Meet Y’all We Asian: Headlining at Spider House in September!

ColdTowne Theater is home to so many of Austin’s most adept (read: hilarious) improv troupes. Over the years we’ve seen some of these comedy teams turn their improv comedy from your typical improv show to something bigger. Y’all We Asian, Austin’s first and only all Asian-American comedy troupe has done that time and time again. With sold out main stage runs and packing the house monthly for “Last Friday Night,” at their monthly residency, Y’all We Asian is taking the Spider House Ballroom stage on Fridays and Saturdays in September to bring their signature shows to new audiences. We talked to YWA to hear a little more about their roots and experiences as the only Asian-American comedy troupe in Austin.

How did Y’all We Asian form?
YWA was formed from a showcase we put on for Asian American Heritage Month two years ago. The showcase was called “Y’all We Asian”, and it was a show that featured local Asian American artists in town. The event invite quickly grew from ~60 people that we invited, to 300+ people in mere hours. We ended up selling out the show in 2 days and that’s when we realized that there was a need and interest in shows like this in Austin. One of the performers of the show, Christine Hoang, suggested that we make YWA into a troupe, and we thought, why not? And that’s how the troupe was formed. – Yola Lu

Tell me how each of you got involved in improv and how each of you have gotten to where you are today. What struggles did you face along the way? 

I had just moved to Austin after college and I was purposefully trying to do things that scared me because I felt like I hadn’t pursued that many of my own interests in college. I’d loved stand-up and improv comedy from afar for a long time, but I was so afraid of getting on stage. My friend took me to a few shows at ColdTowne and encouraged me to sign up for classes. Improv classes taught to trust in myself and my instincts and in the group to have my back. – Minda Wei

I was in a pretty low spot in my life at the end of 2014, and I stumbled upon a Groupon for half off an Improv 1 class at a theater in downtown Austin. I knew some folks from college who performed there and thought “why not?” I struggled most with feeling like I belonged; a combination of imposter syndrome and the fact I was an Asian queer spending most of my time surrounded primarily by straight white cis-men. Three years later, that theater I joined would suffer an upheaval in management that nearly tore our community apart. One wild revolution later, this Asian queer is now one of the 5 co-owners of Fallout Theater, a new theater borne from the community I had joined just a few years prior. -VS

I got involved with improv classes to work on my communication skills for my career. I was a very quiet person growing up and did not get a lot of the learning one can obtain from feedback of conversation. Letting my ideas flow out without thinking too much on them was something I struggled with quite a bit. I had only intended to get a brief taste of improv, but my friends encouraged me to complete the full course program at ColdTowne. Now I’m eager to continue developing my skills as a performer. – FI

I got started in improv in Seattle, but at the time, all that was taught in Seattle was short form. I wasn’t sure if it was for me and stopped taking classes. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I discovered long form improv. I actually bought a holiday special class for my boyfriend at the time as a gift, and when I saw his student showcase, I was so in awe that I immediately signed up for classes after. It’s completely changed my life in that I finally started building a community around me of talented and kind friends.- YL

How did you all come up with “Starring Y’all We Asian”?
Initially, we were brainstorming ideas surrounding Lunar New Year since our run started in February and our last run centered on the Asian summer vacation experience. ColdTowne was very generous in giving us an 8-week run, and we realized that it wouldn’t still make sense to be running a new year show in April. We were kicking around ideas, and Asian representation in Hollywood was a big topic in the last year, and something we had on our minds when we had won the BIP. We landed on character-driven so that we could explore the film leads and how our AsAm viewpoints would color their world. – MW

We also just thought it’d be fun to “yellow wash” a movie to flip the narrative, which was how we landed on this idea – YL

What is a random fact about some of your performers that we wouldn’t otherwise know?

There’s an ongoing joke about Kim’s 7 year old loofah that is literally falling apart that she still uses and keeps it together by tying it up with rope. I think she finally switched to some other thing that is more sanitary recently.

Also, one of our members, G-Su Paek recently got selected for the CBS Diversity Showcase! He’ll be moving to Los Angeles in the next week, so his last shows are actually this weekend if people want to see him before he departs. He got cast out of thousands of people who auditioned and we couldn’t be more proud of him. 

Y’all We Asian performs regularly at ColdTowne, but don’t miss them this month on Fridays and Saturdays in September at Spider House Ballroom.

“Starring Y’all We Asian” Hits the ColdTowne Main Stage

Y’all, We Asian’s latest show proves that Asians are more than just the sidekick.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/1/2019

Austin, TX: After a sold-out run last summer at ColdTowne Theater, the B. Iden Payne-winning improv troupe “Y’all, We Asian” is back with a new hour-long production that refocuses the narrative of Hollywood whitewashing by empowering diverse voices and re-imagining films by inserting Asian leads. “Starring Y’all We Asian”, which pays homage to the #StarringJohnCho movement, will feature snappy, character-driven improv comedy inspired by movie trailers. It will also showcase local Asian-American stand-ups, such as Tai Nguyen, Nikita Redkar, and Sahana Srinivasan, as opening comics.

 

“Y’all, We Asian” and ColdTowne Theater are highlighting diverse voices in improv comedy, an artform that has traditionally been dominated by mostly-white and mostly-male perspectives. The success of Asian-led films like Crazy Rich Asians and all-Asian comedy showcases like “Asian AF” at UCB has proven that audiences are craving more art that reflects their experiences and more multi-faceted portrayals of what it means to be Asian-American. “Starring Y’all We Asian” is a celebration of how far Asians have come in Hollywood and a reminder of how many more diverse stories there are to be told.

