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All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck stirs? What the fuck the pussies? I don't where that one came from. How are you? It's Marc Maron is my podcast WTF? I'm speaking to you as a half Voxer. I'm a halfbacks right now, looking to be a full Voxer in a few weeks.
Feel good to be half vexed.
I don't know what it gets me. It seems it seems like there's some discrepancy about two weeks after the first shot of the vacc, I got the Madonna, the Madonna, Madonna, the the deuce, I got the Madonna juice, got that hit.
I heard it was 52 percent protection after two weeks. Then someone said, I don't know, they got a new angle on it might be up to 84 percent. I don't know. I just take the middle and walk around feeling like I'm about sixty eight percent protected or what do I do? I wait it out. I think that what I'm going to do. Two weeks after my second dose is maybe I'll go visit my mommy in Florida. Yeah, my mother, who's fully vexed at this point, she keeps asking if she can come out here.
Let me rephrase that. She keeps threatening to come out here now. It's not like I don't have room for her.
I can fly her out even. But to be honest with you, I don't know what to do with my mother after a day. I talked about this before, I think if you have kids here, look, here's a kid. Look here, look at the baby. Hold the baby. Yeah, take the baby the more let grandma take you.
I don't got any of that. I got a couple of cats and then, you know, after an hour of conversation, I'm sort of done and that's like that's day one. And then by day two, I'm starting to feel queasy, like literally physically ill. I don't think it's anything she does on purpose. I don't know if it's because I'm emotionally incapacitated because of her. I don't know. I'm not angry. I'm not saying this in judgment.
I'm just saying that I can't have her here for more than a day without becoming physically ill. I'm not me.
I'm not meaning that is a negative thing or as a hurtful thing. It's just what happens.
So what I'm going to do then has been a while since I've seen her is I'll get fully waxed and then I'll wait a couple of weeks and I'll fly down there for a bit in her terrain, in her environment where she's distracted, where she has a car, where she can do her Pilates class or whatever, walk her dogs, go to Publix, go to Costco, go eat at the place. I don't know, is Florida fully open? What's happening?
Do you even need to wear a mask in Florida? Is it is it is Florida just a chaotic covid wonderland? I don't know where it's at, but I know my mother's there and I know we'll both be awfully vexed. And I think that'd be a nice thing to do. Go visit my mommy for a few days and get out. Get out.
But keep it on her turf and then at least there's distractions. I can stay at a hotel. It's going to work out. Look, I love my mother, but only for a day. That's not true. You understand what I'm saying? Look, I've got this new kitten had some problems, but let me let me do let me do what they say, as they say. Set up the show for today.
Today, I talked to Eddie Wong. He's he's a writer, a restauranteur and now a director. He's has his new movie out. It's called Boogie. It's now in theaters. He's the owner of the restaurant house. And Fresh Off the boat is his memoir. And it's what the show was based on. And we talk. A lot about anti-abortion discrimination and the pressures put on Asians in America. Now we spoke a couple of weeks ago. This is before the shooting in Atlanta.
In the end, this was before the shooting in the Atlanta area, which is why it doesn't come up when we're talking about anti-abortion discrimination and abuse, which is clearly, I would say, worse and worsening and took a horrendous, violent, murderous turn.
But that was not in the conversation because it had not happened. But the conversation is. Rooted in that. But before we get to that, let's talk about Sammy the cat, if we could. You know, I've got this kitten, and I got to be honest with you, and I feel like I say that a lot.
We're all lucky. I'm lucky. Everyone's lucky. I'm not a father. I just and 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 that have kids. I've done jokes about people with kids, but they're not, you know, negative about kids, per say. I'm just not cut out for it. And speaking of my mother, as I did earlier, and about the nauseousness and about the queasiness and about the just discomfort.
I can see it in my parenting skills with this fucking kitten, and I don't think I've had a kitten this young Sammy the Red is he's going to need between seven and eight weeks old and yesterday or the day before yesterday. I woke up and it was like, I don't even know. He just wasn't responding. Wasn't Indrajit energetic? He looks sad now. I've never had a kitten this young. I don't realize. You know, Kit, my friend Kit gave me the cat a few days ago.
I don't realize they got a sleep like 15 to 20 hours a fucking day. Really.
I think I expect kittens to jump up and down and be excited and bite my hand and and chase things and everything. I think that I thought that's how they are all the time. I don't have any memory.
Of my kittens, because when I had monkey in LaFonta and Boomer, they were all like two, three months old and they were out of their fucking minds, they were feral cats, just completely crazy. This one's a sweet little guy. Never, never out in the wild. Never had to either eat garbage, never had to wrestle a lizard at six weeks old.
But he may be tired, but yesterday, I swear, he was sick, he might have had a fever. So I spun out, you know, I went to the vet and it turns out he does have a fever, 104 fever, he was limping. I was like, he's limping. What's going on?
And I guess I didn't realize I don't know if I'm emotionally prepared for this shit in general, the amount of worry I invest in everything around me.
I'm a worrier, and 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, just just panic, you know, call us if you're going to be late.
Where are you? What's going on? What are you doing? Are you OK? Is everything OK? Just worry. My mother's like that and then I don't know my father.
I don't know. His mother was a worrier but. But I'm just panicking about things all the time.
I think the worst immediately. And you know what, honestly, the worst is the worst has happened to me and. 19. Anticipated, but I was worried while it was happening and it happened in the room that I've got this kitten in, so there's just triggers a bound man.
So I took him to the vet doctor Doc Modesto McCleen over at. Gateway, great guy. His brother in law works over at Fish King, I'm learning the people and I brought this kitten and I told him what was up.
He felt a little hot. He's lethargic. He hurt his leg. I don't know what's happening.
Is he dying? And I was about to fucking cry in the parking lot of the vet when I chased Modesto down before as he was entering work before he had his doc shirt on.
You freaking out about this kid and he's like, I don't I don't know, I mean, he looks like a little guy, what's going on? And like, I just it I don't want him to die. I can't take it. But then, you know, it was interesting because I never really talked to Modesto, but he's standing there. I'm panicking that the samme kitten, Sami, right, is going to die.
And he starts telling me about why he's a vet, kind of because he grew up down the street from Gateway.
