Fil-Am comedian and CEO opens new show
LOS ANGELES — Filipino American Ana Tuazon Parsons likes to tell people that she was smuggled from the Philippines as a victim of human trafficking. While this may not be exactly the way events unfolded, it does make more sense once you realize she is a comedian talking about how she ended up in the United States.
Her latest endeavor is “Asian American Eyz’d: An Immigrant Comedy Spacial,” of which she is executive producer, writer and creator.
The comedy special highlights her work along with two other Asian American comedians. “Two of whom are part of the LGBT community,” Parsons says. “It tells of our stories of immigration, growing up, assimilation and finding ourselves.”
Directed by Felipe Figueroa (“Medium”), the show brings all three comics together for a revealing one-night performance, each sharing their personal journey to America as an immigrant.
Distributed by Deskpop Entertainment, it is now available on Amazon, Crackle and Tubi.
Parsons has done work on stage and television. She has appeared in “The Affair” and “Dexter.” She performed with Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Labyrinth Theatre Company at New York’s Public Theatre and has appeared at numerous theaters around the country performing both contemporary and classical works. She also performed in the international tour of “Sherlock Holmes” with David Arquette.
Comedy, however, was not always part of her career. Parsons had always been afraid of stand up comedy. She finally got into it when she got dumped. “I thought at the time I needed to put that depression somewhere and give it a shot. I found out I had a knack for it.”
She called her first foray “The Break Up Set.” “So, thank you, ex, for that,” she says.
Parsons says the joy of having her work seen by audiences is the feedback she receives. “One of the resounding things that we keep hearing after people watch the special is how they feel seen. How they feel that others will feel seen.”
“Hearing that, we’ve done our job at storytellers. I was so moved by a fellow Asian American saying this show has meant so much to them. How powerful it was seeing three people that looked like them onstage telling their stories. That having this visibility felt huge to them because representation does matter.
After Parsons once performed a staged reading for a TV project she was developing, she says “a fellow Pinoy came up to me. He was queer and grew up in a small town in Texas. He told me I was telling his story and that he felt seen in a way that he had never heard or seen on TV before. It’s moments like that one that fuel me to keep me going.”
In addition to performing, Parsons is also CEO of her own independent production company that makes “stories that I want to see.
“Often times as artists we are sitting and waiting for approval. We’re waiting to book a job. We’re waiting to get the greenlight and have a yes in front of us. I just decided rather than waiting for the yes, why don’t I say yes to myself.
“I started from a place where I was ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t know how we’re going to get this out there. Is this even possible?’ But I’m blessed with a scrappy tenacity and that certainly paid off and got us to where we are.
“It [makes] everything all the more rewarding.”