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After years of taking jobs he hated and almost losing his life, Mike Kim left everything behind to pursue his true passions. Now he is a standup comedian, actor, and podcaster risking it all to make his dreams come true... the grind never stops.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. His name is Michael Kim. After years of taking jobs that he hated and almost losing his life. Mike Kim left everything behind to pursue his true passions. Now he is a stand-up comedian, actor and podcaster risking it all to make his dreams come true.The grind never stops.
Mike:[00:00:49] That was so intense. That's intense. I appreciate you for inviting me. Thank you.
Bryan: (00:00:59) Super excited to have you on and let's hop in with who you are, man. What was your upbringing like? Where'd you grow up?
Mike: (00:01:04) Okay. So I am first generation or second generation Korean American. So my parents are from Korea. So I grew up in a very traditional house. Where, uh, if you're a natural born creative, you will get destroyed. My earliest memory was my dad, uh, in preschool, he asks, what do you want to be when you're older? And I said, comic book, artist. He was like, he's like, quit. It is no money you're going to die. And I was like, Oh shit. You know? So like, uh, it was just like a constant thing w with that. Um, so you. How does it matter?
Maggie: (00:01:53) Yeah. And you know, we read, you know, other articles about you too, and you know, your voyage LA interview, and, you know, you talked about your father, um, his response about why you said about being a comic book artists, and, you know, I would love to know about your reaction to that, how that kind of shaped your mindset growing up. Yeah, you can go as deep as you.
Mike: (00:02:10) Okay. Okay. Yeah. So basically that was the beginning of kind of the, um, the end of my potential growth, you know, because when, when a child tells you the parent what they want to be, that's not something that they're a hundred percent going to become, but if you allow that to flourish without suppressing that, then there.Not as afraid of the world to be who they are. Cause by my dad doing that, he BA he essentially told me you are not allowed to exist for being you. So that was just a theme because I'm 31. Now that was the theme for my whole life up until probably 29. I didn't allow myself to start truly being me until until 29, you know? Cause I was taking a bunch of jobs. I didn't like, I felt like I had to be a specific way. I felt guilty for having this urge to want to. Be funny and make things right. Like video stuff, just whatever, just, just entertain. So the logical side of me, which came from basically my dad saying like, you can't do that. Like, like even when I discovered I could sing in high school, uh, at first he said that, um, he was like, Oh, he call me singing. He's like, Oh, you can sing. Oh. At any, you know, I was like, yeah. Yeah, because I'm learning from my friend's mom. And then we would have recitals every year and then one day my grades weren't good enough. And then he was like, that's all you do. All you do is sing. That's all you do. And I was like, I go once a week on a Friday after school for one hour to learn from my friend's mom. So because of that, I stopped. And that was actually the one thing I learned. Uh, how to express my emotions because I was raised by my dad. So my dad would hit me a lot and he would hit me more if I cried, but he would stop hitting me if I got angry. If I stood there, just like, I'm just scowling, just like, you know, like that, he kind of looked at me with pity and be like, Oh, that means wash your face and walk off. So at Tommy to use anger as a strength and as like a defense mechanism, Um, but I was always insecure because I was so like, uh, I forgot where I was going with this and then this thing he thinks. So because, because I stopped seeing sort of all these things I like to do, like creatively that allowed me to express myself. So once I stopped doing that, like the singing thing I got into drugs. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry to take your smile away. Um, because I, I, cause I didn't know how to deal with my emotions. I just felt crazy, you know? And, uh, I got pretty heavy into drugs. Uh, there's like two years of my life where I don't really remember a lot because I'm part of the line did a lot of drugs and shit anyways. So then, um, then I went to. You know, I tried to finish college and I ended up transferring to Cal state Northridge, got a degree in communication studies. And then, you know, um, and even then the whole time, I'm like, what am I doing? I don't know why I'm doing this. It was just so confusing. I kept feeling lost. Um, but the, the one really good thing that came from me transferring to that college was they had an open mic night for up, and it was my last year there. And I was like, you know what people keep saying? I'm funny. But how funny am I really like, these are people that know me or friends of friends or people in public. They're nice because it's, you're supposed to be right. So was like, what if I just do stand up in front of a bunch of strangers? Let me test myself. So then I did my first open mic, uh, before I went up, I felt like I was going to, um, Can I curse on this simultaneously? I was number 13 on the list. I felt like I was going to shit myself, piss myself, pass out, get a nose bleed, and then die, like all at once. I've never felt all at once. I never felt that in my life. And. I went to the bathroom. Like I think six or eight times before I went up to keep checking my armpits.