 

At “Starring Y’all We Asian”, the audience will enjoy improvised comedy from some of Austin’s most talented improvisers, including: Yola Lu of “Stool Pigeon” (ColdTowne Theater), Virgil Shelby of “The Megaphone Show” (Fallout Theater), G-Su Paek of “Missed Connections ATX”, and more. The show runs for 8 weeks, every Saturday from February 16 to April 6 at 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. For more information, contact coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com

 

Tickets

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/starringyallweasian-improv-tickets-54098087837?ref=ecal

 

About “Y’all, We Asian”

Comprised of experienced performers from all five Austin improv theaters, “Y’all, We Asian” is Austin’s (and definitely Texas’) first all Asian-American troupe. The troupe is comprised of 7 members, all ranging in age, gender, and ethnicity. In 2018, “Y’all, We Asian” won the B. Iden Payne “Ethel Hinkley Award for Outstanding New Improv Troupe”. The troupe has performed the Del Close Marathon (NYC) and Out of Bounds (ATX) comedy festivals. “Y’all, We Asian” is on Facebook @YWAImprovATX.

 

About ColdTowne Theater

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy. Running shows 7 nights a week and featuring the smartest, brightest, and hardest-working comedians in Central Texas. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

 

PRESS CONTACT:
Lilli Lopez, Marketing Director
ColdTowne Theater
lillianallopez@gmail.com
956-683-5067

 

Y’all We Asian: When We First Saw Ourselves Represented On-Screen

Y’all, We Asian” is back with a new hour-long show that refocuses the narrative of Hollywood whitewashing. We’re empowering diverse voices and re-imagining films by inserting Asian leads. “Starring Y’all We Asian”, which pays homage to the #StarringJohnCho movement, will feature snappy, character-driven improv comedy inspired by movie trailers. Catch the show every Saturday night at 8:30pm from February 16 to April 6 at ColdTowne Theater!

Before Crazy Rich Asians was released, the last major Asian-American film was The Joy Luck Club, 25 years prior. 2018’s “Asian August” brought a lot of progress for Asian-American representation on the big screen – we’re finally getting more multi-faceted portrayals! We’re not just the goofy best friends! We’re #notsidekicks! “Starring Y’all We Asian” is a celebration of how far Asians have come in Hollywood and a reminder of how many more diverse stories there are to be told. We asked some members of “Y’all We Asian” about the first time they felt represented on-screen.

https://www.theroot.com/in-living-color-cast-then-and-now-1790867994

Steve Park was a standup and performer on the hit television show “In Living Color” during the 1991 season. Having loved comedy and watching performances from a young age, seeing someone that represented me on that big stage allowed me to have the dream that it WAS possible for an Asian to be on TV anywhere.” – G-Su Paek

https://maxlinkinfo.blogspot.com/2018/08/awkwafina-single-woman-seeking-manwich.html

“I remember Googling ‘asian female rapper’ when I was college. That’s how I found out about Awkwafina. This was in 2015, before Crazy Rich Asians, before she hosted SNL, back when she was just a scrappy rapper-comedian in Brooklyn making her own web-series called “Tawk”, which I remember binge-watching and screaming about for days. Awkwafina was loud, messy, and relentlessly funny. In her, I saw the weird parts of myself that didn’t fit into any mould that I grew up with. She is boldly herself at all times, and it has been so exciting to watch her rise.” – Minda Wei

“My first Jet Li movie was Hero. I quickly became obsessed with the talented, stone-faced, eagle eyed martial artist, and tore through as many movies as I could. He became my favorite actor and kung fu movies became one of my top favorites. I even started taking Tang Soo Do lessons and had an embarrassing trist as collector of swords and other martial weapons. Jet Li had it all! Strength, skill, cool as a cucumber, and looked dope as hell whether he’s rocking the long queue hair or the tac gear and black shades. Li was the pinnacle of my early concepts of “manliness”, a strong lead who could go toe to toe with the Stathams and Stalones. Even though I would later come out as a Non-Binary individual and re-evaluate all of my concepts of masculinity, Jet Li was no less important a figure in the grand tapestry of influences on my life and ultimately on my identity.” – Virgil Shelby

https://www.inverse.com/article/19390-fast-and-the-furious-tokyo-drift-is-on-netflix-instant-streaming

“I’ve seen other Fast and Furious movies, but there was no F&F that my friends and I were more excited about than Tokyo Drift. Despite the fact that the movie is set in Tokyo and stars a white guy, we watched it over and over again because we felt like “omg, Asians are on the map!” We looked cool, raced cars, and were tough and handsome and hot. It was exciting, even if we were mostly the background characters in the movie. But who cares! The title has Tokyo in it!” – Yola Lu

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0132yz7

“The first time I saw somebody in a lead role that represented me was when Bend It Like Beckham came out. There were a bunch of movies dealing with kids and sports like The Mighty Ducks, The Sandlot, Like Mike, and Rookie of the Year that were so popular at my school. Parminder Nagra as the central character of a sports comedy movie that blew up in popularity really helped me feel represented, especially with growing up in the only Indian family in my city for a majority of my life up to then. Back then, I definitely didn’t understand all of the social commentary in the movie, but I am proud they added depth to make it more than another typical sports comedy film.” – Faraaz Ismail

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/05/hasan-minhaj-homecoming-king-interview

While I had seen various Asian Americans on screen before, the first stand-out moment where I was like “wow, yeah I strongly feel and relate to this in a way that really plugs into my identity” was just a little over a year ago when I watched Hasan Minhaj’s “Homecoming King”. He captured part of the “Asian child of immigrant parents” experience in a way that I had never experienced and made me feel seen and laugh and cry. It was so truthful and heartfelt and funny and he never sacrificed any pain for a laugh.” – Kim Tran