Jimmy O. Yang is this week’s guest on the New Hollywood Podcast and if I may say, it was probably the most fascinating and hysterical episodes we had to date. All of the guests that have appeared on our glorious podcast have shared great, captivating stories of their Hollywood journey but I think its safe to say that not all of them have Yang’s pedigree of being an actor who has storied past as a stand-up comedian, used car salesman and a strip club DJ.
He is probably best known as the manipulative Jian Yang in the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, but he soon will bring that conniving charm of that character to the summer’s all-Asian romantic comedy extravaganza Crazy Rich Asians (out in theaters Aug. 15) as the absurdly inconsiderate bro-ish Bernard — or as Yang describes him: “an asshole.” Despite this specific pair of roles, Yang’s range isn’t limited to “manipulative techie” and “rich asshole”. He appeared in Patriots Day, the Peter Berg drama based on the events of the Boston Maraton bombing and showed that he had the acting chops to play Dun Meng, who was essentially the real-life hero that led authorities to the Tsarnaev brothers.
Yang moved Stateside from Hong Kong when he was a teen and shared his story about not only trying to assimilate into American culture but also attempting to fit in with Asian Americans. He chronicles this in his book How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents and shared his story on New Hollywood. In addition to his unique past of strip clubs, selling used cars and hip-hop, Yang talked to us about acting with an accent, the impact of Crazy Rich Asians on Hollywood, and gave a shout out to his up-and-coming co-stars from the Jon M. Chu-directed movie including Awkwafina and Ronny Chieng.
Listen to the episode below.
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