« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 1212 - Eddie Huang

2021-03-25 | 🔗

Eddie Huang has been fighting for things his whole life. Whether fighting for respect from a culture that is unwelcoming, or fighting for normalcy amidst a chaotic upbringing, or fighting for approval from his immigrant parents, all his achievements came with a cost. Now, with the first movie he wrote and directed under his belt, Eddie tells Marc why the film Boogie represents a collection of everything he’s had to fight for. They also talk about his struggles with having his memoir Fresh Off The Boat adapted for TV and why Lynn Shelton was integral to him becoming a director. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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That's right now, looking to be a full Baxter. A few weeks. we'll get to be half Baxter. I know what gets me it's in. It seems like there's some discrepancy about two weeks, the first shot of the facts. I got the Madonna, the Madonna Madonna, the add the the juice I got the Medina juice got that hit. I heard it was. That fifty two percent protection after two weeks, then summits, not another guy got new angle on it might be up to eighty four percent. I don't know gadget take the middle once and walk round feeling I come about sixty eight percent protected, or what do I do I'll wait? doubt I think that what I'm gonna do too. after my second dose, is maybe go visit, my mommy in Florida, my mother, whose fully vaccinated point she keeps asking if she can come out here. Let me rephrase
She gives threatening to come out here now thought why they don't have room for her. I can fly. they're out even but to be, what's with you, I I don't know what to do with my mother after a day. Talked about this before I think if you have kids the eerie work. Here's a kid work here the baby, hold the baby yet take the baby them all a grandma. Take it. I got any that I got a couple: a cat and then you after an hour of conversation, I'm sort done and that's why at day, one and then, by day too, I'm starting to feel queasy like literally physically l, I don't think it anything! She does on purpose it's because on emotionally incapacitated because of her, I don't I'm not angry. I'm not saying this in judgment. I'm just saying that I can However, here for more than day without becoming physically ill.
I'm not me, I'm not, meaning. That is a negative thing or as a hurtful thing it just what happens? So what I'm gonna do then there's been a while thy sooner is I'll get fully vexed. and then I'll await the couple weeks now fly down. Their forbid her terrain in her environment, where she's distracted. She has a car where she can do where pilates class or whatever Walker dogs go to public's, go to cost go. Go eat at the place, our nose Florida fully open. What tapping, do even need do where I am. ask in Florida? Is it there is it is it is? Florida just in case covered wonderland land. I tat. But I know my mother's air- and I know of Before backed I be a nice thing to do. go visit, my mommy for a few days, get out get out, but keep it on her turf.
and then at least distractions. I can stay at a hotel. It's gonna work out, look I love my mother, but only for a day. That's not true, I do you understand what I'm saying work I've got this new kitten had some problems. But let me let me do it we do with Asia as they say, set up the chauffeur to date. Today I talk to anyone, he's a is writer or restaurant tour and now a director here Has his new movie out, it's called buggy it's now and It is easy owner the Restaurant Bow House, and fresh off. The boat is his memoirs, what the show was based on. and we talk a lot about anti asian discrimination and the pressures put on Asians in America. Now we spoke a couple weeks ago. This is before the shooting in Atlanta. In the end
this was before the shooting in the Atlanta area, which is why doesn't come up on we're talking about Anti AIDS, Discrimination and abuse this. Clearly. I would say worse and worsening and took a horrendous, violent, murderous turn, but that was not in the conversation. Does it had not happened? But the conversation is rooted in that bullets before we get to that. Let's talk that Sammy the cat. If we could unite this kitten, and I gotta be honest with you. I feel like I say that we're all lucky, I'm lucky everyone's lucky, I'm not a father. I just in I don't it's not my bag. I don't think about it. I don't regret not having kids, I don't judge people, they have kids, I've done. jokes, about people with kids, but they're. Not negative about kids per se, I'm just
I cut out for it. Speaking to my mother, as I did earlier, and about the nauseous and about the queasiness in about three just discomfort, I can see it in my parenting skills with this fuckin kitten. I don't think I've had a kitten. This young Sammy, the Red, is here there is between seven and eight weeks old and yesterday or the day before yesterday I woke up, and was like. I don't even know why ages wasn responding. He was Andrew JET, energetic he looked sad. Now. I've never had a kick in young. I don't realize your kid. My friend kid gave me the cat a few days ago I don't realize they got a sweep like fifteen to twenty hours of fuckin day. Really. I think I expect kitten. the jump up and down, and excited, invite my hand and- and and chase things in everyday. I think that I thought that's how they are all the time. I don't have any memory of my kittens it might do when I had monkey and the fond of involved in Boomer, thereon
by two three months old and they were out of the fuckin minds. They were Pharaoh cats. Just quickly's crazy, this one's a sweet little guy, never never on the wild, never had to eat, eat garbage. Never at a restaurant. Lizard actor weeks, old but it may be terribly Ester s where he was sick. He might add a fever so I spun out, you know, I went to the vet It turns out. He does have a fever, a for fever. You was limping. I was like what he's limping what's going on, and I guess I didn't realize I dont know if I'm emotionally prepared for this shit, in general, the amount of worry I invest in everything around me, I am a warrior. I do not end up in that's how I was brought up. I was brought up with extreme panic and worry in in? in the place of nurturing
emotional love with some boundaries, gestures, panic, yeah I'll call call us if you're gonna be late. Where are you what's going on? What are you doing Ok is everything. Ok just worry my mother's like that, and then I don't know my father. I Edinburgh, his mother was a warrior, but but I just thinking about things all the time. I think the words immediately. in the end, you know one honest with the worst is. The worst has happened to me again and I didn't participating, but I was worried while was happening and it happened in the room that I've got this kitten, and so they just triggers a bound man. So I took him to the vet Doktor dog Modesto Mclean over it, the gateway great guy,
brother in law works over fish king in the morning. The people. And there. You are brought this kitten and I told him what was up. I felt a little hot he's with sergeant. I ve heard his leg. I don't know what's happening is dying and I was about to fall. Can cry in the parking lot the vet when I chased him, just go down before as he was entering work before he had it Doc shirt on your frigate. About this kidneys, like I don't I don't know I mean he looks like a little guy. What's going on and like I did get died or one that I can't take. It. But any are used interesting cause. I had never really talked Modesto, oh destiny, standing there on panic that dead, the Sami Kitten, Sammy Red is gonna die and he starts about ways of that kind of crazy used grew up down the street from gateway. ass. They used to bring the family dog even go in there since the seventies.
