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Sung Hee Park vs. Master Po

Thanks to Comedy Central’s Video Podcast, I found out about Sung Hee Park just recently, the alter-ego of Suzanne Whang. If you’re still wondering who she is…check out her comedic stylings here:

What an unusual feeling it was to watch someone do what she was doing. It was as strange as watching this white guy do an impeccable Korean accent and give unusual insight into the married lives of Koreans as Master Po.

As is the case, it seems that art is able to make commentary about racism so easily, pointing out our expectations and prejudices, the absurdity of it all. And amidst the laughter, I think it is so telling that Suzanne (I don’t know about Master Po), understands exactly what she’s doing and trying to present. You can read the full interview here — I’m just pulling a couple of excerpts, but what if Asian American believers took this to heart, to express the gospel in uncommon ways?

There are different styles of dealing with racism.  We can get up on a soapbox and speak eloquently and preach at people and you can be really angry and you could also make people laugh.  I happen to be angry and I’m channeling it through my humor… It’s very exciting for me because I think we’ve become so politically correct that we’re not talking about anything.  Everybody is trying to sanitize everything and act like everything is fine and keep it all in a little box. …I like the idea of blasting through people’s defenses and getting people talking.

…what I realized is that that “fresh off the boat” Korean girl is also a part of me – the vulnerability of that and the feeling outcast.  And then people accuse me and say, “Look what you’re doing, you’re just playing right into the stereotype.”  What’s interesting to me is how is it stereotypical for an Asian woman to have the balls to get on stage and make a room full of people laugh. How is that stereotypical?  To me, the stereotypical Asian woman would be the woman hiding in the corner in the back of the comedy club and being afraid to even laugh at the jokes, not the woman on stage going, “Oh yeah, I’m going to make you laugh because I’m really ballsy.”  To me, that’s not the stereotype.  And it’s also more stereotypical to me when people are like, “That’s not funny” because I think one of the stereotypes of Asians is that we take ourselves too seriously and can’t laugh at ourselves.  And so, I think their response to my act is more stereotypical than my act.

If anything I think this should push us to be more iconoclastic as Christians and Asians all the more. Perhaps DJ’s push to find an Angry Asian Christian wasn’t so gimmicky after all?


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

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