And they used to bring the family dog that he'd been going there since the 70s, in the 70s, Gateway was there with the Doctor Feldman, I had no idea. I've been going there for 20 years to Gateway. And and he's by far the best stock I've had over there. And he thinks that's why he became a vet, because his mom, they used to bring the family dog there, he had this dog that the family didn't sound like they took care of it that great.
Just let it run wild. He had this weird detail.
He says, my mom used to feed the dog spaghetti, but he was just sort of reminiscing and tracking that as to why he might be a vet because of that place, a childhood experience about it.
Meanwhile, I'm like, my kitten is my kid and I think my die. Can you, uh, my kitten is dying. Can you please.
But I didn't do that. I listened. And it was it was interesting. I'm glad we connected. I wish I wasn't so freaked out and spun out about the kitten. But turns out, yes, 700 hours later.
We found the leg wasn't broken, his blood work look great, no leukemia, No. Five. 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 sent home with a little new kitten package, a new patient package.
And I freaked out until later that night. Kit came over and he's jumping around. He's flying around. I think he just likes it better than me. And now I'm in that zone. I'm worried about the cat. I'm worried he doesn't like me. I'm worried he's picking up on my my my intensity. I'm worried he's picking up on my panic. I'm worried that, like, you know, I'm too much for the cat.
Like, you can't handle me. All my cats are fucking freaked out.
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Sammy, Sam. Cute cat hopea lives, but man, it triggered everything, triggered my my mother, triggered bad parenting, triggered why I don't have kids, triggered the passing of Lynn, triggered, you know, just wow.
God damn it, some people aren't cut out for the parenting. I can handle it. I've handled a lot of cats, but I have a specific style. It's hard for me to soften up just right and be open without getting sad. That's the other that's the other thing for Sammie's. Like, why is this sad man keep touching me. Why is this sad man keep wanting to hold me. Why is this sad man back in here trying to get me to eat food?
At the very least, a sad man should take a look at me and realize this is Joy. This is what Joy looks like. A sad man. He's having the exact experience that I had with my father. One thing I realized just the other day, it's weird, the thing that stays young inside you is your things that remain unfinished. Let me explain that.
I talk to my friend now the other day, we hadn't talked in a while. And he's like, you know, when this is over, when we all get vaccinated, will you have dinner? Make it a weekly thing. You know, there's all these things. It's like, I got to do that, man. I got to I got to build that thing in the yard, you know, I got to get rid of those things. I got to I got to make more time for my friends.
I got to call that guy. Why don't we talk enough? Why am I not doing that thing upstairs? Why how come I have solar panels?
What am I going to learn? How to play chess? What you know, all these things spring eternal as 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 lock in on some of those because you don't want to be 90 and be like, how come we never went on that hike? You remember we were going to take. Because I was hiking that was 50 years ago, I know, but we were going to go we talked about it every week.
We talked about it. Well, it's gone now. We can't hide. Now, do you want to walk now? Was nice to see you have my my daughter drop me off. Well, what are we going to do? I just said, all right. We should have hiked, remember when we should have hiked. We should eat and dinner more, we should. What is Billy Crystal, one man show anyway? Eddie Wong is here, was here.
I talked to him, wasn't here.
His directorial debut, his film Boogie, which he wrote and directed, is now in theaters and will be available on VOD at the end of the month. We did speak a couple of weeks ago before the shooting in the Atlanta area, which is why it doesn't why we don't talk about it when we're talking about anti Asian discrimination and abuse.
Also, we talk about Lynn Shelton and I and I don't know if it's clear in this conversation.
Lynn was the director of the pilot of Fresh 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 Lynn. And it was was nice to hear that. Nice to talk to him about it.
And this is me and Eddie Wong.
Were you sick from your second shot? Is that what happened? Yeah, it's the second shot really takes you out. And it's weird because everyone tells you you're going to be fine, miraculously, and now you're in it. You're just like, oh, I don't know, I may die, you know?
Oh, it was you were that sick. Like you couldn't breathe and shit or.
No, no, I could breathe. Well, I didn't have the energy to breathe it. It was like just shut you down.
Yeah. I watched the I watched the movie. Awesome. And I like the movie.
You know, it reminded me of though it reminded me like it made me nostalgic and sort of homesick for New York, although I didn't understand anything anyone was saying.
And it was never my life.
But but but it definitely I remember watching those people.
I remember walking by and seeing like, hey, those are those urban kids having a good time.
Yeah, I don't know, man. I love that. That's that's actually the reaction like I really want. So I'm excited to talk to you about it.
It definitely brought me back to New York like I lived there from jeeze I was there on and off from eighty nine to 2000 and you have to you know.
Yeah. So I was there and then I was there earlier as well.
But we felt that I really felt the, the New York ness of it.
Yeah. And the like the New York Knicks, we don't explain anything for anybody, you know. Right, exactly.
And there was a there's a language to kids that you know, especially that, you know, that goes back you're going back a little bit. But then even current language that I don't know what the fuck anyone saying.
And then on top of that, you know, you have a way of writing in your own sort of slang, almost like you're writing is very expressive and specific.
So it's like two layers of like what was that?
Do we need subtitles here? I know they're speaking English.
What the fuck is going on?
You know, from my director's cut, at one point I had subtitled the the assistant coach, the white guy with the hat on all the time, Mushmouth. And I was like, man, it'd be pretty funny to subtitle a white guy. That's Mushmouth.
That would be funny if that's the only thing that you that you subtitle. But 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. I was in Taiwan and then I just got back like January 15th to do the movie promo.
Do you have family still in Taiwan? No. My family all went back to China because we're kind of we have that immigration pattern of the Chinese that lost the civil war, went to Taiwan, and then we came to America. Right. My parents and brothers all went back to China because there's more opportunity there now.
So they're in China. Yeah, they all my whole I'm the only one left in America. It's crazy.
When did they go back? They went back. Well, my parents my poor parents went back January 7th right before everyone discovered coronavirus. So they went back then. My brothers have been back there for two years now.
So they so did did anyone get the Corona? No. Luckily my whole family followed the rules. They stayed really safe. No one got thrown.
Yeah, that's that's interesting, man. So but that was never the plan. I mean, your parents wanted to to be here, didn't they, ultimately?
Yeah. They wanted to be here. And it was really crazy because they lived with me while I was in post for the film and it just got too crazy. Like I came home. The dogs had like, pissed on my art and like my mom had rearranged everything. And my parents are really funny. If they moved everything from Orlando, like they brought an expired brick of cheese, but they brought empty bottles of wine that they drank, that they were like, they're nice bottles.
