ASIAN COMEDY FEST IS BACK IN NYC

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Asian Comedy Fest is returning to New York City. Asian Comedy Fest is the largest national comedy festival dedicated to elevating diverse voices within the AAPI community. The inaugural ACF featured a wide array of comedic acts including superstar and AAPI icon Ronny Chieng. ACF is now returning for its third annual edition on May 6th and 7th, 2022 in New York City. This year part of their proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization, Hearts of Dinner, which supports New York City’s elderly Asian community by proving meals and working to fight food insecurity, a large problem as a recent report shows that one in four Asian adults in New York City were living in poverty in 2020.

For more information on the Asian Comedy Fest, click here.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING.

AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, THE ASIAN COMEDY FEST, THE NATION'S LARGEST ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER COMEDY FESTIVAL WILL BE RETURNING TO NEW YORK CITY.

THE FESTIVAL WILL FEATURE TWO NIGHTS OF STANDUP COMEDY, IMPROVE, AND MORE, AND WILL ALSO SERVE AS A FUNDRAISER TO HELP NEW YORK'S ELDERLY ASIAN POPULATION FIGHT FOOD INSECURITY.

HERE'S A QUICK PREVIEW OF WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FEATURING ONE OF THE FESTIVAL'S PERFORMERS, DYLAN AD ADDLER.

AND I SAW THIS RUMOR THAT LIN, THE WRITER OF 'HAMILTON', MIGHT DO A CHRISTMAS DUET WITH MICHAEL BUBLE.

WHICH IS, YEAH, IT'S KIND OF COOL, BUT A WEIRD COMBINATION OF PEOPLE.

I WAS TRYING TO IMAGINE, WHAT WOULD THAT DUET SOUND LIKE.

MICHAEL BUBLE WOULD GO LIKE THIS.

♪ WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TIME, WE'RE HAPPY TONIGHT ♪ ♪ WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND ♪ IN THE MEADOW WE CAN BUILD A SNOWMAN ♪ ♪ HE'LL ASK US IF WE'RE MARRIED KWMS NO ♪ ♪ ARE YOU READY FOR THE REVOLUTION?

> AND JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING ASIAN COMEDY FEST IS THE FESTIVAL'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AND THE COMEDIAN YOU JUST SAW IN THE CLIP.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' TO BOTH OF YOU.

HI, THANK YOU FOR HAVING US, JENNA.

ABSOLUTELY.

YOU FOUNDED THE ASIAN COMEDY FEST A FEW YEARS AGO.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DO THAT?

WE HAD BOTH BEEN WORKING IN MEDIA AND TELEVISION, IN VARYING CAPACITIES, AND WHILE WE WERE WORKING ON THE COMEDY SCENE THERE WAS A LOT OF SORT OF WANTING THIS TYPE OF SHOW, WANTING ARK API CENTRIC SHOWS, SO WE WERE ALREADY DOING OUR OWN THING WITH VARIETY SHOWS, SMALL THINGS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, WITHIN COMEDY IN GENERAL.

AND THEN A COUPLE OF OTHER PRODUCERS AND THEATER, THEY SORT OF REACHED OUT AND WANTED TO SAY, WHY DON'T WE MAKE THIS MORE LIKE A FESTIVAL.

LET'S BRING THINGS WE ALREADY KNOW ARE HAPPENING.

AND KATE AND I AND ANOTHER PERFORMER AND PRODUCER AT THE TIME WERE POSITIONED IN A WAY THAT WE WERE ALREADY SORT OF MAKING OURSELVES KNOWN WITHIN THE COMMUNITY FOR DOING THAT, AND WE WERE BEING BROUGHT TOGETHER IN THAT SENSE TO BE LIKE, LET'S MAKE THIS A LITTLE BIT BIGGER.

LET'S TRY TO PUT OUR CONCERTED EFFORT INTO ONE THING, INTO ONE FESTIVAL, AND THAT'S KIND OF HOW IT CAME ABOUT.

