‘Crazy Woke Asians’ performs at Cobb’s Comedy Club in SF


Last Thursday night, “Crazy Woke Asians” took the stage in San Francisco for the first time ever, performing at Cobb’s Comedy Club in North Beach. But, what’s a crazy woke Asian?

In the words of Thursday’s host, Tony Shriller, that title goes to comedians “who are crazy enough and woke enough to be doing stuff like this that our parents don’t know about — yet.” And after a night full of jokes about San Francisco’s housing prices, homelessness issues and, of course, Asian stereotypes, the truth behind the title became glaringly clear.

After the show, performers posed for photos and chatted with audience members.

After the show, performers posed for photos and chatted with audience members.

Zach Zafran/SFGATE

Founded and headlined by Kiki Yeung, “Crazy Woke Asians” has been providing Asian comics a platform around the country for four years now. Showcasing a shuffled slate of both local and bigger-named Asian American comedians in each show, “Crazy Woke Asians” hit San Francisco after stops in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego earlier this year.

Being the show’s first time in San Francisco, performers had a lot to say about the city.

One such person was San Francisco-based comedian Dan Guan, whose recent move to the area inspired him to talk about the palpable tech presence and rent prices.

“I recently just moved to San Francisco, had to actually get out of a bad roommate situation. Anyone live here with roommates?” Guan asked the crowd. A paltry cheer came from one side of the club. “Alright this half of the room, yes. The other half of the room are all like tech CEOs that can afford living here.”

Living expenses and tech were a common theme, even for comics new to the city. Shriller joked about his newfound love for San Francisco, a “city where too many people wear Patagonia vests and I can’t tell if somebody’s a millionaire or homeless guy.”

Another performer from San Francisco alluded to the city’s expensive rent and subsequent homeless issue — in a light manner, of course.

“I am a multiracial comic living in SF, which means I am half-Asian and half-broke,” said Robert Hudson, who performed third in the lineup. “It’s expensive to live here. Especially for how much s—t is on the ground. … Do any of you guys walk around San Francisco and you see a pile of s—t and you’re like, ‘God damn, that looks a lot better than mine.’”

For Danny Plom, a comedian living in LA, his visit to the bay brought a surprise.

“This is pretty diverse,” Plom said. “Everyone was like, ‘Asian-town!’ Bro, we got like a college pamphlet in here.”

Thursday's show filled Cobb's Comedy Club with an audience resembling a

Thursday’s show filled Cobb’s Comedy Club with an audience resembling a “college pamphlet.”

Zach Zafran/SFGATE

Even for a show devoted to Asian comics, “Crazy Woke Asians” filled Cobb’s Comedy Club with people of completely different demographics — a testament to San Francisco’s diverse population and the fact that comedy is not exclusive to a certain group. While the target audience of Asian Americans, myself included, was certainly in attendance and the performers understood that, they made sure not to exclusively cater to that.

Jokes alluding to Asian culture’s parental pressure and physical stereotypes were not absent from the show, but every comic made a statement with their set, showing that their comedy is not confined to their cultural background. Comedians performed sets covering all sorts of topics, making jokes that were exclusive to none but entertaining for all.

“Crazy Woke Asians” is meant to provide Asian comics a platform to be seen, helping build representation in the comedy space, a place that tends to lack diversity on its biggest stages. Rather than depending on cultural stereotypes and experiences for content, last Thursday’s show sought to prove that Asian comedians are just as capable and entertaining as the rest of the comedy world — and it was successful in doing just that.

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