniel DPD Park, the director, and I were having a beer and realized that no one told our stories on film. Sure there have been a handful of asian American films but they never seemed to capture our lives. So we decided to do a webseries about a group of guys that hang out in Koreatown. It’s not preachy, it not about fighting some omnipresent oppressor. Rather its just retelling some of our fun moments in Koreatown when we were younger.
The guys in the series are our personal friends so it was easy to write a story about a group of guys being guys. Looking to pick up on women, getting drunk, and just looking to have a good time.
From the beginning our goal wasn’t to try to make money off of the series. We figured that Youtube would be the avenue in which to get as many “eyeballs” on this web series. Personally, I thought the “yellow panthers” would hate this series. But to our surprise, a lot of people took a liking to our series.
Personally, the main obstacle of being an Asian American comedian is that a lot of audience members already have a preconceived notion of what Asians are like. Some people half expect me to talk about eating dog or being a bad driver or maybe even imitate my parents. The preconceived notions and stereotypes are the obstacle.
In addition, this is a business. It’s not necessarily about who is the funniest or most talented. Ultimately on a business sense, its about who puts the most asses in seats. Given that there aren’t many superstar Asian American actors and comedians, there is some difficulty when it comes to raising money for an Asian American film. Why would someone give you millions of dollars for a film that might not make profit?
What advice would you give to young Asian Americans who would like to pursue a career in comedy or youtube?
My advice is really know the reason why you want to get into this. Everyone wants to be famous but not everyone is willing to put in the work. When people think about the life of a stand up comic, they only think about the performance. However, not many people know about the writing, the traveling, the politicking and a handful of other things that I won’t get into. Ultimately, the reason why I still do this is because I love it. I love the fact that I can write a bit and I get to say it on stage. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but it’s that process that I love. I also love the vulnerability of being on stage. I have bombed on stage a handful of times in my career and its not a great feeling. But it’s the performance and feedback that has me hooked. It’s like a drug really.
Also, if you really want to be considered a stand up comedian you need to get on stage as much as possible. No one is awesome right away on stage. It takes years of stage experience for you to grow and find your voice. So don’t think that you did well your first few times to consider yourself a comedian.
In regards to Youtube, I would like to stress to the Aspiring Comedians that content is king. There are all kinds of crap videos with millions of hits. I would urge the younger generation of asian American comedians to think outside the box and make content that most of us have not seen before. Make good content.
You being proud of being Asian American is great but you fall into possibly pigeon-holing yourself into being seen just an Asian American Comedian. I personally feel like we should strive to be a comedian that happens to Asian American.
Who would win in a fight: Kato (The Green Hornet) or Robin (Batman)?
It would be hard to vote against the Bruce Lee version of Kato. The Jay Chou version… I’m not sure. Maybe Jay can lull Robin to sleep with his sappy songs.