“I don’t know if you want your kids listening to me,” “Crazy Rich Asians” actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang said during his Saturday night performance at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. The sold-out crowd, which was filled with students and their families for UConn’s Family Weekend, was amused by Yang’s thoughts on Hollywood, dating during college and why “everyone needs more loser friends.”
Bronx comedian Petey DeAbreu opened before the headline show by Yang. He hyped the crowd up with conversations about why the pigeon should be the state bird of New York and how he thinks it’s weird that humans are the only mammal that wears glasses.
This was the comic’s first performance in 18 months since the start of the pandemic. Constantly reading from a composition notebook he brought with him – a running gag – Yang certainly showed how long it had been since the last time he was on stage.
Being his first time performing at UConn, Yang was unclear how far the university is from major cities.
“30 minutes in [driving to my hotel] I thought I was getting murdered…this is a vast piece of land sir!” Yang exclaimed. He did seem to do his research, though, as he talked about the university’s big basketball culture and how our mascot’s breed represents UConn well.
Students of Asian descent turned out in large numbers for the Hong Kong-born comic. Acknowledging that fact, Yang indulged in talking about his culture and family.
“Asian parents created fear-mongering,” he started. Recalling moments from his adolescence, Yang mentioned how his mother would continually pressure him into doing things to avoid sickness.
Yang talked about how his father, Richard Ouyang, who became an actor after Yang started his career – because if Jimmy could do it, anyone could – has weird beauty standards. Yang explained how he was scared to bring his girlfriend home, as his father would criticize her over irrelevant features, like the length of her limbs and face.
Yang also mentioned the history of Hong Kong. Being an autonomous state of its own, its relationship with China has become more and more strained throughout the years.
Being in notable media like “Silicon Valley” and “Patriots Day,” the comedian had stories to tell about his experiences with celebrities, specifically the time when he thought he was getting “big timed.” Ending up as a mix-up of faces, Yang ended the punchline with “White people look all the same, too.”
Race and ethnicity were a big theme for most of Yang’s jokes. Quipping mostly about his own, he mentioned how he felt pressured to represent his entire community and to make everyone see how cool Asians are. But, jokingly, when talking about COVID-19, Yang said: “Everyone should be a little more Asian,” when referring to how elders in his community would wear gloves and masks predating the pandemic.
If you missed the hour-long event, Yang also has a stand-up performance on Amazon Prime.