One on One with Aiko Tanaka

 

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PHOTOS SHOT BY: ME!

I decided to add an interview series to my website and the first person who came to mind for this section was Aiko! Aiko is one of my favorite people in the world. In our modeling days, we toured the country non-stop had the same dorky sense of humor and shared a special love for manatees. Aiko was famous for her ripped abs and she was an amazing gift giver, hshe knew I was obsessed with food so she would always send me food gifts by mail. There were crazy house parties, many gigs in Hawaii, and tons of goofing off in hotel rooms. We saw each other through crazy dating situations and she was always there for me when I was going through a hard time. I was always such a bitch and she was always so nice — she always stood up for me by calling me shy instead of just admitting that I was an asshole! Its not surprising to me that she decided to pursue comedy as a career, everyone always knew that Aiko had was hilarious and had the most offbeat sense of humor.

Aiko is now a super respected comic on the standup comedy circuit, touring across the country and appearing all over Hollywood at the famed comedy hotspots!

THROW BACK PHOTOS!

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“Hello kitty doesn’t have a mouth because in my country, the Japanese men prefer women that can’t speak!” – Aiko TanakaAiko Tanaka at The Laugh Factory

Kaila: How is pursuing comedy different from pursuing a modeling career?

Aiko: The difference is that you have to have much more patience in pursuing comedy. Modeling seemed so much easier, I started shooting for magazines and starting touring right away. In comedy it took me about three years to start traveling. English is not my first language, maybe that was also a factor. Another struggle is that I constantly have males coming up and saying perverted things. I used to take it personal but then realize those people would say that regardless of my past modeling career. 

Kaila: What’s it like being on stage as a comedian?

Aiko: I love attention good or bad. Even when I have a bad set, I make it dramatic and I still get attention so…haha

Kaila: What’s it like being a female comic?

Aiko: In Japan we have comedy also, and we have a lot of of female comics and they are all great but they are all ugly and fat and we find it so funny! Thats how I grew up but if you do that here you are called sexist…or, it seems more strict here. Back home its more loose but here people are always talking about “are women funny” or “are men better” like  its a competition. I think people are funny.

Kaila: As an attractive woman does that hold you back in the industry?

Aiko: Thank you! haha I think I’m ok? I think its good and bad. Good in that we look good on stage or tv, bad is that attractive women often get harassed or other male comics don’t treat them right. The industry is male dominated — everytime I enter the room its maybe 2 women and 8 guys. There are more and more Asian comics though!

Kaila: Which comics do you admire?

Aiko: Ali Wong. I really like her style, its different. I like fat people in comedy its funny to me. I’m also a fan of Mitch Hedgburg

Kaila: What is your ultimate goal?

Aiko: I would like to be a cast member, a supporting member, I think that a starring role would be too stressful, too much pressure! I like what Roseanne did. She was Americans sweetheart. Was she? (Kaila: She was more like Americans Anti-Sweetheart!) That was her thing, and I think its really cool what she accomplished although I am not that shocking. That overall road that she walked I liked

In my first three years of pursuing comedy I quit everything, acting, modeling, commercials. In acting I really wasn’t doing anything so it wasn’t that hard to quit, I was just submitting myself on Actors Access to be honest haha. Now I am just starting to pursue it all again

Kaila: What is the day in the life of a comic?

Aiko: I try to perform every night, what I struggle with is what is racist or what is pushing too far. So i need to try it out on a live audience and go up as much as possible. So when I have a show I don’t embarrass myself.

Kaila: Are there any other Japanese comics?

Aiko: Yes my friend Yoshi. You know…I didn’t even know that he had an accent. I can’t hear other peoples accents. I didnt even know that I had an accent. I think I sound fine

Kaila: What would you tell aspiring comics?

Aiko: Just do it, I think the first step is just to do it, to start. I am still learning also. Know its going to be a bumpy road and just enjoy that

Sometimes my set changes because people heckle or when the situation is different. I was in San Diego and I noticed how little things throw me off. The mic stand was not where I thought it was supposed to be so that threw me off and I found it interesting because I started off awkward in my head and the whole set thereafter was awkward -its interesting how our minds work. When I feel awkward they feel awkward. I think about Cesar Milan and his energy with dogs. That’s the kind of energy I want to have!

Kaila: Where can we see you perform next?

I currently perform a lot at The Comedy Store and now at Hollywood Improv!

Keep up with Aiko at her website!

 


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