David Fung of www.makeitinthemotherland.com put together a list of the Top Ten Asian Comedians of All Time. Of course, Margaret Cho is number one!
1. Margaret Cho
Asian connection: Margaret Cho is Korean and was born and raised in San Francisco. She frequently talks about issues surrounding the controversial topics of race, politics, and sexuality. Cho was also the first Asian comedian to do an ethnic impression for the mainstream.
2. Russell Peters
Asian connection: Russell Peters is Indian-Canadian and was raised in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto. His humor constantly touches on race and culture and he is known for being able to accurately impersonate a multitude of accents.
3. Henry Cho
Asian connection: Born in Asian-deficient Knoxville, Tenneesse, Korean Henry Cho is the only Asian comic with a Southern accent. Cho usually opens with a few jokes acknowledging the obvious then moves on to non-ethnic fare.
4. Ken Jeong
Asian connection: Korean Ken Jeong was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. He mentions being Asian in his stand-up, but it’s just one of his topics. Ken is best known for his roles in big comedies such as Knocked Up and the Hang Over and for having been an actual medical doctor prior to becoming a full-time actor.
5. Aziz Ansari
Asian connection: Aziz was born to Tamil Indian parents in South Carolina. His humor is geared towards pop culture, social-media, and celebs (he knows Kanye West). He mentions his ethnicity but he rarely makes jokes about growing up Indian and doesn’t do accents because he feels it’s too easy to get a laugh that way.
6. Bobby Lee
Asian connection: Bobby Lee is Korean and was born and raised in San Diego. He is best known from his many years on the MAD TV sketch comedy show where he played a variety of Asian characters, ranging from Kim Jong Ill to Connie Chung.
7. Dat Phan
Asian connection: Dat Phan was born in Saigon, Vietnam but raised in San Diego, California and is best known for winning NBC’s ‘Last Coming Standing’ reality show in 2003. He has built a career touching upon stereotypes and doing ridiculous caricatures of his parents. Asian topics make up the vast majority of his act.
8. Rex Navarette
Asian connection: Rex was originally born in the Phillipines but raised in the Bay Area. All of his jokes are geared towards a Filipino audience, often going in-depth into the culture, history, and of course – the Filipino accent.
9. Kal Penn
Asian connection: Kal Penn is an Indian-American who is best known for his role as Kumar in the “Harold and Kumar” comedy movie series. His ethnicity often plays a part in the joke but is rarely the punchline. Ironically, his Indian accent impersonation is quite bad.
10. Jo Koy
Asian connection: Jo Koy is half-Filipino and originally from Tacoma, Washington but started his career in Las Vegas. He often touches on race, stereotypes, growing up with a Filipino mother and does various accents.
For more information on the comedians, do check out David’s site, www.makeitinthemotherland.com