Comedienne Esther Ku Reponds to Asian Critics

An e-mail from an Asian Zatch
by Esther Ku (notes) Today at 06:37
from Zatch Pouchprom
to ku@funnyku.com
date Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 10:41 PM
subject You should be ashamed of yourself.

Ms Ku,
Let me start out by saying that I’m a American man of Asian descent in my 20’s. You and I are from the same generation so I’m sure that we grew up with the same media and the same cultural environment.

After seeing your act on Youtube and having had to tolerate the same garbagr from Bobby Lee on tv for the last 8 years, I feel it is important to write you this email.

You are continuing in the long tradition of Asian “step-n-fetch its” acts that started with Charlie Chan and then went from Charlie Chan to Hop Sing to Long Duk Dong to Wiliam Hung to Bobby Lee and now you.

I grew up in the South, from elementary school up into high school I was the only Asian face in the class. Everyday it was me having to punch another kid for slanting their eyes at me or doing the “Ching Chong Ching Chong” thing (I know you know what I’m talking about) then in high school it progressed to cracks about eating dogs and having a small dick.

I’ve been 6’1 220lbs since I was a freshmen, so I was able to kick the crap out of most of the asshats, most other Asians are small and I’m sure didn’t have the recourse of kicking their bullies’ asses and just had to live with it.

But you know as well as I do that this has happened to every Asian kid who has ever gone to school in this country.

Why?

Because of the type of stereotypical trash that Hollywood has shoved in our face about Asians (Especially Asian men) for the last 100 years.

But thats not the worst part the worst part is that they are helped in creating this image because people like you and Bobby Lee are willing to sell out not only your racial heritage but you’re own brothers and fathers by embarassing yourselfs and re-enforcing these stereotypes with your pathetic attempts to get a few laughs from a predominately non-Asian audience.

Are you that desperate for fame? You do realize they are not laughing with you they are laughing at you.

You know what Ms. Ku one day you may have a son, and he will have to go to school and endure this type of racism because people like his mother helped create it.

You know how bad it is in hollywood for Asian Males? Jet Li once starred in a movie with a beautiful black pop Singer (Romeo must Die) who is suppose to be his “love interest”, In the movie Jet goes through hell to rescue his “love interest” going so far as to have skin ripped from his hands in a fight scene. And in the end, you know what our hero gets? A freaking half-Hug!! Its so anathema for Hollywood to portray an Asian male as anything but a Sexless, weakling, computer nerd or screaming kung fu fool that even in his OWN MOVIE the Asian hero doesn’t get a Kiss or anything.

People like James Shigeta, Bruce Lee, John Loan and Daniel Henney worked hard to force Hollywood to treat Asian Males with respect and as MEN.

People like you and Bobby Lee are doing everything you can to set the clock back even further on Asians.

You are a Disgrace.

You think that by throwing off on Asian Males that you are ingratiating yourself with non-Asian audiences but really your are just perpetuating stereotypes for yourself such as the iconic “Me Suckee suckee” or theever popular “Happy ending” bullshit.

Hollywood tells us:

Asian Men are Unattractive and “Sexless” (Even Asian Women are not attracted to them)
Asian Men have no physicality (other than kung fuing)
Asian Men are scared of all non-Asian men
Asian Men are meek and cowardly
Asian Men are silly excitable fools
Asian Men can be mocked with impunity.

Stop it Ms Ku

I know its hard to make it in show biz, but not at the expense of you degrading yourself and your heritage.

And don’t give me this crap about you trying to subtley poking fun at stereotypes, you are doing nothing of the sort. You are reenforcing them.

I know your going to say

“But Chris Rock makes jokes a about black people and Carlos Mecia makes jokes about Mexican people.” This is true, but the difference is there is always an element of pride in their humor, you can tell Chris Rock is proud to be a black man and Carlos is proud of his Hispanic Heritage. There is no pride in what you say about Asians, and the undertone of self-hate is loud and clear.

I hate to tell you but you will never be white, no matter how many white guys you date or how many times you degrade other asians.

Help empower your people not emasculate them. Asian Males have so few role models in the media to be proud of. They don’t need sell-outs like you and Bobby Lee coming along and piling on with the ridicule.