And they put all this shit in my house. And I got home one day and ordered workout equipment that they couldn't bear to throw away. They put in my room. So then there was an elliptical and like weights next to my bed.
I'm like, Mom, you turned my room into a gym while I was at work and I was like this.
We have to have a talk. So then my parents were like, look, it seems like we're just we're too in your hair. Your brother's willing to help us get an apartment in China. We'll go to China. But like, can you hang on to our stuff? So now they have a bunch of stuff here, but they went to China.
But when did you like see, now I'm going to get I'm going to confused a movie with your life, you know, like with your real life. So you grew up in Florida mostly.
I grew up all over. I was until nine years old in DC. And then from nine to about twenty two, I was in Orlando and then from twenty to all the way till thirty five I was in New York.
But you were you born here. Yes, I was born in like the D.C. area. Northern like Fairfax County. Fairfax Hospital.
So your parents were already here. Yes, my mom. As a 17 year old and my dad came, I believe, as a 25 year old, but they didn't know each other, they met here not.
Yeah, my dad met my mom at a house party. He heard some Taiwanese girls throwing a house party. So we showed up.
And your mom up at the house party.
Are you the oldest? Yeah, I'm the oldest. So if you are. Yeah, yeah. Pretty pretty much. They won't confirm, but they're like, yeah, you know. Yeah, it was Friskies you. What were they doing in D.C.? My mom was a waitress at a Mexican restaurant called Anita's that I believe is still there. And then my dad was a waitress at his brother's restaurant, a waiter. My dad was a student at the community college and my mom was a student at University of Maryland.
And then they just kind of. But how did you what did they end up sort of doing as adults?
My my mom's family ended up so it's very they have a very interesting story. After the the civil war in China, my mom's family fled to Taiwan.
Now, explain to me exactly the civil war. You mean the war? Which which war was that? Was that the people's revolution? Was that when when the the original communist takeover or the push back from the younger? I just thought that, you know this.
Yeah. So, you know, there's some yat-sen in there like the May 4th revolution and the first one, the war that and then it became the nationalists basically overthrew the dynasty and then it was Mao's war basically that that took over. And our family was on the side against Mao, Chiang Kai shek and the Chinese nationalists. So they fled to Taiwan. And when they fled my parents, my not my parents, but my grandparents had one of the last boats out to Taiwan.
It got shipwrecked. They had to, like, find their kids on the. Oh, my God. Sure. Yeah. And they ended up my mom's family sold the equivalent of bagel's basically a mantle, which is just white bread. They just sold it on blankets under a bridge for quite some time until this guy who would buy their bread every morning said the family that works at my textile factory hasn't shown up for two weeks. Would you guys like to have a job?
So they dropped the bread and they went and worked at the textile factory, learned how to do that. And they were like, we have enough family members to open our own textile factory. So they did it. And this is my family. Yeah, my mom's family.
So my mom's family had enough money so that she could go to school and go to America. My dad's family was, you know, more poor. So my dad worked for his brother, who was an engineer and had a Chinese restaurant. It's very complicated. And my dad was at the community college and and so they met that way. But then my dad ended up working for my mom's family, who ended up opening a furniture store in Northern Virginia called Better Homes.
That would sell things like Thomasville furniture and stuff.
Sure. That sure. So no more textiles? No and no. And then when my dad graduated from college, he worked as like the manager of the store.
So he's working in the furniture store. Yeah. Yeah. His in-laws gave him a gig. Yeah. Yeah. Knocked your mother up. Yeah, pretty much.
Yeah. And he got a loan. My grandpa, him and my grandpa were like two peas in a pod so they really got really. Yeah. Oh that's good. Yeah. Yeah.
It's fascinating to me the difference and I think you kind of touch on it in the movie and obviously in your book that the immigrant experience is similar in some ways, but so different. And we 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 in Beijing once. What year was in the it was in probably in the nineties, the mid 90s. I went there for expats. Some guy had a couple of gigs there. There was a gig in Beijing and there was one in Hong Kong, 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 the hutong and you know.
Yeah, but I like I remember it was just it's a completely different world because there's they don't cater to Americans at all.
So so, like, 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 if KFC goes crazy there.
Right. So I saw the bucket, but I didn't know. I didn't see any English.
What do you think?
How do you feel about. Because that's an interesting area to go to Beijing. Well, it was like before I think it was before the Olympics.
The air was terrible. But but what was interesting is I've never seen so many different bicycle type of vehicles in my life. And I, you know, and just. We're getting, you know, shaves and haircuts on the street, they were selling animals on the street, there was people all over the place doing odd things. But I think the thing that seemed to impress me the most was how many peculiar vehicles there were.
Yeah, they're like they're like half cars, you know, half cars. And like, I'm like, did they bootleg Toyotas? And they're like, no, these are like specific models they make for the Chinese market. They're like three quarters of what your car would be.
You know, it was it was fascinating to me because I knew nothing about it.
And I and I in Hong Kong was was really kind of exciting and stunning. But that was the only the only two places I went and only got around a little bit. But I always found it fascinating. But I don't know. I also, like, get hooked, hung up on food. I was surprised how many different types of dried Plumm there are.
I mean. Yeah, you tried it. Did you like the dried plug.
I tried one that was sour. It was OK. Yeah. Yeah.
I like the ones that are plumper plums. They have the really dried wilted ones like they look like little balls, like the old bulls. Those are not good. But the plumptre plums, they're pretty good.
They're pretty good. It's really fun.
I used to do a bit about, about Chinese groceries and stuff, but I don't know how how, how long.
If at age two I can't quite remember it is it was it was about because it was primarily from walking around New York and walking around Chinatown and just spending a lot of time at those markets downtown in Chinatown, just looking at things going, what the fuck is that?
Is that a walk? Is it a dried clam? Is that a mushroom? What the fuck is that?
And then and then, you know, and then I did this thing about how, like, since China has been around for so long, Chinese as a civilization. Yeah. They're going to get around to eating everything.
So eventually and eventually America is going to look like a Chinese market. You know, it's going to be crazy. Yeah.
And I think the idea was that eventually, because of environmental damage at all that's going to be left in the ocean is like prehistoric toxic algae and jellyfish. And and I said I think the punchline was the Chinese are really the only ones that know how to prepare that stuff properly.
