No Shoes Saturdays
By: Michelle Cheung
The Laugh Factory will no longer be featuring the Asian Invasion on Saturday nights. What in the world could cause such an abrupt disappearance? Well the answer is simple, evolution. First off, to put your minds at ease, the Laugh Factory is not ridding itself of Asian American comedians, but instead removing its cliché title and replacing it with something more befitting of the growing talent. The owners decision to rename the show can be construed as a necessary change, one that is in proper conjunction with the evolving Asian American entertainment scene. Although Asian comedians remain a rare commodity, they are increasingly making their mark in show business. In fact, this past Saturday night I witnessed first hand what all the commotion was about.
When my friends and I arrived to the bustling Sunset strip one hour prior to the show, stylishly dressed men and women lined the walls of the club anticipating the start of the show. One of the most refreshing surprises to see was the diversity of the audience. Although being advertised as an Asian comedy night, the crowd had a large population of Latinos, as well as Whites and African Americans, thus reiterating the idea that laughter knows no bounds.
Once inside the MC and host, Korean American comedian Paul Kim (PK) effectively wetted our appetites during his introductory sketch. PK started the night off with what seemed to be a common theme throughout the evening, tackling stereotypes through humor. Comedians PK, Randall Park, and Edwin San Juan particularly confronted the preconceived notions Asian Americans face, ranging from intelligence to dating and to masculinity, or the lack thereof. Either way, these men used humor as a means of empowerment, transforming negative stereotypes into something laughable. Asians were not alone in this task as Saturday nights show featured a multi-racial line up, each not afraid to criticize their own race as well as others. In particular, comics Isaac Carone and Edwin San Juan led the audience to hysterical laughter as they coined phrases such as Mario Matrix and Ma-bu-hai when recounted past immigration experiences.
Although the evening consisted of large amounts of racial bashing, I left satisfied because my cheeks were soar from all of the laughing. In the end I was not offended by the stereotypes but proud of the comedians for turning something very negative into an outlet for the positive using humor. I have also concluded that regardless of what title is chosen to replace Asian Invasion it is clear that this name has some large shoes to fill. Better yet, to satisfy the Asian culture, perhaps it should be called, No Shoes Saturdays.
May 21, 2003