When podcasts started out it was mostly inhabited by stand up comics who would interview each other to help sell tickets and expand their views on a topic without the restrictions of the stand-up format. But other people with different interests started to use the format to get their thoughts out. They covered everything from sports to murder mysteries to any interest you wanted to hear about. It was still a niche “White” format and there were no Asian American podcasts.
Then Serial blew up the scene and the podcast boom happened and everyone and every organization had a podcast. The long form format gave way to people being interviewed in depth and it felt like reality audio. Even Elon Musk wanted to tell his story so he went on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and became a meme after he smoked some weed. But with this explosion of podcasts, I always wondered where the podcasts hosted by Asians were.
There weren’t that many few years back but now Asians are coming up. They’re telling their stories and expressing their opinions. I went on a binge of Asian American podcasts and this is the top five. So I present to you my favorite podcasts by Asians for 2018 to listen to while going to work or at work.
5. Fun With Dumb: Rapper, actor, and now a podcaster, he’s the newest person here to start a podcast. And being new to this format shows as he says “Awww Man” in his earlier episodes as a way to stall because he has nothing to say.
He brings his friends from the creative arts to have conversations about the entertainment industry. They talk about what it means to be an Asian creative and what it means to represent Asian Americans. He’s had his friends from Awkwafina to Jay Park come in and discuss the burdens and the satisfaction of being Asian in the creative fields. My favorite episode is when he had guests, comedian Bobby Lee, and streetwear clothing brand owner Bobby Hundreds, on the same episode.
The three of them discuss their conflicted views on “Crazy Rich Asians” and their bitterness and pettiness even though they are successful people. It’s fun to see popular people talk about feeling left out and not feeling they are part of the “cool Asians.”
Fun With Dumb can be heard by audio only but I suggest you watch the podcast just because of Dumbfoundead’s shiny face. It looks like he smeared a tub of vaseline on his face before he started recording.
Everyone heard the term “Everyone should shine” but it seems Dumbfoundead took that literally. If you reading this Dumbfoundead, you look like a polished rim. Please go wash your face.
4. Escape From Plan A: This podcast is an offshoot of the Plan A Mag website. The website was started as a way for Asians who weren’t being heard to have a say in matters regarding Asian Americans. It’s really a reaction to the failure of mainstream Asian Americans to address Asian American issues in a more truthful way without being puppets to the mainstream.
Oxford Kondo, Teen, and Jess, the founders of Plan A Magazine, usually host this podcast along with revolving regulars. They have interesting guests on to discuss the lastest Asian American issue of the week. This is what I consider somewhat of a boogie podcast just for the simple fact that the people talking are Ivy League graduates.
This leads to topics which are more high brow and the discussions go deep into the crux of matters. They touch on heavy topics like Affirmative Action and racism, but never pander like so many Asian Americans who have “made it.” They even discuss the taboo and silenced subject of WMAF (white male/Asian female) pairing in a critical light bringing some of the more disagreeable aspects of it and how it can negatively effect AMAF pairings. I swear these guys drink their boba tea with their pinkies up but they are interesting to listen to.
3. Tigerbelly: This is a comedy podcast with more tragedies than Shakespeare. The show is hosted by comedian Bobby Lee, his girlfriend Khalyla, and actor Gilbert. Bobby brings his Hollywood friends and they engage in some pretty intimate conversations. You can tell how much respect Bobby has for the person he’s interviewing by how much he kisses their ass.
This is a fun podcast but it’s ultimately a view into sadomasochism. Bobby Lee dreams of being more successful but he ends up putting little to no work in. He sees all his friends like Jordan Peele surpass him and he complains that he should be at a higher level, but all he does is play video games all day. His co-hosts point this out to him and he seems to know it but unfortunately, he seems comfortable in his position. It just seems he’d rather have something to complain about than to actually work on getting better.
Former Nurse and now full-time caretaker for that infant Bobby Lee, Khalyla also has a similar disposition. She claims that she could help others get to the top, hence her name, “King Maker” but she can’t get herself to a better position. She straddles the middle and isn’t happy about it.
I don’t know much about Gilbert because he doesn’t talk much, but he once had a weight problem. He was a fat kid growing up who hid pieces of chicken under his bed so that he can eat at night after he had a full dinner. He cried on the podcast over his weight issues. Other than that, he’s Filipino, possibly gay, and is pursuing acting.
So why listen to this depressing yet funny podcast? Listen to it because these three are open and honest. They discuss their childhood traumas from being sexually assaulted to Bobby doing incestuous things with his cousin. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Bobby opens up about his abusive father and his drug habit that led him to sh**ting in his pants while he was doing a skit as Connie Chung in Mad TV.
But through all the pain these three stay positive and they have hope and that’s why I keep listening. These three are like a dysfunctional family that needs each other like the characters in “Boogie Nights”
However, the most annoying thing is their advertisements. I have no problem with ads but Bobby probably thinking its funny decided to sing the reads. He has the most annoying voice that sounds like a wounded animal dying. So just skip the ads and spare your eardrums.