So I'm it's so good, honestly. Sweet and sour works with anything. It's like not like the goopy, sweet and sour, but like seaweed. It's just the way we cook seaweed. It's like sugar and vinegar and sesame oil, you know, it works.
I guess you could probably cook anything like that. Yeah, we're at literally I've never met anything that it didn't work on, like vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Crazy.
But I thought that what was great about the movie and I think going back to your life was that the struggle for identity as an American Asian person is is tough because of the judgment and the box that you're 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 and the expectation from parents, there were a few very specific disciplines and rituals that were just almost second nature to the character. And I imagine to you as well that you grew up with, whether it was the tea ritual or the asking for forgiveness ritual or the the sort of unfailing respect for parents no matter what.
Yeah, I'm really glad you noticed that, because those are the things that are second nature, that are really important that grandparents and parents told us, like, look, you're an American kid. We can't do anything about that. You're probably going to forget four thousand nine hundred ninety nine years of Chinese culture. But if there's a few things you remember, remember to like, you know, respect your ancestors, remember to respect your elders, you know, remember to do these things on Chinese New Year.
And there are things that, you know, because sometimes you get insecure like men and my Chinese and nothing, my doing justice to my ancestors. But I love when my Chinese New Year comes around because I'm like, I know what to do on this day, you know? And food also became a huge thing to me because it wasn't just that I love food, but it was that it was this symbol and connection to where I came from. And it was something I could do and make that my friends in America appreciated as well.
What do you do on New Year's? Well, on New Year's, you know, you've got to wear red underwear the night before to ward off bad luck. So, you know, no evil spirits touch your goodies. No, but like, yeah, you got to wear red underwear and then you open up your doors. Open up your windows. Yeah. Wipe out the bad luck. Welcome in the good luck. And then, you know, I always pray to my ancestors you make an offering.
But the way I pray is really just to them not to like a God. But I just I bow and and I kneel down and I start to talk to them and I just miss them like my grandparents. I just. I just. Like they're here and then I will I will just start to prepare dinner and one of the big ones is a whole fish steamed 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 the symbolism.
I go with ginger and scallions. Yeah, exactly.
That way. It's classic, 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 symbolize like money because they're like nuggets.
And you'll want to do like a whole roasted poultry is like symbolizing family. And so we have all of these things. And, you know, the oldest person that comes to dinner has to give everyone money in a red envelope. So, you know, my friend this year, Will was the oldest one by two weeks. So we had to give everybody a few bucks. And it was funny, you know, this is my guy. My guy from Harlem is the one like giving out the money.
A Chinese New Year.
This year, a lot of fun, but it wasn't always like, you know what really stuck with me in terms of the characterization.
The main guy was not just being up against New York or up against America or fighting with parents, but that the struggle of of the perceived why it felt to me that that a struggle that character had and maybe you relate to it as well.
Was it just by nature of being a Chinese man in the context of American culture? There was a feeling of emasculation?
Yes, absolutely. I just since I was born, I feel like I have begun to be emasculated from day one.
And it feels like there was that was the foundation of the chip on your fucking shoulder, buddy.
Yeah, it actually it really is. And I wanted to just be like as emotionally naked as possible and be out there with it because I think it makes it easier for other kids, you know, that are going put in the movie.
I mean, yeah, just in life and in life, like the kids watching, I feel like an Asian kid watch him like. Oh, huh. I feel understood. I feel seen. Maybe I don't got to be so mad about this anymore.
Well, yeah, because, like, I started to think about the models that Americans have for for like, you know, for Asian, you know, machismo for years. You just you know, you all you deal with is Bruce Lee, for fuck's sake, for decades and then everybody else is. What is it like in the movie, like you said, like a math guy or the cleaner or whatever, you know, that there's no there's no spectrum of Asian masculinity in American culture.
No, there's not. And then I remember being a kid and watching, like, chow on fat and replacement killers or Jet Li. And I'm like, they rescued the girl and they didn't get a kiss like nobody like like what's going on. Like, they got their sex appeal is just invisible. And I, I would like to use my penis one day, you know, someday that'll happen.
That was a very awkward scene in the movie, by the way. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Like, I, I don't know if that's what happened for you, but I'd never seen it talk about so talked about so plainly like there is no there's no foreplay. It was just sort of like I don't know if this is going to work. Yeah.
You know, I'll tell you a funny story, Mark. I had that wasn't what my first experience was like, because the first time I was with a woman, she was she was an Asian woman. Well, actually, no, I was very nervous. I will have to admit this, actually. Now I think about it. Yeah. First time I was intimate with a woman, it wasn't sex, but she had to force me to kiss her because I was so nervous.
She took the keys to my to my room and she put them down her shirt and she said, you need to come get these keys. And I had gotten her friend had given me a talk. She's like, my friend likes you. You said you liked her. You guys are together now because this was like ninth grade. She's like, you don't hold her hand. You haven't kissed her. What do you what are you doing? So they took my keys and put them down her shirt.
And then I was like, OK, now I got to do stuff. But it was like I was I was so fucking awkward because I had read this article in Maxim magazine right now, see that I'll fuck you up.
You know, if you read the article, you see the porno movie, it's over. Yeah.
Maxim has ruined every child, I think, in this world. But base I was in the group. My mom was buying groceries and reading Maxim and they had this like pictorial graphs and like it was by race, penis size. And, you know, like people from this continent are this big people from this. And at the bottom was like, oh, my God, oh, my God, this is terrible. And I think right above us was like Irish, which I thought was hilarious.
And I was like, shit. So I went home and I just opened up like a children's bank account at Washington Mutual. Right. Right in the in the pouch they give you like the pouch from the bank in a few coins. And one of the things was a ruler in Washington Mutual. So.
I get my dick hard and I fucking measure the thing about, oh, shit, I'm better than Irish, but I was I was so proud of myself, but I still was just like that's how much the emasculation of Asian men really affected me growing up.
I was like, man, I might be garbage, but it's so what's interesting, though, is like it took one article, dude, one article that was probably Pseudo-Science, you know. But it's like if you see that shit at too young of an age, especially if it's about your dick, you're fucked for years. I mean like, you know it's going to fuck you up for it just rewires your brain. Yeah.