In the seventies gateway. Was there with the doktor Feldman? I had no idea. I've been going on for twenty years to gateway and uneven Far the best doc. I've had over there and he that's why he became of that, because his mom these to bring the family Doggery add to what this dog that the family dinner They took care of them greatest white run, while the is weird details of my mom is to feed the dog. Spaghetti buddy he's even just sort of reminiscing and tracking that as to why him I'd be a vet because of that plays a childhood experience about. Meanwhile, unlike doubt, my kitten is my kid and I think it might die. Can you are my kitten is dying? Can you please, sir. If I didn't do that, I was in any case it was injured. I'm glad I we can act like I wish. I wasn't so freak The spun out about the kitten turns out. He s
seven hundred hours later we found it the work was in broken his blood work with great no leukemia came. If I ve he got he has no sign of viral infection. He was given some pain, reliever and some antibiotics. Just in case and and yeah, and and sent home with a word of new kitten package, new patient, and I freaked out until later that night kick came over. These jumping arise fine around here. I think he just likes kit. Bear me, and I now in that zone am worried about the cat more. He doesn't like me. A more is picking up on my mind, my intensity, I'm already picking up on my panic, I'm worried that like you know, I'm too much for the cat. And handle me all. My cats are fuckin freaked out
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to me- wisest sad man back in here trying to get me to eat food. At the very least this sad man should take a look at me and realise this is joy? This is what joy looks like sad man he's having. the exact experience that I had with my father. One thing I realised just the other day: it's weird the thing that stays young inside you is your things. It remain unfinished and we explain that enlargement. For now, the other day when talked- and these like you know when this is over, we argued accident. Would you have dinner, make it a weekly thing, the others, many things like I can do man, I gotta, get a bill that thing in the yard, I gotta get rid of those things I gotta I gotta make more time. For my Friends are gonna, call that guy. Why don't we Why am I not doing that thing upstairs white Way, how come? I have solar panels when I can work. at chess. What all these things? So Eternal the body ages.
Your inability to get the things you want to get done or see the people you want to see because you enjoy them, stays the same. So lucky and on some of those because you don't wanna, be nine, the NBA, how come when we never one on that. Ike. Remember we were going because I was aching. That was fifty years I know, but we were gonna go. We talked about it. Every week we talked about it. It's gone now. and I now do you want to walk now. Was nice to see you am. I my daughter, drop me off. But what are we gonna? Do I just sit array. We should a height member one? We should have hiked in Denmark, we sure what is Billy Crystal one man show anyway everyone is here was here by talk to him was in here
his direct toil debut. His film buggy, which he wrote and directed is now in theatres, will be available on the veto. At the end of the month, We did speak a couple weeks ago before the shooting in the Atlantic area, which is why it doesn't why we don't talk at one. We're talking about the asian discrimination and abuse. Also we talk about Lynn, Shelton Embed night. I don't know if it's clear in this conversation Lynne was the director of the pilot. Rush off the boat, which Eddie had had some issues with many of the people involved in that, but he had nothing but good things to say about linen. It was was nice to hear that nice talked him about it. and this is me and anyone
were you sick from your second shot? Is that what happened yet it's? The second shot really takes you out in its way. Because everyone tells me you're gonna be fine, miraculously at any of your in it you're. Just like out an hour ago, I may die every word that sick, like giving you couldn't breathe and shit or no. No. I could breathe well, I didn't. the energy to breathe It was like I shut you down here. I am. watch the I watch a movie awesome and I like the movie ago, it reminded me of though- it reminded me like it made me nostalgic, insert a homesick for New York, although I did, understand anything. Anyone was saying, and it was another my life the, but but a deadly. I remember watching those people I remember walking by seeing like those are. Those
urban kids having a good time yet another man. I love that. That's it that's! Actually the reaction like I really want, so I'm excited to talk to you about it. Every brought me back to New York, like I live there from my job, is. I was there from eighty nine to two thousand and we have worked to you now, yet I was there and then I was there earlier as well, but a movie that will gradually felt the at the New York and less of it. Yeah and the like the New York Knicks. We don't explain anything for anybody. You know that's right exactly, and there is a there's, a language to kids that year, especially that that goes back, you're gone back a little bit, but then even current language that I don't know what the fuck anyone saying then You know you have a way of writing in your own sort of flying, almost I give you your writing very expressive in specific So, as I too layers like what was that do we need,
job title here. I know they're speaking English, what the fuck is going on, Europe for my directors cut. At one point I had subtitled the the assistant Coach, the White Guy, with the hat on all the time we are coming out mouth and I was a man to be pretty funny to subtitle a white guy, that's mushroom cloud, yet they don Quixote. If that's the only thing that you were that you subtitle like, where did you write out most of the pandemic? Have you been in town the whole time? No, I was actually in Taiwan for about eleven and a half months ago I was in Taiwan and that I just got back like January fifteenth to too you know, do the movie promo your family don't. I want no, my family, all, went back to China because we're kind of we have that image. Patient pattern of the Chinese that lost a civil war, went to Taiwan and then We came to America Ryan, my pants, and brothers all went back to China, causes more opportunity there now so there in China,
and they all of my whole, I'm the only one left in America. It's crazy. What did they go back? They went back what comparisons by poor parents Bag January seventh right before everyone discovered like Corona virus, sir, they went back to my brother there have been back act there for two years now so they so did. Did anyone get the corona? No, luckily my whole family followed the rules. They stay really safe. No one got the road here, that's interesting man, so but that was never the plan. I mean your parents wanted to to be here, didn't they ultimately year, they wanted to be here, and it was really crazy because they lived with me. While I was imposed for the film at it just go. You crazy, like I came home the dogs and like pissed on my art, like my mom, have rearranged everything and my parents are really forties. They moved everything from Orlando, like they brought in.
