jimmy o yang

I am Jimmy O. Yang, I play Jian-Yang on HBO’s Silicon Valley, Tang-See on Always Sunny, the last comedian to be on The Arsenio Hall Show. Actor, standup comedian, @FunnyAsianDude. AMA!

Hi reddit, it’s Jimmy O. Yang. I am an actor/comedian. I currently play Jian-Yang on HBO’s Silicon Valley. I was also on the Always Sunny episode written by the Game of Thrones dudes. I recently popped in and had a little chat on /r/SiliconValleyHBO, you guys were awesome, so I’ve come back to do this full AMA! here’s another shameless plug to¬†follow me on Twitter I’ll send out a Silicon Valley shirt to my favorite question.

Proof: http://imgur.com/U4tiFE3

Yes, I just have one question. Where do you burn the garbage?

that shall remain a mystery, like the origin of the White Walkers

How soon til we see an “Adventures of Erlich and Jian Yang” spin-off?

That would be a dream. as I said in the other chat, I hope it’s called “Better Call Jian-Yang”

How was it working with the Sunny cast? I know that Charlie’s mandarin was mostly gibberish, but did you slip him any suggested dialogue along the way?

Charlie’s a brilliant actor. When he did his “gibberish” mandarin, I think it sounded convincing to non-mandarin speakers. He would kind of go off my tone and words I just said and flip them around. The cast was amazingly talented and super nice.

I love to hate your character on Silicon Valley. Is there anyone you love to hate (other than yourself)?

I still think of Sharon Stone in Casino. I hated her so much because she was so good at playing that character.

According to Wikipedia you worked for the Harlem Globetrotters, is that true? What was that like?

haha, yes! They do a tour in China every year. Since I am one of the only Chinese-American comedians, they had me look at their script to see if the humor would translate to the Chinese audience. The only advice I gave them was “Hello Kitty is Japanese, not Chinese.”

Just to be clear, you ate the fish?

Yes

What is the actual relationship like between Gilfoyle (Martin) and Dinesh (Kumail) outside of the show? Also what do you look foWhat do your parents think of your career choice as a comedian? Did you grow up in a stereotypical Asian family?d my ass, and Kumail was the ultimate champion.

Whats the weirdest place youve ever woken up? Also does anyone you know of currently hate you, if so why? And finally when was the last time you cried?

I have woken in a bathtub, almost drowning under the shower, apparently I like to take showers when I’m blacked out. I’m sure I got some haters out there. I cried a couple times during interstellar I think, can’t confirm.

What do your parents think of your career choice as a comedian? Did you grow up in a stereotypical Asian family?

yes my parents are quite Asian. They still call standup comedy “talk shows.” At first they were wary and hope that it was a phase I would snap out of. Now it’s definitely better, they both watch SV. I was part of a documentary on HBO called “East of Main Street” where I talk about all that stuff

Silicon Valley is pretty good at getting actual entrepreneurs to cameo – have you met any influential tech professionals through your role in the show? Are you friends with any startup founders?

i visited the Facebook campus last year and saw Mark Zuckerberg through a window. So I guess you can say we are buddies now

Do you expect a larger role in future seasons of the show? It seems like your role started to get bigger in season 2 and many fans (myself included) think you need more screen time.

thanks i certainly hope so! I’m starting to get recognized at a local bowling alley, so that feels nice

How did you get the role? Oh and do you have any advice for an aspiring actor?

pretty standard audition for the part. it started as a pretty small part and it got expanded later. Advice for actors…don’t have a backup plan. (disclaimer: if any of you take that advice to heart and become homeless, I am not responsible.)

Is there any chance you land a part on Broad City?

I don’t know but I am a fan of that show

Do they ever allow the actors to contribute to the writing? Or at least do they allow any flexibility/improvising?

there is definitely some improvising going on. Everyone is a great improviser/actor on the show. TJ cracks me up with what he comes up with all the time. There are so many great moments, I hope some of those takes make it on the DVD.

