HOME   BACK to the Columnist INDEX SUMMER 2004

"...and the local CBS affiliate ran commercials all day promoting my Kilborn appearance. It ain't no marching band and a parade down Main Street, but it ain't too shabby."


#1 IN A SERIES... When is it time to make The Big Move? You know, The Big Move from The Little Pond to the Big Pond, where you continue your journey and transform from The Big Fish back into The Little Fish again, in hopes of growing into a Bigger Fish? When is it time to do that?

Presently, I'm a comic-slash-DJ living in Hawaii. That in itself is ironic since The Little Pond known as Hawaii is stuck in the middle of an actual Big Pond called the Pacific Ocean. We don't have a very large comedy scene here, which may be the reason it has taken me a long time to stop sucking at comedy. At least, that's my excuse. I co-headline a showroom in Waikiki, there is a restaurant-brewery that does comedy two nights a week and there are a couple of open mikes around town as well.

However, I have been able to get better at this comedy thing since the first time on stage at a comedy club, where I literally closed my set with the words, "Uh... help?" Yep, it has been a long time since then.

This year, I may have turned the corner from Little Fish in a Little Pond, to Big Fish in a Little Pond. In March I was victorious at the nationwide "Take Out Comedy Competition" finals held here in Hawaii and was crowned "Funniest Asian-American Comedian in The Country." I also starred in a short film, "Amasian: The Amazin' Asian," in which I played a superhero called, duh... The Amazing Asian. And in June I finally got my first late night talk show spot on CBS's Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn.

If you were raised in a small town, you realize the hype that the local media generate every time "one of us" is on the verge of "making it big." If you don't know what I'm talking about, click back to the American Idol episodes you TiVoed where Fantasia Barrino and Diana Degarmo go back to their hometowns. I didn't get the key to the city and the Governor didn't proclaim it "Paul Ogata Day," but I did manage to land the coveted front page of our weekly newspaper. Woo hoo! Previous recipients of that honor include Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Janet Jackson and also "The Spam Lady."

Maybe that wasn't so exclusive after all. But both of the daily paper ran stories on my recent successes, as well, and the local CBS affiliate ran commercials all day promoting my Kilborn appearance. It ain't no marching band and a parade down Main Street, but it ain't too shabby.

So it was with that big send-off that I embarked on my recent trip to two of the biggest "Big Ponds" in the world, Los Angeles and New York City. I was in Hollywood to shoot the Kilborn show, and the next day flew to the Big Apple to appear in a new standup TV show on the WorldAsiaTV cable network. Haven't heard of WorldAsiaTV? Hopefully you will soon, as it is set to debut in Fall 2004. My appearance there was part of the riches and booty involved with winning the Take Out Comedy Competition. By the way, you should read that as a Competition where Comedy can be ordered as Take Out, much in the way Asian food can be ordered. It should not be read as a Competition in which the Comedy has been Taken Out. Hopefully.

At any rate, the trip allowed me to see what goes on in The Big Ponds. Small town folk are generally ingrained with the misconception that we'll never be as good as the "city folk." They're too sophisticated, they're street smart and you won't ever survive on their fancy paved roads and freeways.

Guess what? They're not any more sophisticated or smarter than most of the people I know in Hawaii. And they aren't very likely to survive their own freeways, either. And guess what else? This Little Fish liked the feel of The Big Pond. A lot.

Maybe it is time for The Big Move. HOME Back to the Top