Pirate brick of cheese. They brought empty bottles of wine that they drank that there were like they're, nice bottles, and they put all this shit in my house I got home one day, an older work out equipment that they couldn't bear. Throw away they put in my room. So then there was any mythical, unlike waits. Next to my better, my mom, you! U turn. My group into a cheatham allows at work, We have to have a talk, so then My parents will look, it seems like we're just two in your hair. Your brother's willing to help us get an apartment in China will China, but like can you hang onto our stops enough? They have a bunch of stuff here, but they want to China. But when did you like an easy now, I'm gonna get confused a movie with your life. You know, with your real life. She grew up in flower mostly. I grew up all over. I was until nine years old in D C and then
nine to about twenty two I was in Orlando and then from twenty two, all the way to thirty five. I was in New York. We, but you Were you born here? Yes, I was born in I like the DC area, northern like Fairfax County Fairfax Hospital for Europe. Parents are already here. Yes, my mom came as a seventeen year old and might I came, I believe, as a twenty five year old boy, they know each other. They met here. Not yet my dad met my mom at a house party. He heard some taiwanese girls, gonna house parties who showed up yeah a mob up at the House Party here. Are you the omens beyond all this review? yeah, pretty pretty much. They won't confirm, but there, like a million years preschool you. What would
given in DC, my mom was a waitress at a mexican restaurant quota. Need us that, I believe is still there and then my dad was a waitress at his brothers restaurant waiter. My dad was a student at the community com. My mom was a student at university marrow while and then they just kind of But how did you? What did they end up? It is doing as adults. My my mom's Fambly ended up. So very they have a very interesting story after the civil war in China, my mom's family, fled to raw now explain exactly the civil war. You mean the war which which war was that was at the people's revolution was at when went the the original communist. cover or the push back from the younger. I just so You know this yet so you know there's some Yat send in their like the May Fourth revolution and the first one.
the war that and then it became, The national especially overthrew the dynasty area and it was mouths war, basically that that took over and Our family was on the side against now change. I shack and the Chinese. I was so they fled to Taiwan and on when they got when my parents might might not my pants, but my grandparents. we are one of the last boats out to Taiwan. It got shipwrecked there like find their kids under my guy yeah, they ended up my mom's family sold the equivalent. The bag was basically a mantle, which is just white bread. they just sold it on blankets under a bridge, for quite some time have till this guy. I would buy their bread every morning said the family that works in my textiles factory hasn't shown up for two weeks. Would you guys like to have a job, so they drop?
the bread and they went and worked at the textile factory. Learned I don't do that and they were like. We haven't a family members to open our own textile factory, so they did it and on. That you're, my family here, my mom family, so my mom Jimmy had enough money. So that shit go to school and go to America. My dad's family was, you know, more poor. So my God work for his brother, who was in engineer and had a chinese restaurants. Very. Complicated my dad was it the community college in and so they met that way, but then my dad ended up working from my mom's family, who ended up opening of furniture store in Northern Virginia could better out, that would sell things like commerce will furniture and the horror that sure your weight so no more tax down now and who know, and then, when my dad graduating from college, he worked like the manager of the store whose working in the furniture store, yeah He and his wife gave him a gig year
your mother up, pretty much any got my grandpa him of my grandpa, we're like two peas in parts. They really real, that's good its fascinates me the difference, and I do you care touched on in the movie and obviously, in your book that the emigrant experience is is similar in some ways, but so different and we the Americans in general, and I think a lot of people know so little about China and I've been there once I did. I did Comedy and Beijing once war. What year within it was improbably than ninety easy mid nineties I went there for x x, pat some guy had a couple gigs. There were, dig in Beijing and there was one in hand, car Hong Kong, so I went there and I visited. the forbidden city in Tiananmen Square and I went to the great wall and I did the stuff I saw- their who tongs, and yet you know yeah, but I like. I remember it was just a it's. It's
twenty different world because there's no, they don't cater to Americans at all. So so you know all I could. The only thing that was identifiable was the Kentucky Fried chicken logo. Everything else which is the number one franchise in China. It keeps you go crazy. Their rights- or I saw the book But you know, I don't see any language. What would you think would you? How do you feel about? Because that's an interesting error to go to Beijing what it was like? I think that it was before the Olympics. The air was terrible bite, but It was interesting. Is I've never seen so many different bicycle type of vehicles in my life and I Do you know, and just people were getting your shaved and haircuts on the street. They were selling animals on the streets. Every there's people all over waste doing odd things right in thinking that seem to impress me the most was how many peculiar vehicles there were here. They're like they're like
Of course, you know either you have cars, unlike only did they bootleg Toyota entail ignore these are like specific models they made for the chinese market. There like Three quarters of what your car would be. You know it was it was there. Take me because I knew nothing about it and I, and I in Hong Kong was was really kind. Exciting and stunning, but that was the only one few places I want. Now we got around a little bit but tat I was the fascinating by don't know if I also like get hooked hung up on food. I was surprised how major types of dried plus there are. Did you like the dry blob? I tried one and there was sour. It was ok yeah like the ones that are proper plums? They have the really dried wilted ones. They deliver your balls. Thank you asked the old those are not good but the plan. Her plums, they're, pretty good, pretty good, really. I used to do a bit about about chinese groceries and stuff. We had better no power, how
long out if it age, where I can't quite remember is it was. It was wrapped because it was primarily from walking on New York and walking around trying to town and spending a lot of time at those markets, downtown Chinatown, just looking at things going. What the fuck is that is that why is it a dry? Is it a mushroom? What the fuck is that in there and then You know, and then I did this egg about how like, since China has been around for so long chinese as a civilization they're gonna get around to eating everything. So eventually, eventually, America's gonna look like a chinese market. You know it's getting right, crazy, yeah and I think the idea was that eventually, because of environmental damage at all, it's gonna be left. In the ocean is like prehistoric, toxic jet algae and jellyfish, and then I say I think the punch I was the Chinese are really the only ones in order to prepare that stuff probably show up.
