“Essentially that’s what comedy does - it helps you laugh at things that you wouldn’t normally laugh about." ~ David So
At age 23, Korean American comedian David So has been a standup comedian since 2008 in the city of Sacramento. So originally started of as a musician which eventually led to his transition from a musician to a comedian. Before performing on shows where he would strictly perform music So would talk to the audience and make jokes in order to overcome his nerves and warm himself up to the crowds. Gradually, as time passed by, comedy and music both became a part of his performance. During one particular performance where he had to go back to strictly performing music So decided to do standup comedy instead after just 10 minutes of singing on the stage, and thus officially began his career as a comedian.
So began focusing solely on a career in standup comedy at age 20 basing his comedy off of his life - things he thought about, hypothetical situations, and his experiences. Unfortunately pursuing this profession proved to be quite difficult for him as he was a full-time student, working at his parents’ beauty supply store, and two other part time jobs at the time. As a dedicated full time student at Sacramento State So was limited by his work and school schedule when performing in bigger cities outside Sacramento. To So “it was essentially a test to see if (his) material worked in his small niche and in a larger audience" (So).
After a viral video happened to So he began uploading and publishing videos on a regular basis, taking advantage of the opportunity that was presented towards him. So understood the value of social media and social networking way before uploading his videos onto YouTube. In So’s words
“social media is very powerful, especially nowadays - it’s a beast. If you’re not on social media, then what are you doing? Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr - all this stuff is connected. When I was going to write my piece on the sociology of pop culture, I looked into all the social media facets [and] I found out the power of YouTube. You have to really take [these tools] into your hands and push it; if you let it go away, and the spark dies, then you’ll find yourself back at square one.”
As a standup comedian So doesn’t like to plan too many of his acts before his performances so about 50% of his act is improv while the other 50% is planned - but this mostly depends on how long his performances are. For longer sets a good majority of it must be planned out to make sure he doesn’t run out of material. For shorter sets, about 8 minutes or so, So just performs through improv by feeling the demographics and age of the crowd. As So states, “ethnicity and age are two big things in comedy, depending on how your jokes are going to be received. You really have to feel your crowd and demographic and work off that.”
The following video is David So’s most popular video on his YouTube channel where he responds to a situation from last year where a former UCLA student, Alexandra Wallace, rants about Asians in the library.
This is So’s second most popular video where he addresses Asian stereotypes: