COLD TOFU and East West Players share similar artistic, educational, and cultural goals, so receiving the Visionary Award from East West Players is very significant. For 32 years COLD TOFU has been a home for Asian American artists who wouldn’t have one otherwise in the world of improv and sketch comedy. We are touched and honored to be recognized this year.
Why did you not name the group “HOT TOFU?” — Yoshio Moriwaki via Facebook
Improvisation is created on the spot and “cold.” “HOT TOFU” happens at Ohjah’s karaoke bar.
How do you stay funny for over 30 years?
COLD TOFU stays funny by not “trying” to be funny. We do it by telling the real, direct truth of the character or of the moment.
What can we look forward to for the next 30 years of COLD TOFU?
COLD TOFU has never limited itself one form of comedic expression. We’ve broadened our artistic scope over the years and transitioned from a group that originally focused on sketch comedy and recognizable returning characters, to one that focuses mainly on in-the-moment improv. Even at that, we’ve evolved from a “short form” group to one that has experimented with various improv forms—shortform, longform with a theatrical narrative, stream of consciousness longform, and serial longform improv with returning characters. We’ve even done innovative longforms with “guest hosts” to involve members of our larger community. And we still dabble in the occasional sketch show when we want to demonstrate our writing chops. COLD TOFU looks forward to continuing its creative versatility.
Pinkberry or Yogurtland?
Either because they’re both just like COLD TOFU. You start with a simple dollop of frozen yogurt (an initial offer in an improv scene) and add toppings (or information) as you go along. You’ll be surprised and delighted with the end result.
Anything else you’d like to add, and let your fans know?
Everyone can do improv, once you learn the basic principles. COLD TOFU’s company includes everyone from teachers, attorneys, psychologists, anesthesiologists, physicists, professors, and…actors! Take a COLD TOFU improv class!
(Bonus) In a movie about COLD TOFU, who would you want to portray you? (Bonus because that may be multiple, but still we think it would be fun to share!)
Tamlyn Tomita, John Cho, Gary Oldman, Jamie Foxx, Kristina Wong, Lady Gaga, Mario Lopez, Steve Yeun, KevJumba, and directed by Jon M. Chu!