I just couldn't stand myself. And I go to the bathroom trying to pee. I'm like, Oh, nothing's coming out. What am I doing? And I did that over and over and over and over and over. And then, and then it was like, you know, then I go back and I'm like, Oh my God. And then he's like, okay, coming up next to the host is like coming up next. He's a very funny guy. I'm like, how do you know buddy? I just met you. And I was like, Oh, I'm gonna walk in. And then the stage is right here, right? Like the border and I'm walking. And then as soon as one foot touched the stage, you like dissipated all that. And then I had an out-of-body experience and then I crushed it for my first open mic. And then I bombed everyone after, but so, so anyways, so like that was the first taste of it, but then. And that's at 25. I parked it a lot. So I graduated later in college, but then, then, uh, you know, I just kind of left that behind and then did the whole, I felt guilty for that. And then just did marketing and a bunch of jobs. Like I said, that didn't really enjoy until it got to the point where I'm 20, like 28, 29.That's when I was just like, fuck this. The work I was doing it, it sucked, it really sucked because I was forcing myself to be this introverted Brianna computer, all day guy. Who's just doing like email marketing. There's a bunch of stuff. That's not really me. And I, I would basically like yell at myself in my head. Like you fucking loser, like how to fuck you.Like you don't deserve to make like, do do it calm, you know? And I should like, really you, you don't even make money. Who the fuck are you? You piece of shit. I would talk to myself all the time, you know? And, uh, then it got to the point where I was, uh, I was gonna hang myself. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. Because I just, I just felt so I didn't, I didn't allow myself to live and be me for so long. And that's when I. I discovered I had to look into it. So I left everything behind. I moved back home and then I looked into my childhood trauma. So for like three months or so I did nothing except sit in front of the couch and allow my, and just like watch Netflix or play video games and just tell myself you're allowed to do this because even when I would have leisure time, My brain will be like, you fucking idiot. Like, Oh my God, you're wasting your time. What are you doing? So I, I could never relax. I was always on it on the edge, uh, with anxiety and just like this, like a low-level depression and anxiety. And then, um, so I would always re I kept reverse engineering, everything. And I'm like, where does this come from? Where what all these crazy thoughts come from? You know, reversing thinner. Like as soon as I had thought of. Uh, uh, you're not allowed to use, like you fucking suck. It's like origination engineer, where did it STEM from? Blah blah. Like why, why blah, blah, blah, blah. And it kept coming back to me. And the thing, I didn't say it was my dad, he passed away when I was 21. So like I learned that all these crazy thoughts I had, it wasn't really my voice. It was, it was the voice of my father being chosen more Stu my own voice. Yeah. You know? And then through like heavy therapy with all that stuff. I, I figured all that out and that got rid of 90% of my resting anxiety and depression. And I'm the happiest I've ever been because now I'm allowing myself to do what I want to do, you know? And, and, and I'm still brand new in this. Right. I have a long way to go. It's only been two years, but it really feels like, like I'm living for the first time in my life. Yeah. Like legitimately, so,
Maggie: (00:10:05) wow. Yeah. This is a very powerful story. Yeah. That is extremely powerful. And you know, first of all, I just want to say, sorry about your dad. Um, I'm really glad that their RP had helped you a lot in the past couple of years. And, you know, I feel like what you said is so true because a lot of our parents, no matter, you know, who, what ethnicity or race we are, a lot of our parents, they say things to us because they want to influence us. Right. And we look to them for influence. And we look up to them because they're, you know, the first people that we know exactly. Um, and a lot of what they say to us influences our mindset and our mentality. It could be about anything. Let's say if like I wanted to do makeup as a younger child. Right. And if my parents said, Oh, you look horrible makeup. Every time I would do makeup as an adult, that voice would ring in my head, you know, and that would affect me and traumatize me and about like childhood trauma. You know, a lot of us have, I think we think of ourselves and we think of our flaws, right? Most of the time. And. It goes back to our childhood experiences and childhood trauma. So a lot of the times we don't even realize that we have childhood drama trauma until we look back and like, think about and reflect on it. So I love that you brought that up.