It was so funny. And then this girl I'm friends with was like, you know, it would be really funny for the movie when you do Mert's and like what? So you should sell boogie rulers about kiddush.
Like, you would be too crazy. You have every kid in Chinatown measuring their dicks.
So it's so funny, though, that that that was based on a true story because it felt like that where you like I measured it.
It's too weird to not think about it, you know. I mean, we all measured it. You got to measure it and then you like, where do I measure it from the top or the base or like, how do I get the most out of this? Yeah.
Yeah. And then you figure out shaving and you're like, look, it looks like I just get two inches shaving the jungle, two inches easy. I'm huge. And then if you lose weight you're bigger.
Oh yeah. Yeah. But when you like.
When did your father get into the restaurant business. How old were you.
I was about ten years old, not nine or ten years old when my dad got in the restaurant business. And it was pretty tough.
But he wasn't a chef. He was just a runner. He was a manager. Right. Or what?
Yeah, he was a manager at my grandfather's furniture store. But my grandfather had a pancreas cancer and ended up very, very painful. Ended up taking his life and. Right.
Yeah, he took his own life and to when he was about debt, when he almost when he was sick, he decided to opt for that towards the end.
Yeah, 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 want to put words in his mouth. But that's what happened. Yeah, I was only six and some for some reason my mom told me. Yeah.
And I remember my mom telling me and I was like, why did she tell me this?
And the older I've gotten, I, I'm pretty glad my mom told me it was a very formative moment in my life and my life totally changed then, you know, like when people talk about, like, a moment where your life changed.
Yeah, I changed at six because I was so I loved my grandpa and it made me realize how fragile life was and also that it may suck so bad you want out, you know, and yet in my grandpa was someone that I really respected.
Yeah. And I was never like, oh, you're weak. You left us. I was like, no, he he made a choice. And I'm not a proponent of it. I, I would never what I'm saying is my feeling not to get anyone else to. Sure. Of course. Of course.
But that was a huge realization as a six year old because everyone else is just like life is, you know, when you're a kid, they just want life is beautiful, Ximenes.
Everything's great. Yeah.
And I was very early on, I realized, no, it's not always great. And you live for the good moments, but a lot of it is terrible and you're waiting.
So then the furniture business fell apart. There was a lot of friction between the family, the aunts and uncles. And I don't like to get involved in it. But the story happens. My dad ends up leaving. My mom stays with me and my three brothers in Virginia, and we don't know if our parents are going to stay together or what's going on, because my mom's family wanted her to stay. But my dad left. My dad became a cook at stake and Ellen, Ellen and seafood and he just learned how to do it.
And he was so funny. He was like American food.
So easy. Salt and pepper. Boom, boom. And he's like, this shit's easy. So he stole a couple menus and a couple of recipes. And then he opened up his own restaurant called Atlantic Bay Seafood.
He worked down at stake. And I remember that the cheese steak and ale, L.A. and good chains.
And he was working there. And at that time there was a boom in Florida because Disney, everyone, like around Disney, they needed restaurants for tourists and the people that were in the service industry. So in that area where the Florida project is, that's where our family's restaurant opened up by those motels. And you ever seen that documentary about Celebration Florida that. Yeah, we're straight Atlantic based seafood was. Right across the street from it when they built it, yeah, we were there before they built it and then they came in and it changed the neighborhood and then we lost our restaurant.
Know crazy. But that strip used to be just gift shops and really weird motels.
So your dad had a successful restaurant for several years. He did. He had a very successful restaurant. He at first it was Atlantic Bay Seafood and he got that lease. Basically, he got the lease for free. They were like, you can have a year free of lease. You open the restaurant and then you start paying the second year because they just needed to get people in. Then from that success, he opened another restaurant, Cattleman's Steakhouse, down the road, and he just went, boom, boom, boom.
And he kept opening these restaurants until they started going to shit and then he sold them to Hooters. So that's right.
And Cattleman's is that's the name of the one in the show, isn't it? Yeah. Kotlin Steakhouse, yeah.
So when did you guys go to Florida as a family? Did you all go down there? That would happen.
Yeah, around nine or ten. I just remember they pulled me out of school in second grade. So your parents your parents stayed together. They stayed together. OK, I don't know if they should have, but they did. Yeah. And they're still together and they love each other now, you know. Yeah. I don't think they did for a while, but they love each other now.
Know, so you got you move down there when you were like nine or ten. Is that what you said. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then you were there for all your growing up in Orlando and like so in the movie.
So your mom your mom's the fortune teller.
Yeah, my mom's a fortune teller. Yeah. And you're the uncle. Yeah. Your mom 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 toned 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 scenes of the parents hitting each other. Yeah. And then the dad hitting the son. But, you know, the movie's already quite difficult for non Asians, non urban people to access. The studio was like, look, you can only push this so far. I know you want authenticity.
We know you want it like your life. But this is going to be very difficult for audiences. So I said, OK, I don't necessarily need people to see that and I don't want to be a proponent of that. So we turned it down. Oh, I see.
So to maintain empathy for the characters. Yeah. You couldn't have them really hitting each other.
Yeah. And I actually this is one of those times where I think the studio is right. You know. Yeah.
Because I know that you know, during the making the original series, the TV show, I read that letter that you wrote about, you know, trying to maintain the integrity of your story in the face of the homogenization and status quo of of American family television.
Was was a plight, a plight that you had to deal with.
Yeah, no, that was really tough because they went so far and, you know, we were both quite connected to that pilot episode because, you know, Lynn Lynn, that's my favorite episode. It's the only episode I stand by and I enjoy. And I learn quite a lot because I felt like that episode really threading the needle on the pain and struggle of the kid while also still being entertaining for most audiences. And I really love that episode.
That one was the first episode.
And then. Well, how did you how what was your relationship with Lynn?
Like, man, she was the only one that was nice to me in a leadership position, to be honest. Yeah. You know, Melvin was Melvin was nice as well, but not Melvin.
He's a writer. He was a producer. I have to say, Melvin Melvin was nice to me, but his hands were tied, you know, but Lynn really understood my pain with it. Yeah. She really went out of her way to just ask me, like, how I felt because I would speak. She would see I would speak up sometimes at like a table, read, write, speak up in a meeting. And I was immediately just shut down and there was it was kind of like, wink, wink, Melvin, get him out of the room or get him to stop talking.
