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These Asian faces are the next big thing in comedy: Vir Das, Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster

These Asian faces are the next big thing in comedy: Vir Das, Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster

Life's a joke

Text: Aravin Sandran


Image: Netflix

Background: Vir Das might be one of the best-known comedians in India, but it was only after he became the first Indian to get a Netflix special ("Abroad Understanding" dropped in 2017) that he caught the attention of Hollywood's mainstream press and producers. Das tackled nationalism, globalism, good food and bad politics in two cleverly spliced performances in New York City and New Delhi. Raised in Africa and schooled in the United States, Das released a second Netflix special "Losing It" in December 2018 that showed off more of his cross-cultural humour.

Best punchline: "There are things that you may not understand about me, like my accent. There are things that I don't understand about you, like your women. I don't understand American women. I don't understand how you can resist this (pointing at himself). Have you tried Indian, ladies? Oh, you must! Once you go brown, the other colours let you down."

Background: Bowen Yang might not be in front of the camera at all times, but he's definitely everywhere: he's on Las Culturistas, a podcast that takes a deep dive into pop culture; he produces drag and fringe live comedy shows such as Live on Broadgay and Lako Homo in New York City; he guest-stars on Broad CityHigh Maintenance and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; and he writes for Saturday Night Live. But lately, it has been his short lip-sync videos, where he covers iconic moments in pop culture, that have sent giggles around the Twittersphere. Somebody give this man a show.

Best punchline: Bowen Yang has covered Cardi B, Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Tyra's tirade on America's Next Top Model and Erin Brockovich among other sassy drama queens.

when u Cardi B. pic.twitter.com/ugExpgJHDZ

Background: Born in South Korea and adopted by evangelical Chicagoan parents, Joel Kim Booster subverts the undesirable Asian male prejudice with his Midwestern accent, brazen homosexuality and self-absorbed masculinity. Yes, he's gay and pretty fit, and he knows it. A musical theatre graduate, he co-hosts Comedy Central's Unsend and is a popular figure in New York City's open-mic scene. In 2017, he released Model Minority, a comedy album that explored everything from his unorthodox upbringing to the gay porn industry.

Best punchline: "The only reason I do go home is that my older sister still lives there and she started having babies. I love being an uncle. I love spending time with them and soaking up all the Instagram engagement I can while they're young."

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