Bryan: (00:11:16) Yeah. Yeah. I mean, from my own experience too, like my parents will always be little me when I cook as a kid and same thing, they were like, yeah. They're like, why are you cook? He has no money. He needed to like study. Wow. Yeah. So even to this day, when, whenever I try to cook, I'm like, ah, I should have been a chef, you know, because I don't listen to them like an engineer. Um, but that voice, I completely understand where you're coming from. It's just always there, you know? And yeah. I mean, hopefully, eventually I want to, I want to be able to cook again in my life, but like for now it's like, I just, um, I think I'm still going to the same trauma as well. I do understand where you're coming from. And the other thing it's kind of funny because when I was kid, I loved talking to strangers. I always go to people and be like, hi, hi, sir. How are you doing today? Um, who, who are you? Like? I was asked the basic questions. Right. And it's funny too, cause that sort of linked me to creating Asian hosts from network because I like hearing people's stories. I like listened to people. I like understanding how people work. And good thing like that part, they never discouraged. I don't know why, like I would just literally talk to some random ass people at the grocery store he's walking around the store. Well, like that's the part that this is sort of foster because they wanted me to be social. But the part where my true passion is, I love, I used to love to cook. But now when I watch cooking videos and take talk, I'm like, God damn it. It should've been me. I have no skill.
Mike: (00:12:47) That's so funny that they, you know, you're a kid and then your parents were like, Hey, don't cook. Right. But then. You're talking to strangers and there's like, yeah, talk to that strange person we never met before. Like could potentially kidnap you. Go ahead.
Bryan: (00:13:03) Maybe it's a luminal messages. Maybe, maybe
Maggie: (00:13:07) the first show went really well. Right. And then you said the ones after that didn't go really well, but. We know, like to combat, you're kind of feeling nervous being on stage. Do you actually go out on stage 300 times in, in like about one year, a little bit over a year, every day. Yeah. Experience about that. And you know, w w how did you feel like what was going through your mind at that time?
Mike: (00:13:32) Yeah, so, um, I, uh, okay. Just to clarify, majority of those are open mikes, obviously. Okay. Yeah. But that's still stage time at the end of the day. Um, aye. So when I started getting into the circuit, people didn't accept me. They would ignore me. I remember there was one guy I still fucking, I talk about him all the time, but I'm not gonna say his name, but I saw him like eight times and I, Hey man, what's up. And then I was like, Hey, you know, I went in for like a fist bump and then he had like three friends there and he'd been doing it for like six years assumption. He did this, he was like high school. He was like, Oh, what's up, man. He didn't even look at me, continued conversation. I was like, come on. Like, nobody was really giving me a chance or wanting to be my friend or anything. Um, it was always very different than life, you know? Yeah. So. And then I realized that, Oh, it's because there's also a high turnover rate when it comes to standard convenience people, everybody thinks they can do it right. Elementary and think of plenty. They come, they go, they do it. They're like, Oh, Oh, this hurts, this sucks. And then they never come back. So people don't really like to invest like that. But also I took it really personally just cause like, if it felt like in my mind, people were against me, whether it was true or not, um, it, it, it. Built this fire within me. So I just told myself, you know what, um, I'm going to get so good that you're not going to be able to deny me of my existence and the fact that I'm here, like, I'm going to fucking show you guys, you know? So I said, what's one thing I can control because people aren't really putting me on shows. What's one thing that I can control. I can control how many open mics I go to. And. I can tough in my, my, uh, mental resolve and gain. Get to the point where I just don't give a fuck. So I just kept forcing myself and I wanted to quit every day for the first, probably like four to six months around there.Like literally every day. I'm just like, why are you doing this? Why the fuck are you doing it? This sucks. You know, I just constantly bombing everybody. Just kind of staring at you, people pulling out their phone, just like in front of you, you know? Cause cause the communities don't give a fuck they're they're so jaded and they just, and then I kept blaming them and then, um, I told myself, you know, what, full accountability, what if you stop blaming them? Because the more I blame them, the more I wanted to quit. So what if I just look at just so jaded? What if the guy on his phone, when he's like this? What if I say something? And then when he looks up like this, it gives a little smirk. I imagine that as like, like a crazy laugh, right? So