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  • -Welcome to the show. -Thanks for having me.

  • I'm a big fan of yours from Silicon Valley, and now...

  • -(whooping, cheering) -Thank you.

  • -Thank you, thank you. -...now you've got the book

  • and you've got Crazy Rich Asians,

  • which is coming out to much fanfare.

  • People are really excited about this.

  • -Can you feel the buzz as well? -I've been feeling it

  • for the last, like, three weeks when we've been

  • on this press tour, and-and it's crazy.

  • They're actually spending money on us.

  • -(laughter) -Which is... which is amazing.

  • Like, we... They sent off three teams.

  • Each of us hit, like, three different cities,

  • and the reactions from each city is amazing.

  • -Right. -You got the really heavy Asian-populated cities,

  • you know, like, say, Boston, New York.

  • We expected a good turnout from them.

  • But then when we went to, like, Dallas,

  • and people still loved it,

  • and I barely saw any Asian people in the audience.

  • It was white people, black people.

  • -It's just such a universally fun movie to watch, -Right.

  • that I'm just so grateful to see everybody enjoying it.

  • It's really doing well. It has, like,

  • what, 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • -Yeah. -Everyone is enjoying

  • the cultural significance of the film.

  • It's funny, because Ronny Chieng, who's on the show,

  • is also in the movie, and when he came to me

  • to tell me that, like, they wanted him in the movie,

  • he, like, really undersold it. He's like, "Hey, man,

  • "so I might need to leave the show for a few months

  • "to go do this movie; I think it might be

  • a little bit big for, like, you know, the Asian community,"

  • and he thought it like it was gonna be, like,

  • a little indie movie in the middle of nowhere.

  • And then I saw this come out, I was like,

  • "Ronny, this is major! This is huge!"

  • And it really is, because for 25 years,

  • we have not seen a Hollywood movie with a full Asian cast.

  • -That's a pretty big deal. -Since Joy Luck Club.

  • And I think going in, I mean,

  • Ronny probably wasn't underselling it,

  • like, 'cause we didn't know; we intellectualized it.

  • -Like, we understood it's important. -Right.

  • It's, uh, you know, statistically, 25 years,

  • first studio movie.

  • But we didn't feel how special it was

  • until we got to Singapore.

  • When you got, like, the most beautiful, talented,

  • -funniest Asian people from all over the world. -Yeah.

  • You got Asian Americans, Asian British,

  • Asian Australians, from everywhere.

  • You know, Ronny: Asian Malaysian.

  • -Right. -Right? Like...

  • -(laughter) -Which sounds amazing, by the way.

  • -Asian Malaysian. -Asian Malaysian.

  • -Asian Malaysian. -I'm gonna start calling him

  • in the office, and I'm gonna get a lawsuit.

  • -(laughter) -The, uh... the movie is also great.

  • That's what I enjoy, is, you know, like,

  • oftentimes when people talk about diversity,

  • people always make it seem like it's charity,

  • -Right. -but it's a great story.

  • And you play a character who, like,

  • seems like the most fun ever.

  • Is it true that you also tried to go for the lead,

  • like, the really good-looking, handsome lead?

  • Ha! Thanks for putting it that way.

  • -(laughter) -Um, yeah, so...

  • when I first got the script, not every day you get a script

  • that's Crazy Rich Asians with a full Asian cast,

  • so I talked to my manager, I picked up the phone,

  • right away I'm like, "Guys, I know I'm usually the funny guy,

  • "you know, like, the character actor,

  • "but let me-- this is an important movie--

  • let me try out for the leading role." Okay?

  • And then my manager was like, "Look, Jimmy, I don't know

  • "how to tell you this properly, but, um...

  • "they're looking for a good-looking guy

  • for this role."

  • And, uh, you know, here I am.

  • (laughter)

  • -Here I am, so, uh... it's okay. -Yeah, but you,

  • -but you-you crush it in the movie, -Oh, thanks.

  • -'cause you play, like, a Versace-wearing,

  • mad, party animal.

