Tag Archives: Asian American

RANT: Books! Give them a try! [jennyyang.tv blog]

Rant - A JennyYang.TV blogHere is an actual quote of a high school student from my hometown newspaper (The Daily Breeze) about a book fair: “I’m not really fond of books,” she said. “But I want to give it a try.”

“Give it a try?” When did reading books become a snack you’ve never had?  

> Have you had these Flaming Hot Cheetos?
>> No.
> They’re amazing. Spicy, salty…they write rap songs about them.
>> (pause) Sure. I’ll give it a try.”

When did “reading books” become an optional nerd package in the new car purchase of life?! Breathing, eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, sleeping – yeah, THAT car will get you where you need to go…but don’t you want to upgrade to nerd package and read books? Nah. I don’t NEED that..

Like it’s a matter of “taste” to understand a story another human being is telling you by putting your eyeballs onto words written on paper.  For god’s sake, a book is just a little stack of papers barely thicker than your iPhone.

Like reading books is a “preference” in life like trying “exotic” ethnic food you didn’t grow up with.

> Panang curry?! Probably’ll give me the runs so I’ll pass no thanks.

Reading books is a huge part of communicating ideas in life. It’s like saying, conversation? I’m not really fond of communicating with other people. But, I’ll give it a try.

I’d like to tie this whole rant up with some kind of bigger statement about how we are becoming short-attention-spanned illiterate dumb dumbs. But that wouldn’t capture the numbing white-hot rage I feel inside at everything this young high schooler’s quote represents about what it means to appreciate ideas and understand one another as a human species moving forward.

I’m just letting myself sit here – disappointed with everything.

And then again, the people who are least likely to share this rage and disappointment are probably not reading this.

Ugh. Get it together, people. Books. Give them a try.


300 Seattle fans. One big stage. Fight or flight?! aka You CHOOSE to do this? [jennyyang.tv blog]

What do you feel when you see this photo?

From the stage

View from the stage at the Renton Civic Theatre – Seattle: Dis/orient/ed Comedy show, Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Did your heart beat faster? But like because you’d NEVER want to see a theater from the stage like this?  Or did it beat faster because you got a shot of adrenaline and imagined all of these seats filled with people and all eyes focused on you? Or did you just get up and get yourself some hot cheetos and takis?! (cause if you did, give ME some!)

Yeah.  That’s where we draw the line.  That’s when you know if you are a performer. Life boils down to FIGHT or FLIGHT, man. Do you FIGHT in this arena and get some meaning out of it? Or do you run the f*ck away?

For my friends who are not performers, they are dumbfounded by why we would put ourselves in front of everyone on a stage underneath blinding lights. Maybe it’s some reptilian impulse for us to avoid such focused scrutiny of the masses.

Don’t you get nervous?  Isn’t it scary? I don’t understand why anyone would put themselves through that kind of pressure.

Sometimes I wished they’d understand (insert SADFACE). Most people see this photo and feel intense anxiety. When I see this photo I feel joy and excitement.

Let me explain: the photo above is the view from the stage of the Renton Civic Theatre, located twenty minutes south of downtown Seattle.  This is the location of our Dis/orient/ed Comedy Seattle show this Saturday night, March 16th, 2013. My Seattle-based co-producer of the show took this photo so that those of us in Los Angeles could see what we were getting ourselves into.

WHAT ARE WE GETTING OURSELVES INTO?! This is the first time we’ve taken our all female, Asian American stand up comedy show to a city outside of the Los Angeles area and it’s kinda freaking me out.  Oh. I’m not freaking out because this stage and the audience is so big – three hundred pairs of eyes in the audience WHEN we sell out the house – but because this we are aiming to attract a pretty sizable audience for our new-ish tour in a city new to most of us.

And guess what? In the end, even this freak-out energy transforms into excitement.

Every day I remind myself that it’s a gift for us to have a platform to entertain and share ourselves with others, often with complete strangers. 

So hey! Thank you, Seattle. Thank you so much. As of this post, we are ALMOST sold-out! Nearly 300 of you will be our new friends this Saturday evening! When you see us (Aparna Nancherla, Mona Concepcion, Yola Lu, Atsuko Okatsuka and Jenny Yang) on the stage performing our hearts out, you will know exactly what we see in the photo: a room filled with happy faces, ready-to-laugh. It’s a beautiful thing.

From the back of the theater-withcomics