SO, DYLAN, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WORKING AS A STANDUP COMIC, I THINK AT THIS POINT IT'S VERY WELL UNDERSTOOD THAT IS A DIFFICULT JOB.

BUT IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIAL OR UNIQUE OF BEING PART OF A FESTIVAL THAT CELEBRATES YOUR HERITAGE, WHO YOU ARE.

THERE IS SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY.

IT'S ACTUALLY LIKE -- I'VE DONE THE FESTIVAL TWO TIMES IN A ROW, AND IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE TIMES OF THE YEAR, BECAUSE I GET TO SEE AND TALK WITH SOME INCREDIBLE ASIAN COMICS, SOME OF WHOM I KNOW, SOME OF WHOM I KNOW OF, AND SOME OF WHOM I JUST MEET THERE.

AND IT FEELS REALLY, REALLY -- IT'S -- THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENED, I WAS JUST ECSTATIC, AND I JUST GOT TO MEET ALL OF THESE INCREDIBLE ASIAN COMICS WHO I WAS FAN OF AND WHO I KNEW OF, AND IT JUST BROUGHT TOGETHER SUCH A WONDERFUL SENSE OF COMMUNITY, AND THERE WAS KIND OF AN UNSPOKEN KIND OF SENSE OF BOND THAT I FEEL LIKE THE AUDIENCE MEMBERS, WHO ARE A LOT OF ASIAN AUDIENCE MEMBERS, AND THE PERFORMERS, WERE JUST THERE -- BECAUSE USUALLY A LOT OF THE TIME YOU CAN BE THE ONLY POC OR ASIAN PERSON ON A LINEUP AND YOU HAVE TO KIND OF EXPLAIN AND, YOU KNOW, CERTAIN THINGS AREN'T QUITE AS UNDERSTOOD.

BUT IT WAS JUST SO LOVELY THE TWO YEARS I'VE DONE IT, AND I REALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS YEAR.

YOU KNOW, WE'VE DONE A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF VISIBILITY, AND NOT ONLY JUST VISIBILITY, BUT COMMUNITIES BEING ABLE TO HAVE A SPACE WHERE YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT EXTRA TRANSLATING.

SO HOW MUCH DOES THAT FACTOR IN, AS DYLAN JUST SAID, THAT OFTEN AS AN ASIAN STANDUP COMEDIAN, YOU CAN BE THE ONLY ONE ON A LINEUP.

WHY IS IT SO UNIQUE TO HAVE THIS SPACE WHERE THERE'S OTHER PEOPLE THERE THAT YOU NORMALLY WOULDN'T SEE?

I THINK DYLAN MADE THE POINT PERFECTLY ABOUT, YEAH -- AND THIS HAPPENS FOR ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR AT SHOWS SOMETIMES.

COMEDY IS ANTIQUATE IN THE SOME WAYS, AND PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT IT AND SAY, WELSH WE CAN'T HAVE MORE THAN ONE AAPI, ONE BLACK AMERICANS, MORE 'X,' BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE PERCEIVED AS WE'RE DOING SOME SORT OF DIVERSITY SHOW.

GOD FORBID THAT WOULD BE THE CASE BECAUSE, WHATEVER.

SO I THINK IN THOSE CASES WE'RE ALMOST TRYING TO CREATE -- IT'S ALMOST LIKE AN INCUBATION THING.

PEOPLE COME IN AND HAVE THIS SPACE AND OPPORTUNITY TO NOT ONLY, LIKE DYLAN WAS SAYING CONNECT WITH OTHER COMICS AND TALK ON THINGS WITHOUT GIVING AS MUCH CONTEXT, BUT THE OTHER THING THAT HAPPENS, WHICH I THINK IS INTERESTING, IS PEOPLE ARE HEARING, YOU KNOW, THESE TYPES OF JOKES OR SHARED EXPERIENCES THAT ACTUALLY END UP BEING VERY SIMILAR.

SO IN THAT WAY IT STRENGTHENS THEIR OWN MATERIAL.

THEY'RE LIKE, OH, I HAVE BEEN TELLING THIS JOKE THIS OTHER COMIC IS DOING SIMILARLY.