One day your Son may want to get into show biz, but because of the stuff you are doing the only roles he’ll be able to get are the William Hung type crap that Hollywood is still pushing. Is that really what you want? Because like it or not your son is going to look like the Asian guys you degrade in your act and not like those stud blond haired blue-eyed white guys you love to date.

I would suggest to you watching a documentary on Youtube called “The Slanted Screen” and how you are being part of the problem and not part of the solution.

I hope you read this Ms. Ku and I hope you think about how many people you are hurting with your “Comedy”.

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my response … but feel free to email your own response to Mr. Pouchprom.
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Hi Zach. What kind of Asian is Pouchprom? hahahahahahahahah. Is this a real email or are you pranking me? I can’t tell.

We may be from the same generation however, I come from a family that knows how to laugh. Laugh at people like you. Guys who feel it is important to write me this email that place me in the same category as Bobby Lee. Thanks! I’ve been trying to let him open for him at Caroline’s for years. Would you mind if I used your email as a letter of reference?

Stop trying to blame me for having grown up in the south! Your parents were the retarded ones who moved to the south. Mine went straight to Chicago with several other families so that their children could form a gang and stick with each other from kindergarten. I don’t know what you’re talking about. In our school, the Asians were the ones doing the punching. Every time my brother punched a hole in the wall, we covered it up with a painting that translated to “harmony” or “love”. Everybody was scared of the Asians in my school. You didn’t mess with the Yang’s, the Yoon’s, and definitely not the Ku’s. What I feel you maybe doing is projecting your regrets of not being able to stand up to your bullies onto me. And I refuse to stand for it.

So you’re complaining that Hollywood has been oppressing Asian men for a mere 100 years? Compared to the thousands of years that Asian women have been oppressed by their male counterparts? Then sign me up Hollywood! It’s reparations time! You guys have bound our feet, demanded hot food, clean clothes, polished nails, cute babies and happy endings for centuries. Get the fuck out of here. You’re lucky we’re not doing more damage. Oooh did we hurt your feelings? Wait. Let’s work this out the old fashioned way. Why don’t you give me your mom’s phone number and I’ll have my mom call your mom and yell at her for raising a six foot two hundred pound slanted pussy.

Is it also my fault that the audiences are predominately non-Asian? Man that’s a good point. We should market to more Asians. Can you help out? There’s a position for barker open at Stand-Up NY. I can totally get you a job so we can get that quota for Asians to match the current demographics of the US population.

Am I that desperate for fame? You think I’m famous? Yay! If you come to a show, I promise to take a picture with you afterward. Then you can tell people you met me and they will be impressed for moment if I am indeed as famous as you say I am.

So when I have my son, are you saying I should be a PTA mom? Because don’t worry I would never join the PTA. When I have kids, I will be at home with my snugly bong and be wondering if little Jimmy from Occidental College ever graduated with a degree in Bio after I helped him with his anatomy assignment.

You keep referencing me and Bobby Lee in the same sentence. Do you think we should go on tour together? Cuz that’d be so much fun! Who do you think should drive? Me or Bobby?

Hollywood tells us that Asian men are silly excitable fools? I don’t think anybody thinks that. Ever. hahahahah. Which is why Bobby Lee has a career. Don’t you get it man? He’s fighting the stereotype that you help perpetuate: the awfully boring, dorky nerd who takes himself way too seriously and whose parents thought it’d be a good idea to move in with a bunch of hillbillies.

You stop it Mr. Pouchprom. Seriously are you even Asian or are you half or something? Is your dad a pervert who only gets off on Asian porn? ew.

It is hard to make it in show biz and that’s why I want to thank you for writing this letter because I think you’ve helped me seal the deal to become the next Kim of Comedy.

Sincerely,
Esther Ku

The Mind of a Racist/Misogynist

My Friend wrote the following on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=14739&post=136976&uid=2214375888#post136976

Chairman (<– my addition) XXX replied to XXX post:

“[Therefore we are asking whites and blacks and hispanics to introduce Asian-American literature into class. Naturally the bestseller will be chosen. I’d like to know, because I don’t, what other Asian-American authors are there that would make a better substitute?]

Eugene, there are actually tons of quality AA authors out there. The ones who make the mainstream are the ones who pander the most to White audiences, since the AA consumer base isn’t large or ethnocentric enough to create its own small market.