I changed my perspective on that and.Uh, just went multiple times a day. I did like, you know, sometimes two or three open mics a day, you know, and it just kept going, kept going and kept going. And I knew if I didn't stop, eventually something's got to give. And I finally hit that point where I realized, Oh, I don't get affected by them at all. Like I don't get, it's not even just damaged me my own sensitivity, my own insecurity. My own feeling of acknowledge me, acknowledge me, acknowledge me, validate me. By laughing. That's not the point I've opened mixed up the portable, but my ex is a bootcamp to just let you know that you can, you can fucking hang and to get you to a point where you just don't care.And by not caring, you become more of who you are. And what I saw was that one, I hit that point. They started to pay attention and they could feel my energy and my presence because I was no longer in my head of like, okay, if I say this next one, going to make them laugh. No, it was just like, this is me.This is what I think is funny. This is who I am. Take it or leave it. I don't give a fuck. Right, right. So that's why I did it that many times. And then now I have friends in the circuit and, um, you know, I have. Uh, they don't do like, you know, they don't do that shit. Yeah. Yeah. He
Bryan: (00:17:40) has a lot of good lessons from it. Or your attitude has changed. Your mindset has changed and re mentality has changed. It's crazy how you tweak the little things and your whole perspective on your life changes. Yeah, that's a thank you for sharing that, man. And we watch a lot of your content. Like this is something that we watch at night before we go to sleep for a good laugh. And we love the unimportant unimportant messages behind your content. That's the reason why we want you in this podcast because you like not only straight frustrated way, like pivot from a conventional path to unconventional path. Well, I've found ways to be themselves. And that's so important with the Asian culture. You know, a lot of us that we see ourselves, we're not unapologetic. We can voice herself correctly. We were scared to speak up. That's why we want to highlight people. Like you might listen to your story. Just makes it even more special. Like we had no idea that you were going to drink this much, this much things until we started looking you up and have you in the podcast. And. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there, especially inside of Asia. Now, our community feels this way. They feel trapped. There's a reason why you've been growing so quickly. And there's a reason why I agreed to 70,000 members and like less than a year, you know, a lot of people are feeling that maybe, maybe there is a life outside of corporate. It, maybe they have potential that they want to tap into, you know, but they're scared. Do you need to listen to your story because actually resonates with us. And that resonated to a lot of people to be like, you know what, fuck it. I'm going to do it. I'm going to show the world how special I am. I'm going to stop giving a damn because the worst thing you can do with your life is get to your retirement years and look back and be like, why was I so scared to do any of these things? Why. You know, and if we can, if we can provide a path, that story, that, that sense of relief that they can do at a much younger age while living likely to regret this is our mission. This is our goal. We want this to happen.
Maggie: (00:19:41) Yeah, absolutely agree. And I love that you said that. You didn't find your voice until you started being yourself and you started being authentic. And I feel the same way about soap, like Brian and I are trying out tick-tock we have been doing Tik TOK videos. Yeah. We stuck with, and for our listeners, um, well, you know, we'll dive into tech talk in a little bit, you know, but. Mike has about 300,000 followers on Tik TOK. So that's amazing. Um, but yeah, so Brian and I are, we've been like, you know, playing around with Tik TOK. We also can't dance. At least you can sing, but like, Initially when I was trying to do videos, I was always, so self-conscious about the videos that I was doing and putting out of like recording myself. Cause I would always be like, Oh my hair doesn't look good. Or like the message I'm conveying is imperfect. It doesn't make sense. Or I stuttered or something like that. And I always go back into like my self-conscious mindset and be like, it's not perfect enough. I don't want to post this online where everyone can see, but I was like, okay, you know what? Like if I'm not going to post anything, I'm never going to post it. And they started having this mindset where I'm just like, I'm just going to do it. I'm just going to post whatever. And then I'm just going to gradually like find my voice. And I feel like, you know, that's exactly what you did and you just started being yourself and you're just like, you know, F it, like, I'm just going to go on stage and be myself and find my voice. And then that's when, you know, people recognize that you're being authentic. You're being true.