This is a question about Jian Yang. What prep did you do to get into character? Do you have a backstory, did you need to become more chinese, etc…

I do have a backstory, and I listen to Mandarin radio before I get into character. I try to think in Mandarin also, that helps with the accent and his mannerisms

With a name like “Jimmy O’Yang” has anyone ever mistaken you as Irish?

They could, until they see me. My real name last name is Ou Yang, a rare 2 character name in Chinese, the Ou is pronounce “Oh”. I went with Jimmy O. Yang to pay homage to Homer J. Simpson.

How’d you get started doing stand up? Did you just start going to an open mic night?

Yes, open mics, every night. My first few open mics were at the Haha comedy club in North Hollywood. I had to pay $5 for 5 minutes of stage time in front of 5 indifferent comics. I still perform there these days.

What is the funniest bit you’ve seen in a stand up act that still makes you laugh?

In George Lopez’s special “why you cryin” when he did the bit “there’s a pain in my shest and I can’t breaf”

Who are you often mistaken for when people approach you in the streets?

A lot of people don’t want to approach me with in fear of mistaking me for another Asian person. One time this dude thought I was Ken Jeong, and started congratulating me on my new show.

What was the last thing that made you laugh until it hurt/you cried or peed your pants?

“I’m Tyrone, And I’m here to fuck somebody’s wife, Long Dick Style”

Who is your favorite person to work with on Silicon Valley?

they are all so great, most of my scenes have been with TJ so far and he is just the best.

Favourite thing to do on your spare time?

I binge on pug pictures on instagram

Who is your greatest inspiration?

great question. As far as comedy, I am a huge fan of Dave Chappelle, his standup and the Chappelle show had great influence in me. Also George Lopez, he has been such a voice for his community.

What is the best thing a director can do for you on set?

I think a good director instills confidence in an actor. And has a clear idea of what the scene is trying to convey

Will Jian Yang assume a larger role in the following seasons? It seems the episode dedicated to his pitch was out of place and foreshadowing that.

I really don’t know what’s going to happen in season 3 yet, I hope there’s more of jian yang/erlich, I always love those shoot days. We always have a blast

You are hysterical on Silicon Valley thanks for making me chuckle.Why aren’t we married?

I am working on my commitment issues.

Are you sometimes afraid to get typecast as the “hot asian chick”?

Lucy Liu beat me out for Charlie’s Angels.

What’s the best hangover cure?

I’m big on gatorade, my buddy recently told me Alker-Seltzer works wonders

Do you do a thing, like skate or sew bookbags or somthing?

When I was in college, I did a little down hill long boarding. Before I got into comedy, I used to make beats, Hip Hop, I thought I was gangsta AF

When I was in college, I did a little down hill long boarding. Before I got into comedy, I used to make beats, Hip Hop, I thought I was gangsta AF

I don’t usually smoke cigs, but I was in Burbank, it’s illegal to smoke there, so I lit one up

If you could have your pick of upcoming movies and tv-series to star in, which would you choose?

I would love to work on some Apatow projects, big fan of his work. As far as TV shows, Game of Thrones if possible or Fresh off the Boat, I can relate to that show, being an immigrant.

How do you feel about being cast in a stereotypical Chinese role? I know a lot of actors tend not to go for roles that just poke fun at their race. Was it just too good of an opportunity to pass up (working with Mike Judge and on an HBO show) or do you not have a problem with it?

I don’t think this is a “stereotypical Chinese role”. Just because he has an accent, there are a lot of people in real life who have accents, and I try to portray it as real as possible. My job is to be funny as a comedian and comedic actor. I can relate to the character because I was an immigrant myself, just 10 years ago, I was a lost foreign kid like Jian Yang.

How is working with T.J. Miller? He seems quite strange while doing interviews, is he actually like that normally?

Tj is one of the most fun scene partners Ive had. Absolutely hilarious and great improviser. Cool dude too

If you could be cast for a small part on Game of Thrones, what’s your character’s backstory?

exact same story with Jian Yang, just substitute China with Westoros

If you improvise enough material that ends up on the shows, do they give you writer’s credit or more money?

dont think so, Robin WIlliams didnt get a writing credit for “good morning vietnam.”