YouTube star Anna Akana just took the subtle sexism and racism women of color face in the comedy world, and turned it on its head in a three-minute video.
The video, appropriately titled "Racist Sexist Improv Class," features an all-women, all-Asian cast with the exception of one white man. In a complete reversal of typical roles, the white man, Brad, joins an improv class and finds himself in the minority. As such, he's forced to represent his entire race and gender while encountering damaging stereotypes -- all of which draw tremendous laughs from his fellow improvisors and the instructor.
Typecast as a German Nazi, a frat boy and an embezzler, the last straw for poor Brad is when he is cast as a pedophile priest. "Do you not have note on this?" he asks the teacher, who is also an Asian woman. "The initiations are pretty stereotypical."
In Akana's alternate universe where white men are underrepresented, Brad laments:
It's just a little frustrating to not see someone who looks like me in class or on the stage. I mean, even the higher levels, it's all just Asian women.
The sad truth is that comedy is generally a much kinder industry for men than it is for women. Asian women face a specific set of discouraging stereotypes, and lack sufficient representation in mainstream media. By mocking common issues that Asian women are forced to grapple with -- from "yellow fever" to being asked, "What are you?" -- Akana playfully acknowledges the frustrating barriers Asian women face on a daily basis.
Yes, Brad. Really.
Watch the full video below.
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