  • Oh, it's awesome.

  • It's awesome to play that guy 'cause you get

  • to go as big as possible,

  • to just fill the screen with any energy

  • you have kind of pent up inside.

  • 'Cause I think, normally, as functional members of society,

  • you can't just act crazy, but with a character like that,

  • with billions of dollars and he doesn't care about anything,

  • he-he lives his life like as if it's lawless.

  • So it was just so fun and freeing to play somebody like that.

  • You also have a cast that is all Asian

  • but at the same time really diverse.

  • And don't get me wrong, I mean, I'm not saying it covers

  • every single aspect of Asian culture,

  • but it is interesting that you said, so many people come from

  • so many different walks of life--

  • When you're on-on set, did you feel that?

  • Because I remember when Black Panther was happening,

  • people were talking about how the set felt different,

  • -it was a new experience. -Absolutely.

  • Was it similar on Crazy Rich Asians?

  • There was some kind of magic.

  • When we were all just hanging out, you know, eating dinner,

  • I didn't have to explain,

  • "Oh, let's go to a Chinese restaurant.

  • "It's like authentic, but, like, not that exotic.

  • You can handle it." You know?

  • We were all just so much on the same page.

  • We all just loved the same kind of food.

  • We all sang karaoke every night.

  • (laughter)

  • It was great.

  • You haven't lived until you've seen Ronny Chieng

  • sing Backstreet Boys, it's amazing.

  • Man, you are just giving me ammunition

  • on Ronny Chieng nonstop.

  • Let's talk a little bit about the book as well,

  • because, um,

  • I love how your book talks about your journey in America.

  • How to American:

  • An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents.

  • Um, it really is a universal story

  • that is all about yourself becoming an American citizen

  • and the journey that you went on.

  • Why do you think it's really been as difficult

  • as it has been for you to understand

  • the difference, or the difficulty and duality:

  • being an American, but then also being Asian

  • and staying true to your roots?

  • I moved here when I was 13 from Hong Kong.

  • 13 is probably a tough age for anyone finding themselves,

  • but I was in a new country with a new language.

  • I couldn't really speak English very well.

  • And also, one of the hardest things

  • aside from just making friends in school,

  • was dealing with the pressure from your parents,

  • the expectations of growing up Asian.

  • And they value, um, obedience.

  • They-they value finding a real job, right?

  • (laughs) I like how you say...

  • -Which I'm obviously not doing right now. -Right.

  • But in American culture, it's the complete opposite.

  • We value independence,

  • and-and we value pursuing your dreams,

  • whereas my dad, ever since I was little,

  • has told me that pursuing your dreams

  • how you become homeless.

  • So how do you-- Which one do I pick?

  • And how do I go about doing this?

  • When I started doing standup,

  • like, my-my dad thought I was crazy.

  • -He doesn't, doesn't know what standup was. -Right.

  • Like, we never watched standup in Hong Kong, you know.

  • My first standup, like, that I watched

  • -was BET Comic View when I came here. -Right.

  • And that was like a cultural experience.

  • Yeah, I can only imagine.

  • It wasn't just jokes, it was, like, about culture.

  • Like, when they're talking about white people do this,

  • black people do that, I didn't know any of those stereotypes.

  • -Right. -But that was, like, broad strokes of America

  • that I learned from TV and watching these comedians,

  • -which is, in a way, culture-tellers, right? -Yes.

  • That's why I became really interested in doing standup,

  • and my dad still, till today, calls it a talk show.

  • Which, I guess, I'm doing now, so it's fine.

  • I-I'm actually doing a talk show.

  • You have a great book with a great story.

  • -Congratulations on the film. -Thank you, my man.

  • How to American is available now.

  • Crazy Rich Asians is in theaters nationwide.

  • Jimmy O. Yang, everybody.

-Welcome to the show. -Thanks for having me.

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Jimmy O. Yang - “Crazy Rich Asians” and “How to American” | The Daily Show

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    Samuel posted on 2018/08/24
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