And Melvin texted me like, hey, take it easy, you know? Right. And Lynn would actually come to Video Village and talk to me. What do you think about that? You know, this that and it wasn't cursory either. She could really tell that there was stuff in here in my heart that would probably help with the episode. And it meant the world to me and my best friend would come with me to set. And he's like, man, she's pretty incredible woman.
And and people will ask me, too, like you've never directed how did you, like, learn to do this? And I said, I watched a lot of movies and I honestly I watched Lynn Shelton, you know, because you watch somebody do it once, you can do it, you know, like you watch more people, more times you.
Probably do a better, but I learned from Lynn that because I have fought for everything in my life and pushed really hard, but I learned from watching Lynn that kindness can get the same result because there was a lot of anxiety on that pilot for fresh off the boat. Randall was anxious. He didn't know how it would be representing Asian-American, how it would be received. You know, Constance, when we began, wasn't that in touch with her Asian identity?
There were a lot of things we were all juggling for good reason because we never had representation before and all of us were fighting this thing. And Lynne's kindness and empathy and perspective 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 in my own way.
That's the best thing to learn from her, because that was her gift, you know.
Yeah, it's a funny thing is when you don't 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 push them, they're like. You know, right, right, and then in that brings out the best in the this sort of interaction with the other actors and everything else.
Yeah, that's that's great. That's nice that you learn that stuff from her.
So when you say that, you know, you fought for everything, I mean, it wasn't I mean, it seems like it took you a while to even land on cooking, you know, let alone writing and directing a movie like, you know, it's almost Jews are the same way immigration wise was that there's this pressure to to sort of do better than your parents and to do whatever is necessary to succeed in a way that is stable and and moves the family forward and moves you forward.
And it seems that 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 because all of us have had to flee and we've moved around. And it's very much about survival. And it's different for Americans because many Americans have had family here in this country for multiple generations.
And it's like, yeah, we're all from the valley or all right. We're like, oh, well, I don't like my parents are from my grandparents, from this country. My parents are from this country. And then I ended up here. And there is this immense pressure to just survive. I think that is the mentality. And we're expected to follow the rules and we're not expected to excel or be different or be great. It's just just be a no and just survive, really.
That's what you grew up with, because I guess, like, you know, in the movie, the father sort of he's a bookmaker, right? He's sort of a a gambler. He's he's done prison time, right. Yeah.
So it's very interesting. You 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 mom in the movie did not want the kid to stray. But my mom's belief in herself inspired me. And I don't even think she realized it. But my mom was like, believe the number one student at the number one women's high school in Taiwan. The most competitive high school to test into like Stuyvesant in New York for women was Baner. And my mom was the number one student there when she came to America for her senior year of high school.
She was the salutatorian and did not speak English. And I asked my mother once, how did you learn to speak English? She said, Well, I watched I Love Lucy. I really liked I Love Lucy. But I also just used my brain. I got the Yellow Pages and I started to cold, call every number and speak English to them like every a lot of people hung up on me.
But then sometimes people would talk to me and that's how I learned English. And I was like, that is insane. And and so not the typical story you hear of parents. She she was very wily.
And my mom would give me advice that she would not take herself. And it was from observing my mother that I learned to be wily. And even in the film, the mom is the one with the plan. And it's she's the one that finds this kind of wormhole for him to make money and succeed and get out of this family. The dad really loves him and believes in 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, yeah, I saw him smile.
I saw him look at me with fondness. And I just knew he loved me and. It makes me sad. To say because he didn't say it, 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 baby, I love you. Like it was like if I finally spoke up being like, mom, I am about to break because there were times where I just cracked because of the tension and the abuse.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, there, you know, because my mom would run away from home and bring me with her because I was the oldest one and also because my dad would hit me, you know.
Yeah. And her too. Yeah. So she'd run away from home and we'd stay at the red roof in and it was like when my mom hit bottom she'd tell me she loved me and she would also she would put this pressure on me that I don't resent her for but was very tough to carry, which she would say, you know. Make something of yourself, make something of your life so that mom's life's not for nothing, and that was really hard.
You know, I think that's why I have so much trouble of, you know, I mean, because it's like it's funny. And the parents get along and, you know, it's but my mom literally was like, my hopes and dreams are in you, you know.
So and she obviously felt compelled to protect you, you know.
Yeah. And I felt like my mom took the abuse from me and in the end it wasn't true. But that's how I felt as a kid.
When you look back on it now or when you deal with, you know, the behavior of your father, where was it coming from? He wasn't like an alcoholic or anything.
You know, I think it's at the risk of upsetting an entire country of people. I do think it's cultural. You know, I because I when I lived in Taiwan, I met 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 weren't in the government and your parent or your parents weren't wealthy or business people, they were street gang people. They were street dudes, a lot of them.
And because we were a country under martial law for, I think almost 30 years, maybe it was actually over 30 years we were under martial law and there were a lot of very poor people coming from China to Taiwan and they ended up in street gangs. And 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 and it's tough to pass through because they're like, this guy sounds like a monster.
But my dad had it tough to, you know, like he was in it. He was in us. You know, he was doing that stuff. And he told me a story when he was 12. 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. And one day him and his friends were like, you know, I don't want to wait three hours in line.
Let's go play basketball and just be the last guys on the bus. And I got a call. So they went they played basketball and they they came back and the crossing guard was like, you guys weren't standing in line for three hours. And my dad's like, yeah, why would we stand in line for three hours? And he's like, I'm telling your parents. They told the school. They told the parents. Of course, my dad got disciplined at home, you know.
Yeah. Dad went to school the 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 of the line, shank the kid who got kicked out of school, and then he was like in night school with all the other bad kids.
And that was it again. Right. And I was like, you're 12. He's like, yeah, I didn't like being hit at home and I didn't like being snitched on.
And that's, you know, like that's that's when I start to understand my dad that core of the world grew up in.
And and when he brought me back, like, he got a lot of respect in the neighborhood, like everyone in the neighborhood selling food, like remember my dad.
And he brought you back where. To the street he grew up on. And now it was like a tourist place. It's the most famous Dean type. It's called younger. But back in the day before, Dean Typhon was like crazy famous. It was like a street that a lot of kids would hang out in the park. And they were they were tough kids. So I remember eating noodles on that street from a vendor in the early 90s. He brought me back.
