The Problem With Being Perfect

April 9, 2010 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

The problem with being perfect

“Wayne Chan’s comical take on Asian culture is like a $150 bowl of shark’s fin soup – a unique and amazing offering. The Chinese-American humorist winks and nudges the reader through family reunions, parental expectations and shopping the supermarket for rambutans. The Asian experience is about family – read it, laugh out loud, and belong.”

Suzette Martinez Standring, Award Winning Author, The Art of Column Writing

Wayne Chan is delightfully funny and amazingly on target. It’s the stuff you may think but would never say out loud. His reflections on everyday life as an Asian American are thoughtful, insightful, warm, and never ever boring! Enjoy!!

Cheryl Weiberg, Editor-in-Chief, Asian Pages

The Problem With Being Perfect is a book of secrets. Most of these secrets fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. Things I’ve done that make me look like an idiot which I’d rather not share with family and friends but don’t mind sharing with people who don’t know me and have no idea where I live.
  2. Things my friends and family have done that would make them look like idiots which I can’t mention in front of them because they do know where I live.

May I also emphasize that in no way, shape or form, do any of the embarrassing stories I tell have anything to do with my wife. Even though some of the stories may seem like they could only come from my wife, and even if from time to time I actually refer to the person as “my wife”, I completely disavow any knowledge or any belief that the person in question, is in fact, my wife. If, in reading this book, you come across the words, “my wife”, please replace them with the words, “amazing human being.”

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Born Without a Funny Bone

September 6, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

I’ve lost my sense of humor.

It was just here a minute ago.  I put it down for just a second while I was reaching for a snack, and then, suddenly – poof!  It’s gone.

This is a serious matter.  Writing a humor column without a sense of humor can be a problem.

So that I might find my humor, I’ve decided to backtrack everything I’ve done over the last few hours to see if that might help jog my memory.  Let’s see…what have I been doing the last few hours?

8:00 pm:  Decided to watch some television, maybe find a sitcom.  Then I thought I’d like a snack and found a nice, tasty bag of cheese puffs.  Nothing special on TV.

9:00 pm: Decided to give TV another chance, followed by a few more cheese puffs.  Yuck, another show with people eating bugs.  How disgusting.  Wow, these cheese puffs are great.

10:00 pm:  More TV.  More puffs.


Wait a minute!  Now I remember.

The truth is that I didn’t lose my sense of humor.  I’ve come to realize that I’ve never had a sense of humor.

I’m afraid it’s even more serious than that.  From what I can see, Asians in general don’t have a sense of humor.  We are not a funny group.

Now, you may ask, how did I come to this conclusion?  I’m glad you asked.

Flipping through the channels, I’m suddenly aware that there are very few Asians on television, and practically none on any situation comedies.  There’s no “Everybody Loves the Chins”, or “The Bernie Mah Show”.

In a recent report by the National Asian Pacific American legal Consortium, their study shows that Asians play 2.7 percent of regular characters, with virtually no Asian actors on situation comedies.  One network, CBS, had no Asian characters on any of their primetime shows.

Even on shows that owe much of their premise to Asian culture have little or no Asian representation on them.  The hottest show on television today, “American Idol”, which is essentially an extremely hyped up karaoke competition (which of course originated in Asia), has not had any major Asian singers in it’s history.  Unless, of course, you count William Hung, the famously off-key performer from a few years back (and please, let’s not count William Hung).

I have to believe that the studio heads of ABC, CBS, NBC & Fox have done their due diligence to search far and wide for a comedy that could find humor in the lives of Asian Americans and have come up empty handed.  They must have come to the same conclusion I have – Asians simply aren’t very funny.

Of course, as an Asian humor writer, this disturbing conclusion has put a serious crimp in my style.  I find myself frozen in self-doubt, uncertain that anything that I used to find funny is funny anymore.

For example:

When my uncle walks out of the bathroom with one end of a toilet paper roll stuck to his shoe and proceeds to walk down the hallway, out the front door, and halfway around the house while continuously unraveling the roll like a big long streamer – that’s not funny.

When any of my non-Asian friends asks me about what I might know about any given news story that happens to take place in Asia and my standard response always begins with “Well, my sources tell me…”  That’s not funny.

When my uncle and father become so absorbed in their conversation while walking in a park that they simultaneously fall into a bush of rhododendrons – that’s not funny.

When I once ask my six-year old son what he should do with all the food remaining on his plate when there were thousands of children in the world who were hungry and he replies, “Eat it real fast so they can’t come here and steal it?”  That’s not funny.

When my parents decide to plan ahead and purchase adjoining plots in a memorial park and my father asks the park director about getting a “group discount” – that’s not funny.

I suppose I’ll have to look into a new profession.  Maybe William Hung was on to something.  I can see it now…Asian-American Idol.