Bryan: (00:21:12) Yeah. And hats off to you too. You want to give you a lot of prompts. When you look at your videos as case studies for ourselves, we can't, we can't find a lot of Asian creators out there that speak the way you do incubate the way you do. It's just a similar vibe. And it's the greatest thing about like social media, especially tech talk. Is it because. You as, as viewers, you can sense if the person is being authentic, you know, if that person being treated themselves and then you resonate with them and you like you like, and you like their videos too, you know?So thank you for that, Mike. That's the reason why we wanted you on here too, because you know, we watch a lot of your videos. We'll be like, okay, Fucking my hair's too long.
Mike: (00:21:53) Thanks for making me feel like you're the parents I never had. You're still supported. Like, are you doing great? I'm getting a little more. So I'm like, what if they were my parents? What if I was five? I'd be like, okay. I'll, I'll be a comic book artist
Bryan: (00:22:07) and asked you like to talk like it's um, yeah, it's been such a powerful platform to see you grow on there. Right. What was that mentality? Like, how did you spot the opportunity to pivot most of your content on detector?
Maggie: (00:22:21) Yeah, because I'm assuming during COVID you couldn't do a standup anymore. Right. And it seems like you pivoted to tick talk. Yeah. What was that experience like?
Mike: (00:22:31) So I actually was against Tech-Talk for a while. Before that I was the only do is Dan, this is lame. You know, I was being a hater, like an old man hater, like, Oh, there's a name we're only going to make content. That's high quality DSLR, skits on YouTube, you know, all that shit. Um, but then you quickly realize that it's harder to have people with the same, uh, dedication and passion as you to meet up the duties things and you know, the timing and scheduling, blah, blah. But anyways, so then basically. Um, you know, I get on Tik TOK because of Gary Vaynerchuk. He just kept talking about it. He was like, you know that stuff. Oh, you know what? Fuck I'll do it. He's right. He's right. About pretty much everything. I was like, I'll just do it. And then I had a, uh, what if it started creeping up? And then I had a, um, what is it. One of the last times I was on set, working with my friend, uh, for like background acting. Uh, we, we, we decided we're going to do a 60 day challenge one video a day for 60 days and appointed that was to get over in what you're talking about, getting over the perfection aspect, eating in your head, you know, just do it, just put anything out, whatever, right. Plus the fact that. During that time too, then, you know, like that's a Corona hit. And then, um, a lot of standard comedians weren't, you know, they were just kind of playing victim and saying, well, I can't do standup. I'm sad. I'm doing, I'm like fucking do something. There's other things, social media. So anyways, um, posted every day. And then it got to the point where I didn't give a fuck, same, same concept with the open mikes of Santa comedy. You just keep doing it enough where you're like, it doesn't even matter anymore. You know, like the value metrics, the likes, the view, whatever I was like, fuck it. I'm just going to be me. I don't even care anymore. And then I was like, then I came up with this one video idea. I said, I was like, huh, how do I be vulnerable, honest and help. So I remembered all for so many years, I had a bunch of friends. Friends that are girls. They kept coming, coming in for advice about like dating about these specific guys. And it was just the same exact patterns I saw. And I kept repeating myself and I was like, this is so cool. I feel like if this many girls say this about this. Uh, then I'm just going to put a video out there and hopefully help somebody. Cause I feel like it's got, it's gotta be universal. So I called the confessions of a former fuck boy. Remember? Yeah. Yeah. So I basically explained the reason why I was able to help my friends was I was like, you know, the guy that, the shit that they're doing, I did that.I was a piece of shit. So I'm telling you, I know exactly what they're doing. So I was like, okay, let me just admit some of the manipulative, uh, you know, like mentally manipulative things I did before. Um, uh, and then I, I made that video and then I wake up the next day with like, like hundreds and hundreds of notifications and that, you know, cause I was like, you know what people think? I look, they're going to judge me on that. Fine, whatever, but I'm, I'm, I'm trying to help. Fuck it. Uh, and then, and then I just get blown up. I have, I have a paper up there where I actually recorded. Well, how fast that was growing in the beginning compared to now was just like, I'm barely growing up, but it was insane. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:26:02) Wow. That's awesome, dude. But we also have a whiteboard too. Yeah. Write down how many followers we have some of the attractive, yeah.
