Immigrant Seeks to Disappoint His Parents in New Humorous Book24 Apr 2018
Though he’s barely 30, Jimmy O. Yang has already had enough adventure to fill a lifetime. After immigrating to the United States from Hong Kong at the age of 13, he became obsessed with rap music and briefly formed a hip-hop group with a few of his friends. In his early 20’s, while trying to build a career as a stand-up comedian, Yang worked as a DJ and was almost deported after a night of drinking in Tijuana, Mexico. Eventually, he became a successful actor and currently stars on the hit HBO series Silicon Valley. Now, Yang can add another entry to his diverse resume: author. His book How To American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents was released last month to glowing reviews. Part comedic memoir, part self-help guide, the book traces his experience as a Chinese immigrant coming of age in the U.S. and achieving success in Hollywood.
In an interview last month with Entertainment Weekly, Yang admitted that, at first, the idea of writing a book about his life wasn’t something he took seriously. “I’m 30 years old, what the [heck] am I doing writing a memoir?” But once Yang decided to weave his trademark irreverent humor throughout the book, he began to enjoy the creative process. “If you think about writing a book, or when I did, it seems daunting, but when I began writing, it just started flowing. I took some time off from stand up because I wanted to write something a little bit more meaningful and emotional.” While Yang details many humorous anecdotes from his life in the book, he also touches on his unique immigrant experience. While his mother spent most of her time in Hong Kong building a career, he was raised in Los Angeles by his father. And even though Yang is enjoying his success as an actor on an acclaimed TV show, he ruefully notes that his father wishes he had chosen a more academic path. “I guess scientist is more noble in the Asian culture.” [See Silicon Valley Star Jimmy O. Yang Wants to Teach You How To American, by Derek Lawrence, Entertainment Weekly, 9.Mar.2018.]
With a leading role in the upcoming film Crazy Rich Asians, an adaption of the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan detailing the upper echelon of Singapore society, Yang is excited about the prospect of more diverse storytelling finding a foothold in Hollywood. “I hope it does well at the box office, but with a big studio like Warner Bros. having gotten behind a movie with an all Asian cast, I think that’s an accomplishment in itself for us. Hopefully, not just Asian people will show up, because it’s a relevant story and every element of it is relatable. It’s not just for Asians, it’s for everyone.”
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