Comedy writer highlight: Angel Yau
Updated: Jan 17
Angel Yau is a New York-city based comedian, actor, musical comedy group (AzN PoP!) member (shows here), and recent star of a BBC short documentary focusing on her life and mental health. Check out her regular show, Shoes Off, Mouth Off! (an all Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) storytelling show) (next show is live and streaming August 7), and the AAPI short film screening, Asian American Film Thing!, she organizes (next show is on November 16th).
Below, we made her (like, seriously made her, ‘cause girlfriend sounds busy!) answer five short questions.
What is the impetus for your life in comedy?
I would say my childhood self. 5-year-old to teenage me would never even think this was a career path that I was going to take. I was so shy and quiet and couldn't make a logical sentence. I keep doing comedy for that child who was too afraid to make friends and speak up.
What or where are you in an alternative life?
I would probably focus more on directing-- music videos in particular!
Maybe a t-shirt screen printer? Maybe an elementary school teacher? Blogger/vlogger? Or hmmm, maybe the President of the United States...
Pitch a TV show.
I wrote a pilot where a Chinese American woman in her 20s who never graduated anything needs to get a win... so she enrolls herself to an English as a Second Language class even though English is her first language to feel "smart," little does she know that she ends up teaching the class!!
Also, everyone is a ghost.
How did you come up with your best joke?
One of my best (popular... maybe not best per se...) bit is me eating a whole lobster on stage under 5 minutes while my inner insecurities and lobster facts are projected in the background.
This, let's say, live art developed over time. I just thought it would be funny to eat something fancy and messy on stage and just have people watch... I have yet to meet a person who would eat every single part (except the shell) of the lobster. I just wanted people to watch me go through every nook and cranny (even the green stuff in the head). When I first did that without any inner monologue or facts projected, it was definitely awkward and boring. But now watching me eat AND learning more about me and lobsters is awkward AND NOT boring.
Describe your comedy writing process.
I don't think I have one. Usually, "Oh crap, I have a show in an hour, quick write something!"
Follow Angel on Instagram here.
Photography: Emily Lambert (headshot), Melissa Gomez (lobster)