Maggie: (00:26:10) Sometimes when you get scholars, you're like, damn, what did I do wrong? You know,
Bryan: (00:26:13) I'm like, Oh,
Mike: (00:26:14) it makes you doubt yourself. It really does. It makes you doubt who you are, your message your worth. And then, and then, you know, and also with time you get a little better at that. Yeah. But what I've learned is. The more you have in terms of followers, the more you feel like you have to lose. And because of that, that's when, what initially got you to followers by you not caring and being more authentically you, it can start to warp and change who you are because now you want to cater just to them because you're thinking, Oh, they want this, they want that.Or they want me to be this. And that's when you can lose yourself. Cause I've had moments like that as well. Right. Especially now, because I don't have, you know, I'm not doing stand up. Like I was to wear. That's the reality anchor. So when you put all your focus on the internet world, that you really start to judge yourself based off of these shallow metrics, which don't really matter so much because you can't always control the algorithm account. I mean, I've, I've posted videos twice. Like the same video where one, I posted a once, nobody watched it and then I repost it with a different caption and it hit a million views. Yeah. So is it me? I don't know. There's a lot of factors, right? So I think there's something that a lot of people go through and a lot of people, especially on Instagram, when are you going to follow it? I don't know about you, but I take it extremely personally. Cause I know who it is. I'm like, what the fuck? We're not friends, a person. I can't wait until we bump into each other and I'm going to be passive aggressive. I'm gonna be like, okay. And walk off
Bryan: (00:27:53) for me. It's like different, you know, seven views. Oh shit. One light. Yes. Someone likes me that one person. I don't know who you are. I thank you.
Mike: (00:28:01) That's how it should be. That's how you supposed to think. You get to use to when you take things for granted. And, but, uh, but, but yeah, now fortunately, we're talking at a time where I am in that pocket up. Gratitude and, you know, just, yeah, we're here. This is, this happened because of that. We wouldn't be talking. So, you know, I'm grateful for that.
Bryan: (00:28:23) I do. I didn't want to put a message out there too, that a lot of these numbers are just numbers. You know, they don't define who you are or what you're about. Keep doing you. You know, put content out there that makes you happy. And I got that from Gary V if it says
Mike: (00:28:40) and he, and he's right, but how do you guys feel right now with, uh, like your comfort level in terms of putting yourself out there on Tik TOK?
Bryan: (00:28:49) We challenged herself over the last three months. We put out three pieces of content a day.
Maggie: (00:28:55) It's hard. It's hard.
Bryan: (00:28:58) It's cause like when we're, when our backs against the wall, For forces you to enforce it now, dance, you know, that's the only lesser closed.
Everything was going
Mike: (00:29:08) dance like nobody's watching.
Maggie: (00:29:09) Yeah, for sure.
Bryan: (00:29:11) It actually makes us more creative or pushing you into the wall. Oh no. Do we want to make, and that's the next question I want to ask you too. Like, do you ever have a creator's block where it's like, man, I'm like, I don't, I should post today, but I have no idea what I should post today. And how do you overcome that? I was inspiration behind the.
Mike: (00:29:28) Yeah. So, um, I sort of learned about creator's block. It's not a real thing. The only time you get a block is when you judge yourself, right? Because you're expecting some kind of results for whether it's from other people or from some kind of expectation that you may have the ID anticipation of it. That's where the anxiety comes from anticipation. So it's kind of like what they say when it comes to dating and girls it's like text and forget if she doesn't respond right away. Okay. She may, sometimes they'll respond a week later the weeks who knows it, but that could still turn into a date like text and forget post and forget, stop, keep checking notifications. Right. So, uh, it's just aye. Like you said about putting your back against the wall. That's a necessity now, lately, I haven't been posting like that every day. So that will make me sound kinda like a hypocrite, but you're absolutely right. In terms of that type of output, because Daniel coming from a place of non-judgment cause you just don't care. Yeah. It just, you just don't care. And also certain pieces of content, even if it has 5% of the normal views that you would have on average. It could be a little bit more niche and that can actually help that specific amount of people and really resonate with them deeply. And that's what I've realized as well.And that helps them develop even greater relationship with you. And I think it's more important just to have just more quality, intimate relationships with your community, then there's be like, um, yeah, you can have like a million followers and still, nobody really cares about you. Yeah. They like her stuff, but do they really care about you? How much do they really know about you? Right. Yeah. It's true. Yeah. Very true.