So good, obviously Swede sour works with anything. It's like not like not like the goopy sour but like, but likes yeah. It just the way. He could see what it's like sugar and vinegar and says he. I will you know it works. Just think if I cook anything like that, were it literally? I've never met anything that it didn't work on like Villiers Sugar incessantly went crazy, but there I thought that was good, about the moving. I think going back to your life was that the struggle for identity, as an american asian person is is, is tough because of the judgment in the box, it your put in just by being asian right but but I thought what was beautiful about the movie and probably about your life. Is that in the midst of all this sort of urban insanity and teenage stuff, an expectation from parents, there were a few very specific disciplines and rituals that we're just a second nature to the king
character and I imagine to you as well that you grew up with whether was the tea ritual or, or the asking for forgiveness, ritual or the disorder of on and flailing respect for pair, No matter what yeah, I'm really glad you notice, as those are the things that are second nature, that are really important that the grandparents appearance, for us. Like look urine, african kid. We can't do anything about that. You probably gonna, forget it four thousand nine hundred and ninety nine years of chinese culture. But if there's a You things. You remember remember, said, like you know, respect your aunt. testers, Romania to respect your elders, you know remember, to do these things on chinese New year and there are things that you know. Sometimes you get in secure like men and my chinese enough. In my doing just this to my answers, but I love one by Chinese knew your comes around because I'm like, I know what to do on this day. You know and food off
became a huge thing to me, because it wasn't just that. I love food, but it was that It was the symbol and connection to where I came from, and it was something I could do and make that my friends in America oppression, It is well. What do you do on New year's we're on New year's. You know you gotta, wear red underwear the night before fits of war, not bad luck, so you know- No evil spirits touch of goodies. Now you gotta, wear red underwear and an arm. You open up your doors, open up your windows, the leap out, the bad luck, welcome in the good luck and then on you know, I always proud of my ancestors- you make an offering up, but the- may I praise really just to them not to like a guy, but I just I bow, and and I kneel down and I start to talk to them and I just missed them like, my grandparents edges. I just pretend like they're here men, then
I will just start to prepare dinner and, and one of the big ones is a whole fish steam With the head on and everything so that the luck comes in the mouth of the fish and then you eat eat, the luck is, is the symbolism I would like to add to a ginger and scullions year exactly that its class, it really good a Shanghai steam fish, and then you know I'll make dumplings- and I usually like to do Napa with pork- and they symbolise like money- kazoo like Nuggets yandah you'll want to like a whole. Roasted poultry is like symbolizing, family and so I have all of these things and you know the oldest per when it comes to dinner, has to give everyone money in a red envelope. So you know why my friend this year will was the oldest one by two weeks. to give everybody a few bucks, and it was funny as it is. You know this. My guy and my guy from Harlem is the one like giving out the money at Chinese new year. This year is a lot of fun,
wasn't always like you know what I, what really stuck with me in terms of The the characterisation, the main guy was not just being up against New Yorker up against America or fighting with parents, but that the struggle of of the perceived. Why get its it felt? me that that their struggle that character had- maybe you really too it is well- was it just by. nature of being a chinese man in contact of american culture. There is a feeling of mass violation. Yes, absolutely I just since I was born, I feel like I, it had been begun to be emasculated for from day one enemy. It feels like there is. That was that The foundation of the ship on your fuckin, shoulder buddy yeah It actually really is in, and I wanted to just be like as emotionally naked as possible an and be out there with it.
Because I think it makes it easier for other kids. You know that are going on in the movie, I mean you are enjoying life and in life like the kids watching, I feel like an Asian can watching, but her. I feel understood I feel seen- maybe I don't gotta- be so mad about this anymore. Will you be because, like I start to think about the models that Americans have, four for like for asian much ease for years you You know you you deal with is Bruce Lee for FUCK's sake for decades. And then everybody else is what it is is like in the movies, like you said, like math guy you're, the cleaner, whatever you know that there is no there's no spectrum of Asia, masculinity in american culture no there's not, and then I remember being a kid and watching like Chow Yun fat. Placement. Killers are gently and, unlike the rescue, the girl and they didn't get a kiss they'd like nobody white like what's goin on, like they did their sex appeal
the system it is. I would like to use my penis one day. You know subdue that'll. Have thousand was awkward scene in the movie by the way in then I like either I don't know that's what happened for you, but I've never seen a talk about so they talked about so plainly like there's, no There is no for play. We just sort of like I don't know you gonna work I'll, tell you a funny story market. I had that wasn't what my first experience was like us this time I was with the woman she was. She was an asian woman at waxing. No, I was very nervous. I will have to admit this. Actually now I think about it. First time I was intimate with woman, it wasn't sex, but she had they. Forced me to is her because I was so nervous. She heard the keys to my tomorrow, a room and she put them down her shirt and she said you need come get these keys and I had her friend had given me a talk she's like my friend
likes you, you said you liked her. You guys are together now cause this is like ninth grade. She you don't hold her hand, you haven't kissed her. What are you? What are you doing? So they took my he's and put him down her shirt and then I'll, say: ok now now I gotta do stuff what it was like you. I was So far I have read this article. It Maxim magazine Raw now see that a fuck you up here you ve, read the article. You see the porno movie, it's over maxim is ruined every child. I think it in this world but base. I was in the group. My mom is buying grosses and reading maxim and it had this dislike. Material graph. It like it was by right his penis size, and you know, like people from this continent is too big people from this cup and at the bottom was issued by God. Oh my god. This is terrible and I think right, a boundless was like Irish, which back thoughtless areas, then I'll, say shit. So I went home and I just open
like a children's bank, account at Washington mutual Writer S right in the end, pouch. They give you like the power from the bank and a few coins and one The things was a ruler washing and mutual. So I get my gift card, like a measure that they should? I better! That Irish, But I was also brought myself, but I He always just like. That's how much the, mass violation of asian men really affected me growing up. I was like manner, I might begin our bitch, but arm itself with interesting goes like it took one article dude one article. That was probably pseudoscience he I know, but it's like If you see that shit to young of of an age structure, if it's about your dick you're fucked for years I mean, like you, know, it's going fuck you up, for it just requires your brain.
