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Gaysian community gathers for Model Minority: Pride Edition laughs

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Photo by Captured with Seoul
Photo by Captured with Seoul

An enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Royal Room on Tuesday night, June 14, to enjoy another installment of Nam Nam Production's all-Asian comedy showcase Model Minority. This show was extra special, as it was the Pride edition, featuring only the best LGBTQ+ Asian comedians in Seattle.

The highly anticipated show sold out almost a week earlier. Ticket prices ranged from $20 for Queer BIPOC people, $30 for white LGBTQ+ people, $40 for allies, and $50 for white men dating Asian women. The Royal Room was packed tightly, with people grabbing seats anywhere they could.

"It's nice to know that there were real professional musicians here last night, and today I'm up here telling butt jokes," noted comedian Joe Yan when he took to the stage.

Despite Yan's underselling his talents, all the performers of the night were incredible. The jokes were delivered with perfect timing and included many nods to both LGBTQ+ and Asian American culture that members of the audience picked up on.

Photo by Captured with Seoul  

The show started with a well-polished set from host Juno Men, who shared hilarious and heartfelt stories about her experiences coming out as Trans to her mother and grandmother. The crowd was in awe of Men's comedic story-telling ability and held on to every word. By the time she finished, everyone was warmed up and ready to laugh at the night's featured performers.

Next to the stage was Yan, a newcomer to Seattle's comedy scene. His observational humor was so witty and dry that audience members scrambled to chug their drinks, only to hold back spit takes moments later when Yan delivered his wry punchlines. His jokes about the specific pitfalls of dating as a short man in Seattle resonated with some members of the crowd, who let out guttural laughs.

Budding comedy star Rohini, who said she "stumbled onto comedy while processing COVID," came next. Back on the scene with fresh material and observations about world geography, Rohini had fans both laughing and thinking with her smart humor. Her patient and confident delivery punctuated everything she said with hilarious honesty. Rohini also showed off her physical comedy skills, delighting the crowd with a demonstration of how her asshole aided in her generational healing.

The final comedian of the night was the producer and headliner Stephanie Nam, who had prepared pages of new material for the special show. Before starting her set, Nam thanked the audience for making Model Minority: Pride Edition possible. She said she set out to create the show as a safe space for underrepresented people in the comedy scene and was proud to have found friendship and community along the way.

Nam's set resonated with the audience in ways few comedians ever do. Members of the crowd were laughing and nudging friends, as if each of Nam's bits was an inside joke between them. She began by doing an "Asian name roll-call," sparking chuckles and recognition from those in attendance whose names she had predicted.

Nam also took breaks during her set to bring in her alter ego: Stevie. Unlike Nam, who delivered her jokes with an awkward charm, Stevie held the mic as if they owned it, and serenaded the audience with their raspy renditions of original music, including an ode to Adderall and "Cry Me a River" spoof: "Squirt Me a River." The audience was mesmerized by Stevie, hooting and applauding each song break.

Nam returned to the stage to finish her set with some classic dad jokes and her well-known Dan jokes. She discussed the plague of white men dating Asian women and even performed a faux maid-of-honor speech she was preparing for her sister's wedding to a white dude. The fans loved it.

As the night wrapped up, audience members scurried to the back of the room to buy Nam exclusive merch and gain a glimpse of the show stars. Laughter echoed out into the cold Seattle night from inside the Royal Room, even after the show closed.

Not only did Model Minority: Pride Edition give Seattle's Queer Asian community an environment to laugh in and at the world, but it also provided a space to feel safe and seen, and to get to know each other.