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Asian-American Talent Comes Together for ‘The Comedy Comedy Festival’

The Asian American comedy festival launches today, August 27th, in Los Angeles, CA. Quincy Surasmith

Jenny Yang is no stranger to blazing trails. A former labor sector worker, Yang quit her day job several years ago to pursue comedy full time, creating the Disoriented Comedy Show, which features Asian-American female comedians. The show continues to be a success, with multiple tours around the country.

Now the comedian, along with a tight knit group of other performers and producers, is broadening her creative horizons and launching an Asian American comedy festival, called aptly The Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival. The festival will showcase and present a variety of art forms, including storytelling, improv, sketch internet videos, and, of course, stand-up comedy.

Off Color: Comedian Jenny Yang 3:18

Performers include Yang, comedian D’Lo, and actress Suzy Nakamura of the upcoming sit-com “Dr. Ken”. There also promises to be a few surprise guests.

While heavy on the funnies, the Comedy Comedy Festival is meant to highlight more than just comedy, and there’s a push to highlight new voices.

Christine Chen, production director for the popular Wong Fu Productions, is taking a turn from behind the scenes to perform a storytelling piece on Thursday.

“[Jenny Yang] wants to showcase people who are part of the entertainment business and part of community but you don’t really get to hear from us a lot,” Chen told NBC News.

Christine Chen, production director for the popular Wong Fu Productions, is pictured (left) with the rest of her team. Melly Lee

Chen said her piece will focus on the theme of “letting it go”, something she had to learn in her own move from a wedding planner into the entertainment world.

"The point of story tellers is to showcase people because normal people have stories.” Chen said.

The festival, running from August 27-30 in various venues across Los Angeles, also features workshops and panels discussing Asian American contributions to creative arts. The festival is working with the long-running Kollaboration organization to encourage more Asian Americans to explore artistic fields.

Members of the Browntown improv team. Courtesy Jenny Yang

"For us, naming [the festival] something in a universal language is really our tongue-in-cheek way saying, ‘just because we’re Asian American doesn’t mean that we can’t also just do comedy and make everyone laugh,” Yang said.

"It also just a little bit making fun of the fact that in mainstream entertainment shows we’re just usually ghettoized as the “diversity folks.”

The audience from a previous "Family Reunion" storytelling show. Daren Mooko