This is the same reason why despite the fact there are actually several talented AA comedians out there, the only ones who make it to mainstream TV or film are people like Esther Ku.”

Dude needs to get laid. And yes, I’ve already told him that before but his only defense is to call me a naive, ignorant, whitewashed, sellout, Asian Uncle Tom.

Usually all in the same sentence.

What I like is that he’ll always claim there are tons of quality AA authors, actors, actresses, etc. yet when you ask him to name them, he’ll name like one or two that already ARE established “names”.

And, of course, any Asian female who’s made a name for themselves is automatically a sellout. Any Asian who isn’t IN YOUR FACE THAT HE’S ASIAN is a sellout.

Frankly, I suspect that the biggest self-haters are people like Chairman Lin, because nobody can ever reach their standards of “Asianness”. Another interesting thing is that guys like him (and yes, people like him tend to be 99% male) will bitch and moan about how racist Western media is yet when you bring up instances–with proof–of racist Eastern media, it’s immediately dismissed as–you guessed it–Western bias. Oh, and then you’ll get called a whitewashed sellout too.

Can’t forget about that one.

Now, I don’t know.. I volunteer my time to help out with various AA/APA groups here in NYC. You ask these folks what they do in their free time away from their keyboards to help out with their local AA/APA groups and they never reply.

But damn, if you mention interracial relationships on the internet it’s like you just smacked a beehive with a stick. Now I’ve never dated anyone that wasn’t Asian.. and I grew up in a Jewish town, being one of only maybe 5 or 6 Asians until my junior year of high school. These days, I hear the schools in my town are something close to about 25-30% Asian, with my high school touching the 40% mark. So nobody–especially some chump online–can EVER tell me I don’t know what it feels like to get hated on because of the color of my skin.. and by JEWS no less! Oh, the irony.

But what do I know? I guess easier to be an Armchair Activist than it is to actually go out and support local AA/APA groups, go see something produced by a AA repertory theatre, volunteer to tutor kids from low-income immigrant familes, etc. etc. etc.

Yeah. Bitching on the internet. Real activism there.

A story about racial discrimination in Quebec

I remember going to a “Quebecois” school in Quebec where I first learned about racial discrimination when I was younger. The difference between a “Canadian” school and a Quebecois school in Quebec is the Quebecois school generally had separatist influences, they are relatively less diverse than the Canadian schools, there is no trace of anything distinctly Canadian, and there is no assistance to students who do not speak French as a native language.

Canadian schools, on the other hand, had a diverse student body, had some programmes for non-French speaking students, and put down racism in their school by promoting multiculturalism. My early experiences were both at a Canadian (St. Lawrence School) and Quebecois school (Ecole Samuel-De Champlain) where I spent 2 years in each school when I was young.

The first instance of racism I experienced at a Quebec school called Ecole Samuel-De Champlain, was when I was entering the school in the morning. While I was walking to class, some French kid kept making “Ching-Chang-Chong” noises while looking at me while a few kids called me a “Chin-tok (Chink in French)”. The kids that were around me simply ignored it as if it was normal while a handful laughed. At another instance, some French kids beat me up, trashed the things in my bookbag, and told me to “Go back to China” in French because they felt immigrants were taking his parents’ jobs or diluting the Quebecois spirit.

Then there was that second grade teacher named Sylvie L, who still teaches in the school as a grade 1 teacher. At that time she was in her late thirties, and I learned later that her husband was unemployed. I knew when I was younger I was a bit of a troublemaker, but I always thought it was strange how she would only give stern warnings to the White kids in the class while throwing me out of her class for the entire day when I did something wrong. This was strange because I did similar things to the other kids, but I got a harsher punishment and she never called me back to class once she threw me out.

I think these things were related to immigration and that’s why I get disgusted when people opposed to immigration rabidly deny that the issue has a racist element to it. I can definitely say, it has a racist element since I had the luxury of experiencing it first-hand in Quebec, Canada.

I really don’t like talking about this part of my life but it is a crude reminder of who I am. It’s also a reason why I unlearned the French language, abandoned my Catholic faith, and one of the reasons why it took several years to come to terms with myself.

My experiences in America are much better than Quebec. Although there is more ignorance than rampant racism here compared to Quebec, I want to do what I can to eliminate negative racial stereotypes and explore what it means to be Asian-American.