Early #BookReview of NO GOOD VERY BAD ASIAN at @thebrooklynrail by @kurtbaumeister

“Any writer who attempts comedy has considered the maxim, ‘Being funny is never enough.’ They have, likewise, considered the corollary, ‘Until it is.’ As a writer, you can be funny enough—accepting the innate subjectivity of humor—that little to nothing else matters. You can make your reader forget holes in character, plot, and story by achieving the comic writer’s Holy Grail of making them laugh again and again.

But simply being funny isn’t enough for literary comedy (or its subcategories satire and black comedy). The balance between comic and serious is crucial in literary comedy. Stray too far in either direction and you fail, becoming simplistic on one hand, boring on the other. While a perfect balance is admittedly impossible, never mind a matter of taste, Leland Cheuk does an admirable job in his latest, No Good Very Bad Asian, achieving a true synthesis of heart and humor highlighted by the fluidity of his first-person voice and a steady diet of sharp turns of prose.”

Read the rest at The Brooklyn Rail.


BAD ASIAN support group meetings! #booktour #savethedate

Very excited to bring NO GOOD VERY BAD ASIAN from C&R Press into the world this fall. If you’re in NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or Chicago, I’m bringing the BAD ASIAN support group meetings to you:

Sept 8 – New York City: Why There Are Words, Bowery Poetry Club, 6pm
Sept 14 – Brooklyn: C&R Spontaneous Reading Party, Concrete + Water, 6pm
Sept 15 – New York City: Sunday Salon, VON Bar, 7pm
Sept 16 – Seattle: Elliott Bay Book Company, 7pm
Sept 17 – Portland: Literary Arts, 7pm
Sept 18 – Portland: Wieden + Kennedy, TBD 
Sept 24 – San Francisco: Green Apple Books on the Park, 7:30pm
Sept 25 – San Francisco: The Racket Reading Series, Alley Cat Books, 6:30pm
Sept 28 – New York City: Lesley Heller Gallery, 2:30pm
Oct 1 – Brooklyn: WORD Greenpoint, 7:30pm
Oct 8 – Washington D.C.: Kramerbooks for APPLE, TREE, 7pm
Oct 10 – Portland: Plonk Reading Series, Rose City Book Pub, 7pm
Oct 17 – New York City: Pete’s Reading Series, Pete’s Candy Store, 7pm
Oct 22 – New York City: YeahYouWrite, Bo’s Kitchen and Bar, 6:30pm
Oct 27 – Los Angeles, CA: Beyond Baroque, 7pm
Nov 5 – Chicago, IL: Tuesday Funk, Hopleaf, 7pm
Nov 7 – New York City: The Rumpus/Rally Reading Series, Pete’s Candy Store, 7pm
Nov 19 – Queens: The Risk of Discovery Reading Series, Blue Cups, 7pm
Nov 20 – Philadelphia: Free Library/Independence Branch for APPLE, TREE, TBD

I hope to see y’all there!


NEW STORY: “Sugar Cubes” at @five2onemag #thesideshow #flashfiction

The first rule of the email list is that there is no email list, he’d written to its recipients.

“Anthony plucked twin cubes from the porcelain sugar bowl and popped them into his mouth. On the table, his overturned phone haloed with silent notifications. When the cubes melted, he plucked and popped two more.

His wife’s best friend Michael’s fortieth birthday. Private dining room in a three Michelin star restaurant in The City. Twins with the au pair. Twelve courses had come and gone. Anthony was still hungry. Dessert wasn’t sweet enough. Thus, the sugar liquidating upon his coated tongue.

Nights like these, in places like this, he tried to find solace in how far he’d come. A hometown so small it was little more than an intersection with a post office off a state road. A childhood of looking forward to snack cakes and Saturday breakfasts at the local waffle house. His parents immigrated from Wuzhou, tried to be as American as possible, their lives ignored in the mostly white town. They were owners of a Chinese restaurant that also served sushi and pad thai. Anthony now bought and sold the equivalent of their lifetime’s net worth in a few minutes of his workday.”

Read the rest here at Five 2 One Magazine’s #thesideshow

“When Novelists Become Method Actors” over @literaryhub, featuring @CarmielBanasky, @mjseidlinger, @RaiMisha, and @WillChancellor

On Comedy, Immersive Research, and the Underrated Value of Experience in 2019

“During one of my first open mics in New York City, the comic running the mic tapped me on the elbow after my set and said, “Hey, you’re funny!” She sounded surprised.

I was, too. Being funny wasn’t my main goal. I was there to spy on comics, trying to experience the highs and lows they faced while chasing their dreams, while doing standup as research for my forthcoming novel, No Good Very Bad Asian, which features a famed Chinese American comedian.

After writing a first draft in 2010, I wanted to validate what I had written and go beyond what I could learn from reading standup memoirs and listening to WTF with Marc Maron. I started with classes. But the first thing you learn from comedy teachers is that if you’re serious, you need to write jokes constantly and chase stage time (anywhere: open mics, bar shows, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, subway platforms, you get the idea) several nights a week, if not every night, for years on end—it’s the only way to get better. Comedy can’t easily be taught; it must be done.”

Read the rest here

Six Ridiculous Questions at @vol1brooklyn with @kurtbaumeister

Where we go deep on Survivor…

“The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.”

Read the rest here.