Esther Ku is a comedian, actress and musician who is currently a cast member on the MTV show Girl Code. Esther Ku is the best kind of Asian-American you will find – a combo platter of 1/4th Chinese, 1/4th Korean, 1/4th Japanese, and 1/4th Vietnamese. In addition, she has delivered food for several Thai, Chinese, and Indian restaurants and thus is fluent in Spanglish. She is the first Asian American to be placed on Academic Probation ever by an accredited university. When she is not being booked in attics and basements of Chinese restaurants, she freelances as a phone operator for several 24-hour oriental body wash massage joints. Hmm, we aren’t sure about that last part, but we do know that she is hilarious and we wanted to dive into her mind’s swimming pool and partake in some laps. The result? Read the Q&A below…
From your early days, you often use your heritage as material in your stand-up. How did your parents and your cultural upbringing influence your career path?
EK: Well, one of the main reasons I started doing stand-up was to get my parents to disown me. They didn’t like it when I laughed loudly let alone disgraced them to rooms full of strangers who would laugh along with me.
As a comedian do you feel that non-white comics rely too much on racial stereotype comedy? Do you see a trend developing from young comics?
EK: No. I think there’s no such thing as too much. That’s all we have to go on when you see a group of random people in a club. That is, until we all turn the same shade of grey. But that’s not for a few decades.
How did your comedic career lead you to work for MTV?
EK: MTV doesn’t put censors on their talent the way ABC or CBS does. I am better uncensored. So, it was perfect.
Season 2 of MTV’s Girl Code is fast approaching. What can fans of the show expect from the new season?
EK: Season Two will have the same characters you loved from Season One, just more topics and more interaction with the fans.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
EK: I love Oldboy, although I can’t bear to watch the live octopus eating scene!
Could you tell us a bit about Oldies Parodies? I see other comedians like Margaret Cho and Lonely Island doing similar things. Is this just another successful outlet for you as a comedian?
EK: I have a bunch of Oldies songs I rewrote dirty lyrics to that are available on YouTube and iTunes. I love listening to Oldies songs so much that I wanted to ruin them with my perverted sense of humor.
How do you choose your songs?
EK: They pop up randomly on my iPod while my mind is in the gutter.
You on-stage presence is very innocent, but some of the things that come out of your mouth are pretty eye-popping. Do you use this deceitful appearance do shock your audience? Is it a clever approach to your stand-up?
EK: It’s not like I chose to have an innocent look. I take no credit for it. It’s more of a coincidence!
As a Korean-American, what in the Korean culture do you strongly identify with?
EK: Being blunt.
You also did a film! Was this a good experience? Could we expect more movie work from you in the future?
EK: It was really fun and I hope I get to do more work like it.
Lastly, any advice you could offer up to a young comedian that might be struggling with stage confidence?
EK: Get drunk beforehand. And then bomb. And then never do that again.