It’s a fact: get two Asians talking and the conversation will inevitably turn to food. Becky Yamamoto and I did just that when we had a phone interview last week.
Becky’s food of choice: everything. But specifically noodles with sauce. It could be Asian noodles or spaghetti and bolognese. But all the noodles and all the sauce.
Becky Yamamoto is the force behind the webseries Uninspired. She’s the writer and star, and Season 2 just started. If you’ve ever realized you were getting older and wanted to turn the clock back, or you just recognize your inner aimless millennial, Uninspired is the webseries for you.
Becky perfectly encapsulates the genre of cringe comedy, and what it is to be aimless, alone, confused, and simultaneously hilarious. Sarah’s ultra-relatable scenarios and ultra-questionable life choices make for a comedy worth binging. In addition to Becky as deadpan Sarah, there’s an incredible cast of characters who find their way into her life.
Becky, a long time comedian, stand-up and improviser, started writing the show when the draw of live comedy was just a little, well, uninspiring. She was between a theatre show, a solo show, and a few other gigs. And that in between time left Becky unsatisfied. So she did what all artists do: created something.
Uninspired, like much of Becky’s work, is partially autobiographical. For example, the ID scene in the first episode actually happened. The guy who’s “into karate” in a later episode is a throwback to any girl who’s dated while Asian.
Being Asian-American myself, I immediately delved into questions regarding race. What is it to be Asian-American in comedy, and a woman on top of that. Becky, who laughs a lot in a wonderful way, states: “It’s complicated.”
She says, “I don’t know what people expect when they see an Asian-American comedian. Do they just think I’m going to talk about Asian stuff. I feel more pressure when you’re at a mic and you realized you’re the only woman there.” That being said, “It’s getting better,” she says, with more female run shows. And Becky herself is living proof that not only can women be funny, but that they can get behind the camera and put out work worth watching.
Becky’s originally from Arcadia, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. We small talk about how the racetracks there are both the home of Seabiscuit, and a relocation center for Japanese internees being sent to concentration camps. You know, as two half-Japanese girls do.
She moved to NY to pursue comedy. She started improv at UCB, interning at PS 122, and taking a standup class, all at the same time. She hit the ground running, and several years and many jokes later, she had a webseries that was an official selection of the NYCTVF 2013.
What does Becky like about working on a webseries? It’s a medium that can cover more than what live comedy can. And she still gets to hang out with her friends, who are either in front of or behind the camera. Writing a solo show can be lonesome, while working on a webseries you have a group to support and collaborate with.
Speaking of collaboration, Becky has a show called Katina and Becky Have It All at the People’s Improv Theatre on April 4th with Katina Corrao, who makes a guest appearance as Carol in Seasons 1 and 2.
Our conversation turns it’s way back to food. Becky, with her easy laughter, suggests a few places I should try out. I apologize for talking about being Asian-American a little too much. She laughs and says it’s cool because she got to “release my inner yellow.” After a 20 minute conversation, I want to be her new friend.
Becky, let’s make a date to eat Pho Bang and see some Asian sketch comedy. I’ll buy the wine.