And the guy's like, your dad and my dad went to the bathroom. It's like your dad ran this neighborhood. This was his neighborhood. And I was like, What? And he's like, yeah. One time these guys chased him down here and we were back to back with Cleaver's fighting these guys off. And I'm twere and I'm like, You got Cleaver's. So my dad was slicing people. He's like, we were fighting. And it was it was just always this weird, mysterious thing.
Like they would never say what they did. Right. And I remember, too, like I was maybe 15, a guy showed up at my house when Christmas. Dropped an AK 47 on the dinner table, said Merry Christmas to my dad and a huge scar down his face and I was just like, I don't know what the fuck my dad was doing in Taiwan, but he started to make sense why he was the way he was in our house.
And he was just hit a lot growing up.
Yeah, but also, I have to assume that whatever his status was in that world, which seemed to be of some recognition that, you know, then coming to America and learning this hustle, working in a furniture store and then figuring out how to run restaurants and then losing restaurants, I don't know how it all went with him financially. But, you know, it it's a different game here. Right. And there must have 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 know, I respect. And that's a big thing to somebody. And he came to America and he told me a story. And it's very similar to something happen to pop, smoke and pop, you know, but my dad was a bartender at a restaurant and he made these guys Manhattans, if you like. Guys ordered a few guy white guys ordered martinis.
They ordered rustiness. And my dad didn't know which garnish to put in it. So he dropped a few cherries and thought it looked good and brought the martinis with cherries and even speak on behalf of the white guys. I get a martini with a cherry.
I'm going to fucking laugh at you. I'm going to write what what are you doing? And they laughed at him and kind of like threw the drinks back at them. And they're like, yo, we did all this, like this supposed to be all. So my dad said he got really mad and got the olives and came back and threw him at the guys. And he was like, I never wanted to be embarrassed like that again, you know?
And yeah, I think it really affected my father. But most of the fights at home were because my dad, I think, was down on himself and my mom would really yell at him things like, you're a loser, you know, like I don't know how you're going to raise three kids. We got no money. And, you know, she would really go at him and I would tell her to stop, but she wouldn't stop.
And it just yeah, it was it was fucking nuts.
I can't believe I'm telling you, I've always kind of sidestepped a lot of this. But now that the movie is out, I'm just like, fuck sides.
I've done side stuff.
My parents in China that I'm going to hear this and they know I love them, which is cool because we're good now. You know, like when you're good, you can talk about it. They're not I don't think they're embarrassed because they know they know why it happened and they've worked on it and they love each other.
And also, you know, at this point, you know, you're a grown ass man. They're probably proud of you. They know that, you know you know, you can make choices on your own. And if they want to remain in contact with you, they got to behave themselves.
Yeah. Yeah, it's really true. And they want they want to have a real relationship with me. So over the last since we finished the movie, we've really had some very good conversations about what happened and where.
Oh, really? Yeah. By that long it took that long. They watched the movie and they sat there and they didn't say anything for thirty seconds to a minute after. Yeah. And my dad just said, I'm proud of you. You, he said. 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 she said. I'm proud of you.
This is a phenomenal film. She was she was just like, I love the film. She didn't engage the personal as much, but she was like, it's it's really good. This is an insane accomplishment, you know. Wow. She was proud of me in terms of accomplishment. My dad felt very seen as a person because he, I think, wanted to know that I knew 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, and that was the most important thing to me to survive, she didn't want me to be like my dad.
Yeah, but at some point it seems that. Were you ever a criminal?
Yeah. Yeah. And it was funny. I asked my mom once. I said, Mom, would you see a dad? Because until the age of 10, I could not believe my mom was with my dad. And when we'd be at the Retrophin, I'd be like, we should just leave mom. We should not go back.
This is before you had siblings. How many siblings? When did they come? I had two siblings and they didn't like being there either. I love my brothers. 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 a phone in case my mom would let me call the police and she'd never let me call the police.
But that's what I did every time.
So it was it was completely dangerous and out of control and terrifying.
Yeah, it was very you know what? It was almost exactly like Connie and Carlo in The Godfather. Honestly, that's why I would watch films like that. I'd be like, oh, it's like home.
It was it was like that to exactly like that.
And I'm glad I'm glad you survived it. That's terrible. It was tough.
And yeah, that's why I like you as a kid. I'd sit there and watch Cassavetes like woman under the influence, like, oh, this, this is nice. Other people go through this, you know, it's so weird when your life is shit, you watch other shit and you just rub myself and shit, you know. Yeah.
But also like it's shit that makes you at least know you're not totally alone. Exactly. And and but you know.
But how did you not end up fucked up.
I mean do you think I'm fucked up. But did you go through a period though.
I mean, I mean I know you went to law school for a time. Did you finish you finish law school, right.
You know, yeah, I did finish law school. But I think what saved me was I really loved my mother and I wanted to save her. And my response, I'd never raised a hand to my dad ever. The fighting, never. I just took it. My little brother fought my dad once and it got him. And my dad was very scared of my little brother because my middle brother got so sick of being hit. He just lifted weights and trained martial arts and got so big.
And I think by the time my brother was sixteen, my dad could not hit him anymore. But I took it till I was about nineteen.
Your brother hit him though. Yeah, my my brother got him one time, you know, not like punched him in the face, but like I believe my brother pushed him down.
I can't remember and and said, don't fuck with me, it's over. Yeah. Emery gets mad when I don't get the particulars of it. Correct. But an apology in advance. The cruxes my brother did something physical to my father that made him realize the days of him hitting us were over it.
I was too pious and I was too respectful of my dad to hit him back. I just took it. And.
And you didn't hit other people. You didn't take it out into the world?
I did take it out on the world because when other kids fought me at school, I was like, well, now I can fight. And there was a part of me that was just like. Don't fuck with me. I went to school for pretty much most of the days, just going 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 basketball, you know, like I just listen to rap music.
And I played basketball and I, I always had, like, one friend all the way until ninth grade. But this was the thing. The thing that saved me was. Wanting to save my mother and I had a kid across the street, Warren Nielson was my best friend. I met in fourth when I was 14, ninth grade, and I saw him get hit at home and I saw the shadow of his father hitting him. And then I saw.
