Tag Archives: Judy Gold

Joan Rivers, I Kiss Your Ring: My Fancy Showtime “Funny Women” Documentary Experience [jennyyang.tv blog]

HOW IS IT THAT MY TALKING FACE WAS UP NEXT TO THE TALKING FACES OF MIND-BLOWING COMEDY VETS LIKE…Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Lily Tomlin, Aisha Tyler, Tig Notaro, Janeane Garofalo, Judy Gold, and Sandra Bernhard?!

Showtime channel Why We Laugh: Funny Women

I’m in this incredible Showtime documentary “Why We Laugh: Funny Women,” (IMDB) Executive-Produced by the Doña of comedy, Joan Rivers (Don’t talk to me ever again until you the documentary about her called “A Piece of Work“). It premiered this past Thursday night so I watched it for the first time along with the premium-cable-channel-subscribers of the ruling class who still believe in purchasing their entertainment with a feeling of exclusivity.  We had a little hang at the home of a semi-ruling-class friend who actually had legal, non-Torrent Showtime cable television. I was with some of my closest friends/comedy supporters AND comic Helen Hong (another comic featured in the documentary)! It was grand.

(Hey! Those who missed it! Here’s the teaser trailer: http://youtu.be/HJMiekdm8zk)

HERE IS MY RECIPE FOR ENJOYING A FANCY DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE WHEN YOU ARE AFRAID YOUR FACE WILL TAKE UP TOO MUCH OF THAT HUGE SCREEN TV

8 Servings of Neighborhood Thai Food
The premiere was at 8pm on a Thursday night so hard working dayjobbers gotta eat! We had a fairly decent meal of your standard Thai fare…but with the addition of some orange chicken because what says celebrate your fancy documentary premiere as an Asian American comic than ORANGE CHICKEN!

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Look. Before you take away my Chinese keepin-it-real card, we ordered it because it’s the fav dish of the two boys of the house (my buddy’s kids). Yeah! That’s right! (wipes orange glaze from lip corners)

1 Lemonade and Bourbon Cocktail Perched By A Comfortable Couch

We were so excited there was no cocktail strong enough to take away the edge.  In fact, the jitters were a little stronger than normal than for a live comedy show because the documentary is edited and done. We had NO control over what was going to appear on the television screen moments from now.

Jenny Yang and Helen Hong on the couch

Jenny didn’t get the memo to smile with excitement at the camera, just continue wringing those hands in anxiety, Jenny. Atta girl.

Some thoughts running through the brain:

  1. Am I gonna sound like a jerk?
  2. Am I gonna look like a jerk?
  3. Did these people know how to light and angle the cameras to make our round moonfaces look good?
  4. What will my soul think?
  5. Will I look at myself with shame or delight after this experience?
  6. What if I only appear once?
  7. What if I only appear twice? (Dang. I hyped this up too much with my friends)

Fortunately before a shame spiral of nervous questions could continue 8 o’clock struck and the show had begun!

1 Large Screen Television with Surround Sound and Premium Cable Subscription

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Like the dorks we are, we had to take multiple photos of ourselves in front of the television screen while the live television broadcast was happening (because for some people non-internet broadcast television still feels a little special, generation post-Z…what are these Zygotes called now?)

Ignore the sucked-in cheeks…that’s just the nerves speaking. As a tomboy and ungirly girl, the nerves kick in and my knee-jerk reaction is to pose as female gender normative as possible.  Is that a strange evolutionary Darwinian fight-or-flight response? Who knows. Perhaps it has gotten me some free snacks and drinks in my time.

28 Photos of Human Live Comic in Front of the TV Posing Just Like the TV Comic On-Screen

WE. GOT. NO. SHAME. and yet we both knew this was what had to go down when we watched this together. ALL unspoken.

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Could they have pulled out just a smidge? Lord. My face took up all 52 inches of that screen…AND I LOOKED GOOD DOIN’ IT! ((snaps))

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Helen got the opening shot of the documentary! Her profile saying that she “shit her pants” when she first did stand up. EXCELLENT WORK, HONG.

2 Lines of Interview in the Main Storyline

Hey man. Next to Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Rivers, and Sandra Bernhard, I’d give them as much shine as possible! Yup. 2 lines of my interview got into the main storyline and it was divine.  They were short but heck, the editor made them count.  I had been tipped off by the producer that my interview provided one of the chapter titles and when this title card appeared…well…I KNEW. IT WAS ME WHO PROVIDED THIS LIFE-AFFIRMING GEM.

The Yang Ancestors will be proud.

The Yang Ancestors will be proud.

I believe the exact quote was:  “Stand up comedy is all dicks and balls.”

PUT THAT ON A PLAQUE AMERICA! SHE’S CONCISE AND A TRUTH-TELLER! A TRUE ARTIST!

I’d like to think my contribution to the story line will bring great pride to the Yang ancestral table in our heaven above. And fortunately, my parents do not know what a blog is and rarely read English unless their life or immigration status depended on it. (If you are reading this my brothers, let’s avoid translating this blog post to the parentals)

The other one was what I believed was a rather deep set of statements I had made about how I believe that comedy should be the platform for the “bullied” not the bulliers. But I’m sure it was far less eloquent than that in the soundbite. Nevertheless, It was in there and it is actually an idea that I feel very strongly about. I’ve experienced being made fun of as the lone Asian woman in a mostly white comedy club and having Mr. Spikey Blonde Haired Bully guy jerko comic pick on me with hack massage, nail salon, Asian sex jokes. Stupid. You already have a platform called THE WORLD. Leave the comedy stage for those less empowered to talk the f*ck back! (breathe)

Besides the two lines, the credits at the very end was pretty great though. They were kind enough to include a run of some of my jokes about the rules I’d like the American public to follow so that Asian Americans could be treated with more respect (AMERICA: You have been given notice!). You KNOW my friend is pulling these clips together into a single video for me!

AS FOR THE ACTUAL MOVIE: I really loved learning more about the history of modern female comics!  I had heard Moms Mabley was someone who was the godmother of African American comedy history so I liked that she was acknowledged in the context of this movie about women and comedy. My buddies and I were surprised no one mentioned Carol Burnett or Ellen DeGeneres. Hmm.

Joan Rivers made me tear up at the end when she talked about just how stand up comedy is everything for her. She has such an inspirational and yet tragic story. YOU MUST SEE “A PIECE OF WORK.” the documentary about her!

25 Strawberries and 1 Tub of Cool Whip

After the movie, we re-convened in the dining room to enjoy the humungo strawberries with some of that hydrogenated processed frothiness that is Cool Whip that Helen brought over. We didn’t manage to make the Helen’s white wine spritzers (I’ve never had one!)…but I say that we should save that for another day.  We’ll drink white wine spritzers and listen to all the classic rock that our immigrant parents never listened to and therefore never exposed us to so yeah we really don’t know that that epic jam was Led Zeppelin! Okay!??!

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That’s it! That’s my recipe for awesomeness!

WHATCHA THINK OF THE DOCUMENTARY? DID YOU WATCH IT? DID YOU LEARN SOMETHING? ARE YOU AS FASCINATED AS I WAS AT HOW AMAZING THESE WOMEN WERE? WHAT COMPANY I WAS IN!

For reading through this entire blog, you get a weird selfie I took with the stark room-sized lighting umbrella contraption that was at the shoot….PLUS my extreme makeup face from the makeup pro who had a huge suitcase of makeup doohickeys. Lawd.

Don’t stare for too long. It may burn into your soul.

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