I HAD NO IDEA.

AND IN THIS WAY, IT ALSO HELPS THEM UNDERSTAND, THIS IS KIND OF LIKE THE COMMUNITY AND WHAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

AND IT ALSO STRENGTHENS MATERIAL THEY ALREADY HAVE OR FIND A NEW TAKE ON IT.

IT'S BOTH WAYS.

IT'S NOT ONLY THAURT YOU'RE GETTING TO BE IN A SHARED SPACE, BUT FINDING, OH, I COULD HAVE A NEW TAKE WHILE BEING MYSELF, BUT DOING CONTENT THIS WAY.

OF COURSE.

DYLAN, NOT ONLY DOES THIS GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT AND SEE THE ACTS OF OTHER STANDUP, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THIS WOULDBY THE PLACE TO APPRECIATE THE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE ASIAN COMMUNITY.

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH NOT FITTING INTO WHATEVER STEREOTYPE YOU MAY HAVE FELT THAT YOU WERE PUT INTO AS A COMIC?

YEAH.

I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, GENERAL, THE COMEDY SPACES THAT I HAVE, YOU KNOW, EXISTED IN AND PERFORMED FOR AND STILL PERFORM A LOT FOR ARE VERY, WHITE PREDOMINANT SPACES.

AND THERE'S SORT OF -- I THINK THERE ARE -- SO, I SOMETIMES WOULD, LIKE, WHENEVER I TALKED ABOUT ASIAN CULTURE OR EVEN LIKE IF I'M IN A PREDOMINANTLY NOT QUEER SPACE AND I TALK ABOUT QUEER CULL C QUEER CULTURE, THERE WAS A DISCONNECT.

I WOULD NOT SAY THE JOKES.

I WOULD THROW THEM AWAY.

I WAS LIKE, THERE'S A DISCONNECT BETWEEN ME AND THE AUDIENCE.

BUT THERE'S SHOWS LIKE ASIAN COMEDY FESTIVAL AND OTHER SHOWS WHERE I CAN REALLY DO THOSE JOKES, AND THEY'RE REALLY, REALLY UNDERSTOOD, AND IT FEELS REALLY GOOD.

I REMEMBER EVEN LAST YEAR WHEN -- WHEN I DID IT FOR THE FIRST TIME, I WAS LIKE, IS THIS HOW WHITE PEOPLE FEEL ALL THE TIME?

THIS IS DOPE!

I LOVE THIS!

IT'S GREAT.

BUT, YEAH, I THINK THAT WAS KIND OF MY EXPERIENCE.

THERE WERE CERTAIN, LIKE, TOUCHSTONES THAT I WANTED TO EXPRESS OR TALK ABOUT THAT CERTAIN AUDIENCES ONLY GOT.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT ONE OF THOSE TOUCHSTONES MIGHT BE?

YES, SIO I GUESS -- ONE EXAMPLE, THERE'S A JOKE ABOUT MY -- OH, LET ME THINK.

I SOMETIMES HAVE A SONG ABOUT BEING A GAY ASIAN PERSON IN THE QUEER COMMUNITY AND SOME OF THE RACIST THINGS I'VE EXPERIENCED ON DATING APPS LIKE GRINDR.

A LOT OF TIME WHEN I PERFORMED IT IN FRONT OF ASIAN AUDIENCES, I FELT LIKE, OH, MY GOSH, THEY'RE GETTING IT.

THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT.

BUT WHEN I DID IT FOR WHITE AUDIENCES THERE WAS JUST A DISCONNECT.

LIKE, THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT OR, OH, THIS IS -- THEY WERE JUST, LIKE, TOO AFRAID TO, LIKE, RESPOND.

AND THEN I ENDED UP, LIKE, NOT REALLY PERFORMING THAT SONG AS MUCH.

BUT AT THE ASIAN -- SO I GUESS THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING WHERE I WOULD --

NO, I THINK THAT'S A VERY CLEAR EXAMPLE.

