Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Brush with John Cho


The Hairy Monk is an Irish bar on 25th and 3rd that offers free karaoke on Sunday nights and relatively cheap drinks. I met J and another friend at around 9 to watch the rest of the Giants game. After getting totally sloshed, we decided to head over to our favorite bar, Park Bar over on 15th street between Union Square West and 5th.

Park Bar is a very small obscure bar, which offers overpriced drinks, very bad lighting, music straight off a CD player and rude bartenders. But for some strange reason, it’s always fun. On this Sunday night, the bar was pretty empty except for maybe 15 or so patrons including J, me, and a table of three Asian guys who I later approached and introduced myself to.

“Dude, look at the bar. That’s John Cho.” I point and J looks over.

“Nah… Wait a minute, I think you’re right.”

“I know I’m right, that’s John Cho.” John Cho walks away from the bar and rejoins his group sitting a couple of feet from me. “I’m a fan. I like his shit.”

“You should go over and say something.” J looks over at the table. “Yeah that’s definitely John Cho.”

“Dick, I know.” After a couple of minutes of J telling me that I’m a bitch, and using phrases such as, “It’s not like it’s a chick” and “If you don’t fucking do it, I’m going to do it”, I finally decide to walk over to his table and totally interrupt his conversation. For all I know, he could’ve been in the middle of a really good knock knock joke.

“You’re John Cho.” Just in case he forgot.


“I’m actually a fan.” He surprisingly extends his hand to shake mine. Surprising because I’ve heard somewhere that he’s an asshole in real life, but he was actually being really nice about everything. At first, I almost expected him to drop kick me in the face and yell, “Can’t you see we’re talking here!”

Now I’m not a fan of John Cho because of his stint in the American Pie series in which he coined the phrase MILF. I’m not a fan because of “Off Centre”, a WB sitcom that was quickly cancelled but I thought was one of the WB’s only funny shows and was sad to see it go. I’m not a fan because of the movie “Better Luck Tomorrow”, which was a pretty bad movie but I watched it in the theater and totally supported it because I liked the concept of an Asian movie without the Asian stereotypes. I’m not a fan because of “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”, which I also supported and found to be hilarious. I AM a fan because of this: his MAD TV appearance with Bobby Lee. It just put him over the edge, and I had to cross that line into the scary world of “fandom”.

“I’m assuming you guys are here for the filming of West 32nd Street.”

“Yeah, (he points at the guy sitting across from him) that’s actually the director.”

West 32nd Street is a movie about Korean gangsters. I’m assuming the movie mainly takes place on West 32nd Street which is a problem considering the premise of this movie. West 32nd Street refers to Korea Town which is that tiny strip between Broadway and 5th, and any Asian from NYC knows very well that this strip has never seen a fight in its entire existence. It’s known for its Karaoke joints, weak ass bars, cab drivers who try to solicit guys to go to whorehouses that pay them commission, and restaurants. Gangsters? Hell no. You have a better chance spotting gangsters in Disney Land. Fortunately, some of the movie takes place in Flushing where at one point Asian gangsters did exist. I think they could’ve definitely picked a better location for the title such as:

Chinatown – Damn you Jack Nicholson, Roman Polanski, and all you other fuckers involved with this film. You guys took away a perfectly good Asian gangster movie title and turned it into… well… an Oscar award winning film. Erm... yeah. Damn you…

Prince Street – Located in Flushing, this street’s seen more fighting than the MGM Grand. I’m certain it’s because the location is eerily obscure, and home to one of Flushing’s most notorious gangster pool halls (Play Ball, 4x4, or whatever the hell they changed their name to recently).

Broadway Park – Over in Elmhurst. During the 90’s, gangsters would race to the Asian restaurants lining the street across from this park to see who would get to extort them first. When having disputes over racketeering, what better place is there to settle these disputes than a children’s park?

Disney Land – I wasn’t kidding before, Disney Land is fucking crazy. The Mickey Mouse Club? It’s just a front for a huge organization of murderous assassins, and a drug ring that would make Tony Montana’s head spin. The Mickey Mouse club bred gangsters such as Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Careful, I hear he’s bringing sexy back. And by sexy, I mean MURDER.

There’s a dozen other places I can think of, but West 32nd street would not be on that list.

My sister also has a problem with this film because of one of their actors. You can read about this in her "guido" post.

So, going back to last night:

“Oh, hey, I saw you guys filming outside of Korea Town last night.”

“Ugh, it must’ve looked like a total disaster” says Michael Kang. Typical self-deprecating artist humor. I know it well. Not because I’m an artist too, but because I’m just a flat out loser.

“Nah, it looked fine. I was just surprised that you guys were still working at 5 AM.”

John Cho chimes in, “You know Koreans, always working.”

“Oh yeah, I know, I’m Korean too.”

He looks at me solemnly and says, “I’m sorry…” as if I just revealed that I had a disease.

I laugh and say, “I appreciate your sympathies.”

Then I ran home and got my ¼ finished screenplay and threw it at John Cho’s face. He looked at it and screamed, “This is brilliant! Be my best friend!” Okay fine, that didn’t really happen, but there was an awkward silence followed by:

“Well anyways, it was nice meeting you.” And I shook his hand again and left, at which time they resumed telling each other knock knock jokes. Thus ends my brush with someone famous.

Well. It looks like I’m going to be the proponent of yet another Asian American film. Hooray for West 32nd Street. Oh God shoot me. Unless you’re Justin Timberlake because then you’d probably take this literally.


Anonymous Billy T said...

Welcome back, B.

At least you were considerate when approaching him, and did not gush. You knew who he was, quietly acknowledged his fame, and didn't throw up on him. But I think it would've been great if you had a couple tall glasses of liquid courage in your system.

Any situation is befitting of that, come to think of it.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of John Cho and the Harold and Kumar movies! I wish I met him!

He recently did a very interesting interview on Fancast that you might like:


6:52 PM  

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