On Perspective, Breaking Stereotypes, and Reaching Goals: Yola Lu

Yola Lu embodies comedic life. Hailing from Seattle but now based in Austin, she is the Hospitality Director and Stand-Up Coordinator for Austin Sketch Fest, part of the sketch troupe Pendulum, and producer of the Brixton Comedy Hour, a monthly stand-up show. She is also a co-founder of Disoriented Comedy, the first stand-up comedy tour that highlights Asian American female comics. #bossbabesATX staffer June was lucky enough to pick her mind. Read more below!

As an Asian woman, I was ecstatic to learn about Disoriented. I think there is something so unique about this experience that it’s nothing short of hilarious. What was the moment that made you want to found Disoriented?

The idea of Disoriented Comedy came when I had met Jenny Yang (co-founder of Disoriented Comedy) and we were talking in a video chat. She kind of jokingly said that she one day wanted to get all the female Asian comics up on a stage, and a few days later I email her and was like, were you serious about it? Let’s do it! We started Disoriented because we wanted shows where 1. Other Asian Americans can see themselves on stage, and also not feel like they’re the butt of a joke 2. We wanted to provide a platform for other female Asian American performers to share their stories that were not often seen on mainstream stages.

What is the first memory that you have of being funny, or the first memory you have of being an entertainer in general?

My first memory of being an entertainer was when I was in Elementary school, we would learn songs in school and I would take the songs back home, teach them to my sister and we would perform for our temple. There usually was no occasion for it, we just asked to get up to sing and dance.

What is something that you have encountered in your comedic career that you never would have expected?

I don’t know - maybe everything? Honestly, when I was still in college, I never would have expected this to be my life now, to have such a privilege to sometimes write really dumb things and jokes and perform it in front of strangers. But a super cool thing that happened a few years ago was being able to perform on the same show as Margaret Cho. That was something I didn’t ever think would happen!

Do you ever face any type of backlash or criticism because you are an Asian comedienne, either from audiences or from those in your personal life? What advice would you give to other young female Asian comics dealing with the same thing?

I luckily don’t face too much backlash, but the common question I get from people I grew up with or went to school with is “so when are you finally going to be done with this comedy thing?” usually implying that this is just a phase I’ll grow out of. My advice if you’re getting push back from parents and friends is to remember that parents will always worry about you - especially immigrant parents because stability is such an important thing to them, and to them such a key aspect of their definition of success. When my friends seem to have doubts about what I’m doing, I try to remind myself that everyone is on their own path and it is important to surround yourself with other people who share the same goals and passions as you. It makes a world of difference.

Tell me a hidden talent/hobby/passion that you are proud of but not a lot of people know about you.

I don’t have a lot of talents at all! But a hobby I had but recently stopped was that I have been taking fencing lessons.

You can see more of Yola at BABES FEST Comedy, July 27 at the North Door.

You can also find her on Twitter @yolajlu

Jane Claire Hervey