AND I'M WONDERING, AGAIN, FOR A FESTIVAL LIKE THIS, IS THAT THAT PURPOSE TO NOT ONLY BE ABLE TO WORKSHOP A JOKE LIKE THAT WITH OTHER COMICS IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE, AND THEN SECONDLY, I GUESS WHAT KIND OF AN AUDIENCE?

LIKE, IS THIS A KIND OF AUDIENCE WHERE IT'S GOING TO BE LARGELY ASIAN AND OTHER PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY WELCOME?

BUT WE'RE PLAYING TO OUR HOME GROUP, IF YOU WILL.

OR, I MEAN, IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

I MEAN, I THINK, YOU KNOW, MY -- OUR STANDPOINT HAS ALWAYS BEEN WE WANT TO PUT AAPI PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE AND SHOW THE FULL DIVERSITY, AND THAT CAN BE ANY -- WE'RE MINDFUL TO SAY PERFORMERS, IF YOU IDENTIFY AS PART OF THE AAPI COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THERE'S MULTICULTURAL GROUPS WITHIN ANY GROUP.

WE DON'T WANT TO DEFINE IT SO HARSHLY EVEN WITHIN THE TITLE OF A FESTIVAL THAT'S CALLED ASIAN COMEDY FESTIVAL.

BUT WE WANT PEOPLE TO CLEARLY UNDERSTAND AND SEE AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT OUR PERFORMERS ARE AND THE PEOPLE WE'RE CHOOSING AND PEOPLE WE'RE DECIDING TO PUT IN FRONT OF THEM.

WE DECIDE THEY'RE ALLIES ALREADY, PART OF THE ARK API COMMUNITY, OR WANTING TO SEE SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT THEY HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

SO, YES, WE WOULD NEVER SAY WE'RE TRYING TO CREATE A BUBBLE AND ONLY HAVE PERFORMERS -- AN AUDIENCE THAT CAN ONLY TALK TO EACH OTHER AND THEY'RE ALWAYS DOING THE SHARED EXPERIENCE THING.

THAT'S CERTAINLY NOT WHAT WE WANT, OTHERWISE IT'S NEVER GOING TO GET OUT THERE, IN A SENSE.

BUT WHAT WE REALLY ARE HOPING FOR IS ONE, WE ALREADY HAVE PEOPLE LIKE DYLAN.

HE'S ALREADY CRUSHING IT IN BIGGER LARGER SPACES.

HE'S ALREADY MAKING CONNECTIONS AND PEOPLE ARE ALREADY TALKING ABOUT HIM EVEN OUTSIDE THE AAPI SPACE, BUT WITHIN IT, AND WE WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT AND SEE IT.

AT THE SAME TIME WE WANT PEOPLE TO COME IN AND SAY, MAYBE THIS IS THEIR FIRST TIME SEEING COMEDY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, AND THEN THEY GET TO SEE ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT IN SOME CASES ARE JUST ON THE CUSP OF BLOWING UP.

MAYBE THEY'RE DOING COMEDY TWO YEARS IN AND THEY'RE FIGURE IT OUT.

OR SOMETIMES WE GET SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY BIG, AND THEY ARE A BIG NAME ALREADY.

LIKE, I GET TO SEE THE FULL BREADTH OF WHAT IT IS.

THAT'S THE GOAL OF ANY FESTIVAL, COMEDY SHOW WHATSOEVER.

AND OURS IS NO DIFFERENT IN THAT REGARD.

WE'VE UNFORTUNATELY RUN OUT OF TIME.

THE FUNDRAISER IS AN EXCELLENT CAUSE, RAISING MONEY FOR FOOD INSECURITY FOR ELDERLY ASIANS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME ON 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU FOR THE SPACE.

THAT GROUP IS CALLED HEART OF DINNER.

YOU CAN GET TICKETS.

THE SHOW IS HAPPENING ON MAY 6th AND 7th, THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, AND YOU CAN GO TO ASIAN COMEDY FEST.COM AND FIND ALL THE SHOWS AND TICKETS THERE.

THAT'S WHERE IT IS.

PERFECT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING US.

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