Artist, performer, and filmmaker Hye Yun Park had something to say. So she grabbed a few fellow artists, a camera, and got to it.
Park is the creator and star of Hey Yun, a New York-based web series that focuses on Park’s exasperating experiences with life and race, as a self-described "thirty something avant garde videographer, broke and chunky, toddling through New York City with bursts of rage and strange videos."
Park’s Hey Yun could be seen as an evolution of a broader digital movement in Asian America. Funny Asian Americans have been posting comedy videos on the internet since before the days of “Charlie Bit My Finger”. The comic duo Fung Brothers have three quarters of a million subscribers on YouTube, and comedian and rapper Timothy DeLaGhetto recently spun his 2.5 million YouTube subscribers into a spot on MTV’s Wild ’N Out cast.
Park’s approach, however, stands in contrast to the hip hop-infused, populist humor of the Fung Brothers and Timothy DeLaGhetto.
Park says she took inspiration from the down tempo stylings of none other than comedian Louis C.K. and his FX series Louis.
"If people could get engaged in a funny shlubby white man’s self reflections and stories, why couldn't it be the same for an Asian woman counterpart?” she recently wrote on the Hyphen Magazine blog.
In the web series Park plays an “angry but whimsical” version of herself. The series, she said, became a way of overcoming some of the limitations she felt she encountered as an actress.
"A lot of the aspects of myself that I or, getting feedback from others, was being judged for, it’s not suitable or sellable as an actress,” she told NBC News, "[But] in a comedic twist, I can make that my own."
But Park is also pragmatic, and the web series has evolved, in practice, into an elaborate show reel of her abilities.
“I hope it can get me some jobs either as an actor or writer,” she said.
Park also regularly features friends and artists in her videos, as a way of giving visibility to people of color in creative fields.
“I have so many just talented friends who are performers, especially performers of color, who are frustrated that they don’t get jobs," she said. "It makes them doubt their talent, their worth. So if my show can inspire people to create their own content and not feel limited, that would be such a huge fulfillment to me.”
She’s now preparing to debut Season 2 and is crowdfunding campaign to finish post-production. In Season 2, filmed in a mockumentary style, Park says she looked for a sharper, more transgressive end product.
“I do like breaking boundaries. If I’m told ’no, it’s a bit much’ I just like to go a bit further,” she said.
Season 2 of Hey Yun will be available at the end of March.