Being the First To Stand Up
Meet Ivy Le: stand-up comedian and host of the Spotify show, FOGO: Fear of Going Outside. She has paved a way for herself as a first-generation Vietnamese-American woman doing comedy and entertainment.
“Whenever you put yourself in a position where you’re not supposed to be in, whether it’s a comedy club late at night or in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square or a college-level classroom that nobody in your family’s been in, what I found is that literally just being there changes the space and changes everything that’s possible after it.”
Announcer: Get warm and excited for Ivy Le.
Ivy Le: So allow me to introduce myself. I’m Asian.
Crowd: What? Really? What? Really?
Ivy: Most people are.
I just want to put out my perspective out into the world. And what I’ve learned is representation of people like me is so bare minimum that literally all I have to do to practically start a riot is to exist and be human and speak words, like honest words. People were like — [makes explosion noise]. And I’m like, what is happening? I’m literally just being human.
So, I’m from two very sexually conservative cultures — Vietnamese and Texan. That’s my life, you guys. Why was that funny? Why was it…
Not every kind of person can get out every night, all night long to go on these mics. When the pandemic hit, I felt like — not relieved. I’m not happy that happened — but at the same time, when it specifically comes to comedy, I felt like the playing field had been leveled.
(recording in studio)…prepared thoughtfully, food can head off many common, but unspectacular threats to human life, like scurvy or hopelessness.
I host a show on Spotify Studios called FOGO: Fear of Going Outside. It’s basically a nature show, because I’m obsessed with nature shows, but I ask the questions that indoor people want to know. I realize that, oh my god, nature is a highly culturally-specific construct. My point of view would be vital to it, but it really isn’t, but it’s still just kind of about nature, and I get to just be myself.
(In conversation with archery instructor) Yeah, I want some of that.
Archery instructor: No, I can’t teach you horseback archery. That’s something you can work towards.
Ivy: Whenever you put yourself in a position where you’re not supposed to be in, you know what I mean? Whether it’s a comedy club late at night or in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square or a classroom, a college-level classroom that nobody in your family’s been in, what I found is that literally just being there changes the space and changes everything that’s possible after it. Even when it’s hard, it’s not like the jobs my parents had hard. You know what I mean? It’s a privilege.
It’s my little recording light. Come on in, come on into my recording studio. Look at these pads. Come on in.