So if one end and this girl I'm funds with was, I can all be really funny for the movie when you do merchant MIKE what so you should so Boogie rulers of a kid I, like you, were too crazy, you're a kid in Chinatown measuring their dicks at so funny, though, that that was based on a true story. Is it felt like that? Were you like? I measured it it's too weird Think about it. You know, I think we all measure dig you gotta measure and then you like, where do I measure from the top or the base or like? How do I get the most out of this year? You figure out shaving air, like love, it looks like I just can't you inches shaving jungle, a huge and then, if you lose weight, you bigger, oh yeah. yeah. But when you are like, when did your father get into the restaurant business? How old were you? I was about ten years old and not now
In ten years old, my dad got in the rush on business and was pretty tough, but he was in a chef he was used to run. He was a manager right or what you he was a manager at my grandfather's furniture store, Brian grandfather had pancreas cancer and ended up there. very painful, ended up taking his life and are Riyadh year. He took his life and are too weak. When he was about death, when he almost when he was sick, he decided to opt for that towards the end. Yet towards the end. I think he saw. There was no light at the end of the tunnel and obviously I didn't get to talk to him about it. So I don't I put words in his mouth, but that's what happened? I was only six in some for some reason. My mom told me your n, I remember my mom telling me and ask: why did she told me this will end the older I've got?
I'm pretty glad my mom told me. It was a very formerly moment in my life and my life totally changed. Then you know like when people talk about like a moment, real life changed. I changed it six because I was so I'll love my grandpa it made me realize how fragile life, and also that it makes talk. So bad. You want out, you know what it meant the yet. and my grandpa someone that I really respected n I was never like all your week, you laughter, I was, I know he. He made a choice he said I am not a proponent of it. I I would never What I'm saying is my feeling back to get any one else to chart a course of course, but back then Was a huge realisation is a six year old because everyone else's just like life, is you know when you're a kid they just what life is beautiful, vaccinate everything I'm alone here and
very early on a relaxed notes. It's not always great and you live the good moments, but a lot of it is terrible. And you're waiting. So then furniture business fell apart. There is a lot of friction between the family, the aunts and uncles, and I don't like you get involved in it, but the story happens. My dad ends up leaving my mom these with me and my three brothers in Virginia and We don't know if our parents are gonna, stay together, what's goin on because my mom's family wanted her to stay. But my dad left my dad became a cook at stake. NL and and seafood, and he just learn how to do it and he was so funny. He was like broken food so easy. Salt and pepper boob backward like this shit's easy. So he
stole a couple. Men use in a couple recipes and then he opened up his own restaurant caught. It landed, they see food. He worked down. It's taken our member that the J they can now elements in good chains and engineers workin their end. At times there was a boom in Florida because Disney everyone like around Disney, they needed restaurant for drivers and the people that were the service industry so that area where the Florida project is that's where our families rush opened up by those motels and arm. You have seen that document about celebration. Florida that likes you ever straight Atlantic Bay Seafood was right across the street from it when they built. yeah. We were there before they built it and then right came in and it changed the neighborhood in them. We lost a restaurant. You knows crazy, but that strip used to be You just give shops in really weird motels through you. Dad had a rest, for several years. He did
in a very successful rest rocky at first it was elastic basic food and arm he got least basely. He got the least for free. There were like you, can have a year free of lease, you open the rest, fraud, and then you start paying the second year cuz needed to get people in. We are then on from that success. Here Opened another restaurant cattlemen stay calm down the road any just what book Bobo many kept opening these restaurants until they started gonna shit, and then he saw them the Hooters so that cattle means is that the name of the one in the show isn't it yet young cattle stake house When did you guys go to Florida as a family? Did you all go down there? Is that what happened? Yeah? It was around nine or ten. I just remember they pulled me out of school. In second grade, so your parents, that your parents stay together, stay together. I don't know they should have, but they did at their there's. Still together they might be trodden now. You know, I don't think they did for a while, but they love each other
yeah. So you got you remove down there. When you write nine or ten is that we said year and then, and then you are there for all Europe growing up in your Lando ill and like it so in the movie. So your mom, your mom fortune, teller, Yemen arms, a fortune, teller, air and you're. The uncle the Yuan did a good job but like how much of that was so was the tension. Between your parents, similar to that as those characters in the film yeah it was actually tone down for the film because there in the original there's quite a few scenes of the parents. Actually, Well, there was one or two seas of the parents hitting each other. Here then, the dad hitting the sun but You know the movies already quite difficult for non Asians. Non urban people to access the studio was look. You can only pushed Us
for I know you want authenticity, we know you want it like your life, but this is gonna, be very difficult for audiences source I don't necessarily need people to see that- and I don't wanna be a proponent of that. So we- turned it down. I see so to maintain empathy for the characters gap. You couldn't have them really hitting each other yet I actually. This is one of those times where I think the studios right. You know yeah, because I know that you, during the making the original series the tv show. I read that letter that you wrote about your nearing to maintain the integrity of your story now in the face, the homogenization and status quo of of American family television, yeah was was a polite, apply that you here what you know that was really tough, because they once
so far, and you know we were both quite connected to that pilot episode. Lynn, Lydia, that that's my favorite episode. It's the only episode I stand by and I enjoy in Learn quite a lot because I felt like that episode relief. Rather the needle on the pain and struggle of the kid while also still being entertaining for most audiences and now really love that episode. That one was going first episode and then well. How did you have? What was your relationship with Lynn like and she was the only one that was nice to me in the leadership position. To be honest, you know, Melvin was Melvin. Was nice as well by night whose development he's the writer hues. You, Sir melt down, I have to say Melvin Melvin was nice to me by his hands were tied. You know, but Lynn really understood my pain with it yeah. She really went out of her way to just asked We like how I felt cause. I would
she would see. I would speak up some. I'm like a table read write, speak up in a meeting was immediately just shut down and there was it was kind of like wink women. having get him out of the rumour, get him to stop talking and Melville attacked me like hey, take it easy, you know right an Lynn, would actually come the video villages and talk to me what you think about that. If you know this, that and it wasn't cursory either. She could really tell that there was still. same here in my heart? That would probably helped with the episode and it meant the world to me, and my s friend would come with me to set these like man she's, pretty incredible woman in an who asked me to like you, VE, never directed. How did you like learn to do this and I said I watched a lot of movies and- and I honestly I watch live Shelton. You notice. you watch somebody do at once. You can do it. Yeah. You know, like you, watch more people more times. You probably do a better, but I learned
from Lynne that cause? I have fought for everything in my life and pushed really but I learned from watching Lynne that kindness can get the same result, because there was a lot of anxiety on that pilot for fresh off the boat. Randal was anxious. He didn't know how it would be representing eighty America. How would be received Yo Constance when we began wasn't bad in touch with our asian identity. There were a lot of things. We were all Oh juggling for good reason. And because we never had representation before and all of us were fighting this thing and Linz kindness and empathy and prospective really at least got me through it, and I watched her work with actors and she would approach each one differently.