2. Asian Boss Girl: The first all Asian female podcast to make the list. The podcast stars three Asian girls, Melody Cheng, Helen Wu, and Janet Wong. These three girls in their 20s and 30s share their lives living and working in Los Angeles. It’s like “Sex In The City” without that nutty Kim Cattrall character. The three talk about everything from an Asian girl perspective and invite listeners into their social lives. They talk grooming, f**kbois’, and sex or lack of it in intimate details.
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Janet // User Experience Designer (digital architect – think blueprints for mobile apps and websites vs. buildings) – Favorite ABG Episode // Ep 14: What’s Yo Zodiac Sign?! (What!) – Weekend Activity // Usually visiting her parents & sister in OC 👨👩👧👧, taking advantage of suburban nature with an outside run🌱🌿🏃🏻♀️🍃, catching up on sleep (dates with her 🛏 > dates with 💁🏻♂️), and spending time with other people’s babies 👶🏻 (most notably, her niece, and all the babies her friends are having). – ABG Fun Fact 🎙// Janet usually intros/outros the episodes because Mel/Helen be struggling sometimes lol Janet is also known on the team to be the one that packages everything nicely. Her voice is smooth like butter. Don’t y’all agree?! 📸: @jrodtwins
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Helen // Day job: M&A valuation specialist. Night / weekend job: ABG! – Favorite ABG Episode // Episode 3: Wax on Wax Off 😂 – Weekend Activity // OOO, you can find Helen in search of cute, novel cafés (which quickly becomes a search for the best 626 popcorn chicken), looking for any excuse to go for a run on the beach, planning upcoming travels, or working on her 3-year running goal of @onepullup. – ABG Fun Fact 🎙// We can always depend on Helen to ignite the giggles, get a little raunchy, and ensure we share the most accurate and up to date facts with you all. She’s also the one that encourages everyone has their fair share of Jameson Rx on a Friday night! 📸: @jrodtwins
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Melody // Content Producer – Favorite ABG Episode ✨// Does Your Personality Fit My Vagina? – Weekend Activity// Mel’s probably doing one of these 2 things: 1) Lounging in bed + take out 🥡+ binge watching some Korean show 2) Coffee shop editing + contemplating what 🍽she wants delivered – ABG Fun Fact 🎙//We can always depend on Mel to keep it real during recordings – from breakups to 💩habits (spoiler alert for season 3) she always shares the juice 📸: @jrodtwins
With titles like “F**kboi – the modern Player”, “Asian Beauty, Boobie, And Booty Goals,” and “Does your personality Fit My Vagina,” how can you not listen. The podcast feels like a continuation of the “Joy Luck Club” in that it’s a celebration of Asian Women who are making their place in the world
I could say the previous 4 podcasts all deserve to be in the number 1 spot and all are good podcasts and it’s true, but the Asian in me won’t let me. There has to be a hierarchy. The top spot is like “Highlander”, there can only be one. So the bragging rights and the “Asian American Podcasts” crown goes to “Asian Not Asian.”
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We’ve rebranded. And by “rebrand” we mean we changed our shirts. If you haven’t checked out our podcast, nows’s the time to do it! It’s 2 Azn guys not from Asia, talking about American issues no Americans seem to care about. . . New podcast cover art by @itsjonnewman and @philprovencio . . . Listen, subscribe and review! LINK IN BIO✌️
1. Asian Not Asian: This is the best Asian American podcast I listened to this year. They get an “A+” while those other four Asian American podcasts just get an “A”. The other four should be ashamed of themselves. The podcast is hosted by two New York comedians Fumi Abe and Mic Nguyen. Fumi Abe is a Japanese American who laughs like a repressed coked out Japanese man who just learned to laugh.
While Mic Nguyen is a Vietnamese American who has some questionable clothing choices which make him look like a low-level Saigon pimp.
The two of them host one show a week where they talk about whatever the hot topic is in the Asian American community. They bring their comedic takes on the subject which has me laughing, but not as hard as Fumi. I don’t think anyone can laugh as hard as Fumi. With segments like Asian Yelp where they talk about reviews Asians leave to interviewing their friends who are also in the arts, it’s just a fun time. They talk about their Asian upbringing and how it affects them to this day while they put a humorous spin on it. There level headiness on charged topics and their ability to laugh about being Asian while being proud to be Asian makes this podcast the king.
While writing this I noticed that I only have one podcast that is hosted by Asian Women. So I looked around the web and found a great article written by Sheena Yap Chan on Medium listing all podcasts hosted by Asian Woman. Check out the extensive list here.
Fun Fact: A white guy named George produces both “Tigerbelly” and “Fun With Dumb”. If you listen closely to these podcasts you can sometimes hear his unbelievably white voice. He sounds and acts like the stereotypical white guy that black Def Jam comics impersonated in the 1990s.
So there you have it folks, these are my top 5 Asian American podcasts for 2018. What are your favorite podcasts by Asians?