Too Many Asians Are Coming To NYC
How many times have you gone to a sketch comedy show and thought “This is great but there’s not enough Asians”? Comedian Woody Fu has got you covered. He’s playing everything from all the members of an absurd K-Pop band to his reimagining of the old chinese shopkeeper from Gremlins as a cutthroat salesman unloading Mogwais on the unsuspecting world. “The joke,” says Fu, “Is that you might not see a lot of Asian performers performing live comedy and after seeing this show you will think that was too many Asians, I didn’t want that many Asians.”
As a comedian and actor Fu has come up against the limitations many Asian performers face.
“In general, if you’re an Asian guy, there’s a pretty limited number of roles available for you. There’s basically five roles they’re just dressed differently – tech nerd, delivery guy, third friend, nail salon technician and villainized ‘other’.” Putting together his own one man show gives him the ability to play a range of characters he might not get offered elsewhere. “These are characters that I wrote for myself that I thought it would be fun to play.”
Too Many Asians sees Fu playing an overly confident NYC pigeon, “They don’t care. They never get out of your way”, to the previously mentioned K-Pop band members who reveal things to the audience like which one’s really 45 years old. He also plays god and an enthusiastic breakdancer trying to buy a used car among many more characters.
While he’s been creating his own art Fu has noticed a shift towards more opportunities for Asian performers in the industry. The success of Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off The Boat have opened some doors but it isn’t enough. “There’s been a lot more awareness about representation, and I do think it’s getting better, but I also think it takes a long time. I think it takes years or decades to actually have perceptions shift because you’re always building on the back of the previous thing that happened. The rate of change is glacial.”
Woody Fu isn’t sitting around and waiting for Hollywood to cast more Asian performers. In addition to his one man show he also has a YouTube channel where you can see his sketch comedy about things like the struggles of finding porn starring an Asian man and a white woman or what Santa would be like if he were Chinese (instead of elves he employs children). Does Fu worry about venturing into stereotypes? “As a comedian you never want to get a blood laugh, a laugh for the wrong reasons. I think you can make comedy about anything especially more controversial issues like race or politics you just have to get the audience there the right way.”
Woody Fu’s one man show Too Many Asians comes to the UCB Theater May 13th and 31st.