The shadow of his dad making him clean up something on the carpet with spot cleaner, and I just saw this man towering over this kid and seeing him that way, got me upset and made me feel the same way I felt for my mother, because it's hard to pity yourself. It's easier to have empathy for someone else, at least for me. Yeah. And I went up to his window that night. I snuck out of the house and I threw molted his window.
And you are, I do. And I don't know if anyone had ever asked him, and he's like, I'm OK. And he snuck out and we went and we sat on the bridge in our neighborhood and we we've been best friends ever since I talked to him two weeks ago, you know, like but that kid saved my life because I felt less alone. And he was I mean, it's weird to say about another guy, but I mean, he was like six one blond hair, blue eyes, a beautiful kid.
Everyone who loved this guy and the tough guys at school liked him, too. He's just very he's the most popular kid in school. I didn't know. I had no idea because I just moved into the district and I didn't know he was getting hit at home. I became his best friend. And then at school, everybody loved him. And he was like, well, Eddie is my best friend. And everyone was like the fucking Chinese kid, you know, he's a kid, Chinese kids, fucking who.
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, you know, I I never really had anyone to bring me into, like, the white circle and be like, yo. Yeah. You know, it was Warren, huh?
It was Warren. And it was like, you know, it wasn't that I wanted to aspire to. I never wanted to be in that world. I was never welcome. But because Warren was my best friend, I then befriended his friends. And, you know, there was a Persian kid and a Native American kid. But I mean, the Persian kid where the darkest ones in the group, you know. Right. And, you know, it was very strange because I didn't really like his friends all through high school, but I just loved Warren and we were able to share this, like, secret.
That we were. We were getting beat up at home. Yeah, and then it turned out all his buddies that were like skater dudes, they were getting hit too, and all the kids that were kind of like the cool kids at school in like rap music and St. We're all we were all abuse kids to a man. And I remember one time one of my buddies, I won't say his name because he's cool with his pops. Now, we were small, we skipped school.
We were smoking weed in the backyard and. His dad came in at a house, ran into the room, we were we were smoking weed in this room and he just punched his kid in our in the face. And that was the first time all of us activated because we'd all talked about being hit at home. Yeah. And none of us fought back. But seeing our friend get punched in the face by his dad, we jumped in and 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. So you can't go home mad like your dad. Just punch you in the face, man. Like, that's fucking crazy. And then everyone kind of left home. And that was a very crazy time in high school because a few of the kids got emancipated and and then we weren't going to school. We were just hanging out at the apartments they lived in.
And then that's when I caught my first charge. And it was it was just crazy. But that for what would watch that, like, you know, I would watch movies like Kids Are like Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. And those were films we connected with you. Right. And and it's funny to see reviews now because it's definitely I thought the movie would connect with, like, dominant culture a little more. And reviewers like this is a dark Felice's.
Then the characters aren't likable. You know, this world's not likable. Like, why are the parents together? I'm like, dude, you know, this is how a lot of people's families are we?
And I thought it was like a directly like now that you say those movies, like the way that you work the camera, you stay tight on everybody, everything was moving, could feel the sweat on the stuff. You know, it's a lot like kids, you know. And then also the undercurrent of all those those basketball movies that you grew up with. Yeah.
You're above the rim and things like that for sure. Yeah. Yeah. But like so it's funny because I, you know, I talked to Jimmy Owyang, you know, and he's like a hip hop kid to like it. Just interesting that there's some that some of you Asian guys just completely just got into that.
Yeah, well, I think for me it was just there. Well, it was funny. Before I got on, I was still listening to, like, no doubt in Stone Temple Pilots, you know, like I listen, I'm a music guy. I listen to everything. But culturally, yeah, I gravitated towards black music and black culture because I just saw similarities in the way our families were. And I saw similarities in our struggle, not that our struggles the same, but I could feel, you know, like when I heard interludes like with Tupac and, you know, people screaming, like parents screaming or wives screaming on me against the world, as it were.
Sounds like my house.
Did you feel like that? The the because I don't know how you you got got it together to figure out how to cook, but that it seemed like that must have saved your life in some way.
It did. That was the thing. So basketball was the thing I got to do with my father that brought us closer. Cooking 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 mom. I just cook her food. And I was really scared that when I grew up, all the old Chinese people would die and then we wouldn't get to eat it anymore.
That that was really the foundation for wanting to cook food, you know, and that sort of made you that kind of that would let you make your mark on the world.
It did. Mark it. It did. And and I I really am. So I'm very thankful to the world for being patient with me and kind of allowing me or maybe I created the space and allowed myself. But I'm I'm thankful to the world because without the early customers about house, the only people that read fresh off the boat, I never would have had this chance to tell the story. And so I'm just very thankful that they didn't end up in jail.
It sounds like he could have at some point.
Yeah, I went a couple times and I got really close to fucking my life up fully and I was able to get it together when I needed to. And that's kind of been the M.O. of my life is like I dick around and I get upset and I, I flail. But then it's like when it's game time and I know my back's against the wall, I show up.
Well, it was, it was, it was fun. It was not fun. It was it was a powerful movie, dude. And, you know, it was a it kind of made me rethink about, you know, the struggle of somebody, you know, coming up, Asian in the city, in America. And you know what that's like.
So so I learn something and I was moved by it.
Thanks and thanks for having me on the show. I honestly been a fan a while and I followed you because, you know, Chris Jackson edited Fresh Off the Boat and he he would always talk about you. Oh, he let's talk about.
And he'd always say, you got to meet market. You got to meet Marquee Guy. Guys are both crazy. Well, let's now let's get some food when we can. Yeah, I'd love to. OK, thank you so much, man. That was Eddie Wong, folks, and the new film Boogy, which he wrote and directed, is now in theaters and will be available on VOD at the end of the month. And a reminder, if you want a handmade cap mug, just like the ones I give guests, go to Brian R.
Jones Dotcom. So I shot. OK, maybe you ought to get new cap mugs made with the new cats. Maybe we need some Sammy and Buster mugs. That means I got to call Dema and see if they'll do the art again. I don't even know if he does that shit anymore. I guess I could ask because sadly, all the cats on those mugs are gone. Those are memorial mugs at this point, but they are the originals.
All right. I got maybe that's the thing to do. Oh, that's right. Maybe that would be the 10 year thing. Why am I just sitting here thinking out loud? Here's some guitar. Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba.
Boomer lives. Monkey with Fanda. Cat angels everywhere. Cat was everywhere, I say that already took.