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Randall Park and the Plight of Being an Asian-American Actor Who Wants to Be Taken Seriously

Korean-American actor Randall Park is a guy you’ve probably seen before. Currently he portrays Louis Huang on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, a tv show based off of celebrity chef Eddie Huang‘s memoir that is making history as the first Primetime TV show depicting an Asian Family in twenty long years, and if you’ve never seen the show, well – Park has been in a lot of commercials. Before starring in Fresh Off The Boat he received some minor media attention for portraying a very human version of Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in The Interview with James Franco and Seth Rogan and has had several guest-starring roles in films and tv shows like The Mindy ProjectVeep, The Five Year Engagement, and more where he inevitably is always cast as a doctor/politician/any sort of side character.

“But it’s all happening for him!” you might think now that he’s leading a cast in a pretty popular primetime show. But that’s really not the case. Park is 40 years old and he’s been making good stuff for a long, long time.

Park as Kim Jong Un in ‘The Interview’

It’s clear to any minority actor, especially an Asian male, that Hollywood has not carved out a place for them. From white-washing (casting white actors for existing minority characters) to just simply being bias towards casting white actors for characters with no prescribed race, it’s hard to find a leading role. This issue effects black, latino, native american, mixed race, plus-sized and female entertainers alike.

“[Someday] I want to do a project that’s just a project,” Park said in an interview with Grantland. In other words, something that isn’t necessarily Asian-centric or the only show on air representing the Asian community (like Fresh Off The Boat) – a project that Park was cast in simply because he was the best actor, not the best Asian actor for the Asian part.

Park has tried to make that happen on his own terms. As is the case with many talented minority entertainers, he has been making independent projects for years and to not nearly enough fanfare and attention. Constance Wu may have been hailed by the media as the break out star of Fresh Off The Boat but it’s high time for Randall Park to break out as well. He’s funny and the world needs to know it.

Enjoy Randall Park and Marques Ray as they hilariously illustrate why Asians and Hispanics should get along:

More Randall Park at Randall Park Place


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