But with the same level of kindness, and that was a very special thing to watch and I tried to replicate it as well as I could That's the best signal learn from work. Is that was her gift. You know yeah, it's a funny thing is when you dont pose a threat to people and they let their guard down. It is incredible what they'll reveal when I tell them to be revealing and you pushed up there like you know right. right and then in that brings out the best India, this sort of interaction with the other actors in everything else. Yeah. That's that's great, that's nice. If you are in that stuff from her. So when you say that you know you fought for everything I mean it wasn't, I mean seems like took you, while two even land on cooking yet let alone writing in directing a movie like it's almost Jews are the same way. Immigration wise was that there's this pressure too.
sort of do better than your parents and to do it. Every necessary too. succeed in a way that is stable and and and moves to family forward and moves you forward and it's you in asian culture. That pressure is almost unbearable yeah. I think we do have in common generational trauma and this feeling that we don't have a home. You know cause all of us have had to flee and we ve moved around and it's very much about survival and its different for american because you know many Americans have had family here in this country from Baltimore generations. In its like we're, we're all from the valley or offer York. Warlike right are well out, like my parents, or from MECCA in France, from this continent parents or from this country, in that I ended up here, and there is this immense pressure to just survive
I think that is the mentality and were expected to follow the wolves and we're not expected to excel or be different or be great. It's just be a number and just survive. Really, that's what you grew up with, because I guess, like you know, and in the movie, the the Father sort of Visa bookmaker Righty sort of her a gambler worries. he's done, prison time right yet so this is very interesting and bring. This up is because my mother, is, is my mother always felt special because she was it was. It was very weird my mom, Was the most conservative and just like the moment, a movie did not want the kid to stray, but my mom Arms belief in herself. Inspired me and I don't even think she realized it. But my mom was lighter leave the number one student at the number
one women's high school in Taiwan, the most competitive, Highschool detested. Two like Stuyvesant in New York for women was banner. and my mom was the number one student their waste He came to America for her senior year of high school sheep. Was this Outta Torreon and did not speak English ass, my mother ones. How did you learn to speak English? She said. Well, I watched I love Lucy. I really liked Isle of Lucy, but I also just used my brain. I got the yellow pay. Just and I started to call call every number and speak English to them, like every alot of people, hung up on me, but then sometimes people talk to me and That's how I learned English and I was like that is insane, and so not the typical story. You hear apparent six, you you choose very widely and My mom would give me advice that she would not take herself was from observing my mother. I learned to be widely, and even in the film the mob,
it is the one with the plan and its she's the one that finds this kind of wormhole for him. Ache money and succeed and get out of this family. The dad really loves him and believe, my dad, my dad beat the shit out of me, but for some reason I knew he loved me because in the moments where we got to hang out, I saw him smile. I saw I have looked at me with fondness and I just knew he loved me and. It makes me sad to say because he didn't say, but I knew it and My mom would say it, but I felt like it was an apology. You know
I love you. I love you baby. I love you know like it was like it. If I finally spoke up like mom, I am about to break because there were times righteous cracked because of it tension in the abuse, yeah yeah yeah, you know on there You know cause my mom would run away from home and bring me with their the oldest one, and also for my dad would kill me. You know, and her too yeah so she run away from home and weeds at the red roof in an it. like when my mom hit bottom, she tell me she love me and, and she roll so she would put this pressure on me that I don't resent her for, but was very tough, to carry what she would say. You know.
Make something of yourself make something of your life so that moms life's not for nothing, and that was really hard. You know I think that's why so much trouble first, I thought you know, because it's like it's funny. in the parents get along in. You know it's, but My mom literally was like my hopes and dreams are in you. You know the area. And she obvious we felt compelled to protect you and I felt like my mom took the abuse for me in in the end I wasn't true, but that I felt as a kid what would When you were back on an hour or when you deal with you know who behave You have your father witten. Where was coming from what you want I can alcoholic or anything. Do you know? I think it's at the risk of upsetting an entire country of people like I do think its cultural
I see I when I lived in Taiwan, I bet a lot of kids, a lot of kids like me, who came from similar families, and they were like look man most of if you walk in the government and your parent or your parents work wealthier business people, they were street gang people, there were street dudes a lot of them and because we were a country under martial law, for I think, almost thirty years, maybe off over it was actually over thirty years we were under martial law and there were a lot of very poor people coming from China, Taiwan and they ended up in ST gangs and arm. That's the culture and my dad. I love my dad and I know it's very hard for, like an american audience to understand its top two parts to cause. You like this guy sounds like a monster.
