It's Crazy when you make fun of someone who was infamous on TV and 15 years later, you actually meet them... and they humble you.
I started doing Stand Up Comedy 15 years ago and one of my first big shows was at UC Berkeley (no violent riots when I performed) at Korean Culture Night and I made fun of William Hung. He had just performed the infamous and painfully awkward "She Bangs!" audition at American Idol where Simon, Paula, and Randy were clowning him. He instantly became the face that Asians were embarrassed to be associated with... the "Ching Chong" Asian... the dorky Asian that everyone made fun of.
I got some laughs that night... mainly because I was disassociating myself from this guy who represented everything we Asian Americans, were trying not to be. We were trying to be "Cool" in the eyes of other ethnic groups, and this guy was making us look like a fool. In addition, did William really think he was good??? We all know that person who thinks they're God's gift to the world at Karaoke just because the machine gave them a score of 100 after they belted out the worst version of Mariah Carey's "Hero" in history and your soul was shriveling up.
Fast Forward, 15 years later and my friend Emi Fukuoka asks me if I want to interview William Hung for my podcast, I said... "For Real??? Hell yeah." I meet William and every question I asked was responded to by the most genuine, down to earth answers that humbled me.
I asked him many questions but the most poignant question I asked was, "William, did you know they were laughing AT you, not with you?"
And he replied, "Yeah... I knew, but you have to try in life. No matter what, you always have to try..."
Damn. I was humbled. I looked in his eyes and he was being authentic.
I had to keep it real as well and I admitted I used to make fun of him in my stand up comedy routine when I first started and he did look a little hurt, and he said, "Its ok... I understand."
I asked him, "Do you have any regret about the experience? " And he replied "No, I traveled all over the world and met so many good people. So many people told me I inspired them because I wasn't afraid to try."
A lesson from our brother William,
You always have to try in life. Don't look back at life with any regret.
You can listen to the podcast and subscribe on Itunes, " The PK Comedy Podcast" recorded at The Laugh Factory.
Youtube Video of the Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNE89R7TWCU