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BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month

CRAZY WOKE ASIANS created by Kiki Yeung will be celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a schedule full of shows at the Santa Monica Playhouse

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month

Asian comedy troupe CRAZY WOKE ASIANS created by Kiki Yeung will be celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a schedule full of shows at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Kiki managed to find some time to answer a few of my inquiries between producing the various May shows, rehearsing her own stand-up and taking care of her toddler son.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Kiki!

What inspired you to create Crazy Woke Asians in 2018?

I was tired of the white washing in Hollywood and being the only Asian on comedy shows. I wanted to create a platform for Asian comedians to shine and share different kinds of Asian American experiences on stage.

How appropriate to have two shows streaming live from the Santa Monica Playhouse this month of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - your monthly COMEDY CONTEST on May 15th and your annual COMEDY FESTIVAL May 29th and 30th. How did these two concepts (contest and festival) originally come about?

Due to COVID, we had to pivot and do Zoom and YouTube/Facebook livestream shows, so I came up with the CRAZY WOKE ASIANS COMEDY CONTEST that was more a variety show with roast battles, trivia games and different Asian culture nights; like last month we had Japanese-themed contest and this month is Vietnamese-themed.

I started the CRAZY WOKE ASIANS VIRTUAL COMEDY FESTIVAL in 2020, and we were able to include comedians from Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Seattle. So this year we wanted to continue that tradition and celebration for Asian Heritage Month.

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month This is not the first time you're worked with Santa Monica Playhouse. Your solo show SECOND CHANCES FOR GRACE was produced by them in 2017. What cosmic forces first brought you together with the Santa Monica Playhouse?

I auditioned for a role in the Santa Monica Playhouse Christmas musical in 2016. I would drive from San Diego to Santa Monica for rehearsals. I just fell in love with the theater, (co-artistic directors) Chris (DeCarlo) and Evelyn (Rudie) have been so supportive of my projects. I'm truly grateful for them.

You had over 90 comedians from all over the world in last year's Zoomed COMEDY FESTIVAL. How many in-town comedians will be in your two-day live stream?

This year we have mostly in town comedians with exception of three Zoom shows for out-of-town comedians from Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Hong Kong.

Besides yourself, will any comedian be appearing on both May productions?

Comedians from Toronto will appear both days. And producers Ai Yoshihara and April Weber will be hosting multiple shows, as well as other L.A.-based comedians.

You're already performed live sets at Comedy Chateau in North Hollywood this year, and are planning to perform your live streams with a live in-theatre audience in the Santa Monica Playhouse. What safety measures will you have in place?

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month Yes, hopefully; but it will be a very limited live audience. We require performers and audience to show vaccination card or negative COVID test upon entering theater. We will also have temperature checks and sanitizers at the door. All seatings are socially distanced.

How did your Comedy Chateau show go raising money for AAPI Community Fund's campaign for Stop Asian Hate?

It was amazing! All the comedians came together and we raised over $2000 for GoFundMe! We did another Stop Asian Hate Benefit for AAPI Fund at Lyd & Mo in Pasadena a week later, in total we raised almost $3000.

You were born in Hong Kong. How old were you when you came to the United States?

I came to the US when I was twelve years old.

Did your family settle in an Asian-friendly neighborhood in Seattle?

My family settled in a town called Bothell, pronounced 'Boonies.'

Who were your performing idols growing up?

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month I love Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle Pfieffer and Julia Roberts. For comedy, I enjoy Dave Chapelle, Darrell Hammond and Aries Spears.

Who was the first famous Asian face that you saw on television or in the movies?

Anna May Wong.

How has the open mike experience been for you in comedy clubs since you started gigging in 2017?

I love Tao Comedy Studio, Bobbie and Chris are very supportive. I did my first mic there. The first sold-out CRAZY WOKE ASIANS show was at Tao.

I used to go to the Clown House pre-COVID and the host Jeff would even let me bring my toddler son when I couldn't find a babysitter. The Clown House is closed now due to COVID. It's so sad. I miss that place.

I was going to The Hollywood Comedy on Melrose pre-COVID too. Jiaoying Summers is the owner and a good friend. They have virtual mics every day, and is open again now.

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month Dante Chang's Flashback Comedy Mic on Melrose is fun too! Great atmosphere and supportive environment to test out stuff or just rant.

With the increasing awareness of systemic discrimination, has your comedic topics narrowed or broadened?

It has broadened due to racism and the Asian hate that's been going around. I started talking about some hard topics, and it actually made me dug deeper into my identity and what I really care about to share on stage.

What's in the near future for Crazy Woke Asians?

We have the CRAZY WOKE ASIANS SOLO PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL on May 11-14th at The Santa Monica Playhouse. It will be three stages with a free youth comedy camp, industry panels and opening night red carpet event. The festival features over 50 comedians workshopping their 20-50 minutes comedy specials.

What's in the post-pandemic future for Kiki Yeung?

BWW Interview: Kiki Yeung & Her Crazy Woke Asians Making Their Mark During AAPI Heritage Month I'm doing a lot of outdoor live shows and booking/managing at The Comedy Chateau. I hope to visit New York/East Coast for comedy and perform stand-up in Hong Kong and China as well.

My romantic comedy series Sweet and Sour Chicks about a single mom stand-up comedian and her girlfriends is going through the film festival circuits. We are waiting to have a cast and crew premiere party in the summer.
Thank you again, Kiki! I look forward to checking out all your upcoming CRAZY WOKE ASIANS events.

For May 15th CRAZY WOKE ASIANS COMEDY CONTEST tickets; log onto www.eventbrite.com/e/crazy-woke-asians-comedy-contest-may-15th-live-santa-monica-playhouse-tickets-152031523379

For tickets for CRAZY WOKE ASIANS COMEDY FESTIVAL May 29th and 30th; log onto www.santamonicaplayhouse.com/cwacomedyfestival.html

For more info on future events; log onto www.crazywokeasians.com


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