My dad had a tough to you know like he was he us, you know he was doing that stuff and he told restoring when he was twelve. They used to have to wait three hours to get on the bus back home from school and everyone would line up and just wait to get on the bus. One day him and his friends were, like you know, want to wait three hours and lie. Let's go play. Basketball just be the last guys on the bus. I coarsely want. They play basketball AIR Day. They came back crossing guard was like you guys, standing in line for three hours, my browser, I'll, be seeing a line for three hours, and he Like I'm telling your parents, they told the school, they told the parents. Of course my dad got disciplined at home. You know we're dad, went to school and next day with a knife and shake the kid in his leg,
and just walked away? He waited three hours in line got to the front line, Schenk the kid you got kicked out of school and then he was like in night school with all the other bag. Gets him. I was again right and I was like you: twelve is a year I didn't like being hit home and I didn't like being snatched off and that's the way you know like that's that's when I start to understand my dad core of yet the world grew up in an unwanted. Brought me back like he got a lotta respect in the neighbour like everyone in the neighborhood selling food. Like remember, my dad he has a rack where to the street. He grew up and now he like a tourist place, it's the most famous dig. It's called Young Tangier, but back in the day before the typhoon was crazy. Famous. It was like us
treat that a lot of kids would hang out in the park and they were they were tough kids. So I remember eating noodles on street from a vendor in the early nineties. He brought me back and the guys like you're dead My dad wanted a bathroom you set. Your dad ran this neighborhood. This is his name. What is a year one time these, as chased him down here and we were back to back with weavers fighting these guys off and in Antwerp. I had, unlike you, got cleaver my dad was slicing people using? We were fighting and he was that lose. This always is weird mysterious. If they had, they would never say what they did right and I remember too, like us, maybe fifteen, a guy showed up at my house when Christmas dropping a forty seven on the dinner table Oh said, merry Christmas to my dad, a few scar down his face in I'll. Just I don't know what the fuck my dad was, do you know
it is hard to make sense why he was the way he was in our house and he was just hit. growing up here, but also like I have to assume that whatever his status was in that world, which would seem to be of some recognition that Then you're coming to America and in learning this hustle working in a furniture store Now figure out a run, restaurants and then losing restaurant. I don't know how it all went with him, find actually, but Is it a different game here right in Lhasa, been some disappointment or something? Yes, you nailed it when he was in Taiwan, even though he didn't have money. He was a man, you like respect, and that's a big thing that somebody the only came to America and he told me a story it is very similar rules as something happen, a puff of smoke and pop You know, but my dad was a bartender at restaurant and he made. These guys. Men happens
like eyes, ordered note a few guy like eyes wandered martinis, they wouldn't he needs. My dad didn't know which garnished put it soon dropped the few cherries and thought it look good rock the martinis would cherries anywhere. Even all speak on behalf of the white guys they get a martini with the cherry. I'm gonna fucking laugh at you with bright. What would you do they laughed at arm in kind of like through the drinks back at him in there YO. We need our lives like this, but we are so my dad I'd say you got really bad, got the olives and came back and through the guys and on He was like. I never want to be embarrassed like that again, you know, and I think it really affected my father, but most of the fight at home were because my dad thing was down on himself and my mom would really yell at him things like your loser. You know like. I don't know how to raise three kids. We got no money in
You should really go at him and I will tell her to stop, but she wouldn't start- and it just here is- was fucking nuts. My I can't believe, I'm telling you what I've always kind of sidestepped a lot of this, but now it's the movies out, I'm just like fuck sides, my parents from China that I'm gonna hear this and they know I love them, which is cool good it out? You know when you're good, you can talk about it there. Not. I don't think your embarrassed. because they know They know why it happened and they ve worked on it and they loved each other and also the year. At this point you know you're grown ass. Man deprive proudly you. They know that you know, you know you can make choices on your round and if they want to remain in contact with you, they gotta behave themselves here near it it really true and they want they want to have a real relationship with me. So over the last, since we finish the moon, We ve really had some very good conversations about what happened and where will really end
Yeah, my mom that long that long they watch the movie and they sat there and they didn't say anything for thirty. Seven to a minute after and my dad just said, I'm proud of you, you are, he said. Ah I see myself in this. I do he said. I see myself in this and you understand me and my mom didn't say that, but you set up I'm proud of you. This is a phenomenal Phil. She was she was just like. I love the film she didn't engaged.
personal as much my heart like she was like it's. It's really good on. This is insane accomplishment. You know where she was proud of me in terms of accomplishment. My dad fell very seen as a person cause. He I think, wanted to know that I knew what he loved me yeah. That was really cool My mom, my mom, is so amazing? As a woman, I think she sacrificed me loving her or me knowing she loved me for me being successful an over? That was the most important thing surrounded meters survive. She didn't want to be like my dad we're gonna get at some point its. Who did? What? Were you ever a criminal, the ear you see here funny. I asked my mom was a mob. Would you say that because I until
the age of ten. I could not believe my mom was with my dad, who may be at the Red Room, feel like we should just sleep mob. We should not go back. This is before you had said, thanks how many siblings, when did they come two siblings and they didn't like being there either. I love my brothers and you know they were amazing and I would hide them. I would build forts out of the couch pillows and be like stay right here, and I would usually go stand by phone in case. My mom would let me call the police and she'd. Never let me call police, but that's what I did every time, so it with you if it was completely dangerous in out of control and terrifying yeah, it was very. You know what it was almost exactly like cod Carlo in the godfather honestly, that's why I would watch I gotta go it's like home, it was. It was like that to you that we like that and Well, I'm glad I'm glad you survived it, that's terrible! It was tough, and this is why I like you viewed as a kid
their watch Cassavetes like under the influence. Of course, this is nice. Other people go through that cigarette. So weird, when your life is shit, you watch other shit in others, as is run myself and shit here, but also I get it shit. It makes you at least know you're, not totally alone, exactly Alexander, but you know, but with how did you not end up fucked up I think I'm fucked up, but did you period, though I mean look at me. I know you want to law school for a time. Did you feel you finish law school right? You know you did this law school, but I think, would save me. Was I really love my mother. to save her and my response. I'd never raised a hand to my dad Everett of fighting never I just took it my middle brother for my dad once and I've got him in my damage, very scared of my little brother. Because my middle brother got so it could being hit he just lifted weights,
and train martial arts and got so big and I think by atomic brother was sixteen. My dad could not hit him any more, but I took it till I was about night Be your brother hit him now give me my brother gotten one time: Europe not like punched him in the face of but, like, I believe, brother pushed him down. I can't remember said: don't fuck with me it's over. yeah Emory gets mad when I don't get the particulars of correct, but in very in another apology in advance that the crux he's my brother did something physical to my father. that made him realised the days hitting us we're offer. I was too pie and I was too respectful of my dad to hit him back. I just took it and, and you didn't hit other people, he didn't take it out into the world. I did take it out in the world, because what other kids bought me at school? I was like what now I can fight and there was a part of me. There was just like don't fuck with me too. I want to.
Who for pretty much. listen to Deja score, like just everybody leave me alone by just please leave me alone. I just want to do my homework. I want to make my mom proud. I want to get home and I want to watch back. You know like I just listen about music and I play basketball and I I always like had like one friend all the went on ninth grade, but this was a thing, the things Tell me, was. Wanting to save my mother, and I had a kid across the street. Worn Nielson was my best friend. I met him forth when I was fourteen, ninth grape, and I saw him, You hit home and I saw the shadow of his father hitting him and I saw the shadow of his dad, making him clean up something on the carpet Spock Cleaner- and I just saw this man towering over this kid at seeing him. That way, got me upset
it made me feel the same way I felt from my mother, because it's hard to pity yourself easier to have empathy for someone else. At least for me, your head, I went up to his window that night, I snuck out of the house. Can I, through multi this window and as you are, I do. And I don't know if anyone had ever asked him and he's like I'm, ok and he's not up and we went to be sat on the bridge in our neighbourhood and we ve been best friends ever since I talked him two weeks ago. You know like, but that could save my life because on I felt less alone and he was we had to say about an hour guy, but I mean he's like six one blonde, hair blue eyes, a beautiful kid everywhere. I love this guy in the tough guys at school, like them to adjust their he's a most popular kid at school. I didn't know. I had no idea because I just moved into the district at
no he's getting hit home. I became his best friend and then at school. Everybody loved him and He was a boy eddies, my best friend, and everyone is the fucking Chinese keep Europe these again. Chinese gets fucking cool and he kind of brought me into like the cool kid white world, You know, because I was always friends with the palestinian kids in the dominican, kids and united. I've never really had any wanted. Bring me into like the white Circle and doing you're here. You know Air was warned her. It was warm and anyways like you know, I'd it in wasn't that I want to do a spider. I never wanted to be in that world and I would never welcome but because worn was my best friend. I then befriended his friends, and you know there is urgent kid in a native american kid, but of you knows mean the Persian came where the darkest ones intergroup and there you know,
It was very strange. Could I didn't really like his friends or through high school, but I just love worn and we were able to share dislike secret that we were, you again beat up at home there and then it turned out all his buddies ever like skater. Do they were getting hit to and all the kids are a kind of like the cool kids at school and in like music, extremely we're all we're all abuse. Kids too, to a man, I remember one time what am I? bodies. I won't say his name because he's Coors pops. Now we were smart. We skip school, were smoking weed and in the back yard and. his dad came in at a house rent the room we were there. We were nor can we in this room and he just punched his kid and are in the face, and that was the first time all of us active,
aided, because we all talk about being hit home near and none of us fought back but seeing our friend a punch in the face by his daddy jumped in we held his dad back and the kids started. Staying with us and staying with other kids and he started moving around everybody's house and he not he didn't go home. We were just that. You can't go home and buy your dad just punch you in the face man like that's fucking and then everyone kind of left home, and so I was a very crazy time and high school cuz, a few of the kids got emancipated and and then we weren't going to school. We were just hanging out at the parliament's they lived in and then that's when I caught my first charge and it was, it was just crazy, but that for why would watch that move like an old, watch movies, I kids are like guided recognizing or seeds. Those were films, reconnecting with you right and in its.
maybe see reviews now, because it is definitely I thought the movie would connect if a dominant culture, a little more reviewers like this is a dark settlers. Is then the characters aren't Michael You know this worlds, not likeable like. Why are the pay Hence, together, like do you know, This is how lotta people, families are we He and I thought it was like a directly like now that you say those movies, the way that you worked a camel. You stayed tied on every body. Everything was moving. feel the sweat on the stuff. You know it's a lot like kids. You know and then also the under current of all those those basketball movies it. You grew up with you. above your ram and things like that for here yet Mikey. So it's funny because right now talk to Jimmy O Yang, you know and you he's like a hip kid to like it. You that these some that some Eu Asian guys just completely just got into that yeah
I think for me was just there. While it was funny before I got up- and I was still listening alike- know that out in stone them pilots. You know like I was a music guy. I listened everything but culturally yak I gravitated towards black music and grow black culture, because, just saw similarities in the way our families were Am I, sir, similarities in our struggle matter struggles the same, but I could feel you like when I heard interludes like with two parking. You know people screaming My parents screaming why Jerry mean on me against world, as it was out of my house. Did you feel like that, cause. I don't know how you you got gotta together to figure out how to cook, but that did it
My debt must be saved your life in some way it did. That was the thing soap. Basketball was the thing I got to do with my father. That brought us closer. Writing was the thing I did with my mother that brought us closer and that connection mattered. So much to me that I just dedicated a lot of my time to those two things and when I left home, if I was homesick, I miss my mama just cooker food, I was really scared that when I grew up all the old chinese people will die in the we wouldn't get to eat it anymore. I think that was really the foundation for wanting to cook food in that sort. Made you that kind of that's what you make your mark on the world it. It did mark. It did in an hour.
I really am so I'm very thankful to the world for being patient with me and kind of allowing me here. Maybe I created this basin allowed myself, but I am thankful to the world because without the early customers about how's the early people that refresh off them like I never would have had the chance to tell the story and saw an unjust, very you didn't end up in jail sounds like you could have at some point. I want a couple times and I got really cool was, the fucking my life up fully. I was able to get it together when I needed to and that's kind of Bin the apple of my life is like I stick around and I I get upset I flail, but there inside when its game time- and I know my backs against the Wall- show up Why was it really is a fun who is? Are you not find it was? It was a powerful movie dude and you know it was a kind of made me rethink about You know the struggle of somebody you're coming up
Asian in the city in America and the you know what that's like so so I learned something I was moved by thanks more end thanks rather me on the show member of honesty, been a fan awhile, and am I followed you cause? You know Chris, Jackson edited for us off the boat, knew he would always talk about areas Albanian, always say you gotta be market. You gotta be marking usable Chris. People the turn out. get some food and we can yeah I'd love to How about you so much man I was anyone folks and the new film buggy, which he wrote directed, is now in theatres and will be available and be of de at the end of the month. And a reminder: if you want a handmade cap mug, just like the ones I give guests go Brian, our Jones dot com, so shop, sharp, ok
maybe I should get new cap mugs made with the new cats. Maybe we need some Sammy and buster monks, families call Deemer can see, it will do the art again. If it does that shit, I guess I could ask sadly, all the cats on those models are gone. Those are memorial mugs at this point, but they are Europeans right. Maybe accepting new that'll be the tent for why am I just sit here? Thinking out here? Some guitar
EL. Anything Oh lives. Monkey finder, cat angels everywhere.
He moved. Carries everywhere They say that already.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-26.