Maggie: (00:31:25) Yeah. And you know, now that I think about it, you know, because you were posting out videos and content about relationship advice, I can understand why it got so much engagement because like personally, if for a girl, like, I love to know what. You know, why I'm thinking back to like relationships and stuff? Like, why did they do this? Or like, why did they think that way? You know, and most guys wouldn't put themselves out there and tell people like why they did the things that they did in relationship. Right. And so girls like look to that. Was there like a moment in time where you like experience absolute growth, like some, some video that like made you, you know, go viral or was it pretty natural growth?
Mike: (00:32:11) Before that compressions of a former fuck boy video, because that's the one that made me go viral. And actually, I have people told me that they, when there was girls that would watch it and take notes, which just blew my mind. I'm like, yeah. Yeah, crazy. So it was that. And then I've had a few other videos where, um, So then it ties back into what, what do I care about? What do I think is interesting? So like Filipino culture, I hung out with only Filipinos from the Philippines for a few years. So I'm very familiar with their culture and there's things that I thought was funny. And then I'd make videos based off of that and their culture without, you know, I'm not making fun of them It's just like, you know, like a play with the culture. Cause I respect it. And those exploded too. So could cause it, people would think it's pretty weird. It's like, why is it, why does a Korean guy know how to sing? Filipino songs and know so much about the food. And so it's, it's, it is a little weird, I guess it'd be think about it, but that ties in with who I am and what I find interesting. And I really liked different cultures and stuff like that. So, you know, those ones, uh, you know, Like the confessional confessions form of fuck what they ended up being a series and people really liked it. But then I stopped making an effort to 12 one because people started looking at me as some kind of grew and I'm like, Hey, by the way, guys, I've never been in one healthy relationship. They've all been toxic. I'm just telling you, I'm telling you what I know and what, like. That's you know, stuff to look out for, but I, I can't really tell you how to be in a really healthy place. So I, I just, I just didn't want to keep answering dating questions. So I stopped.
Bryan: (00:33:47) Yeah. Yeah. Let's actually take it back. One more notch. I'm kind of curious too. At what point do you realize that this is like, your career is real? Like you can make this happen, that you started feeling more confident and I was like, great question, which is like, you know what? I can do this. What does that,
Mike: (00:34:04) what a great question. That is such a good question. Yeah. So there was two, two specific moments. One was eight, um, eight months into my, my, my standup journey. Um, I ended up. Uh, producing our first show at West side comedy theater, which is, it's not a comedy store. It's not the improv, but it's still low respected, you know, you'll see Jimmy O yang Dara's scene scene Dave Chappelle. Um, Adam Sandler has part of his standup special there. Wow. Um, and it was on a day. Okay. Right before July 4th, it was a late time slot. And we just weren't sure if anybody's want to show up. Um, cause the, the business partner at the time, which we split up, he, uh, he was like, I don't know about this brother. Maybe we should ask for another date. And then I got fired up and I was, no, no, we're gonna take it. They want it. They put us in a spot to test us, fucking show them. We don't preach his fucking goal. And he's like, all right, brother. All right, we'll take it. And then I was like, Oh shit, we committed. So that, uh, yeah. You know, we do the market and do all that stuff and sold out the show. Yeah, granted, uh, I would say like 30% was our friends, but the rest were strangers and then just demolished. Every comedian killed people. This is the best dental school I've ever been to. And none of these are celebrities, you know, standing room, only standing room only. Seats were taken. They had to stand by the bar. It was packed. Right. And then I, and then I, and then, uh, I finished the show. Okay. And then I was like, Whoa, I think I belong because you gotta realize up until that point, I had one little show and that was with mostly other convenience. So it was like, I didn't really know. Cause you just keep practicing in front of the community. We don't give a fuck. So you don't really, really know, but you're like, you just trust the process. You trust the work. And then it got validated that one day I was like, Oh, okay. All right. I think, I think, I think I can do this. And then the second point was then I started putting out, uh, videos, which are kind of like my throwaway standup jokes. And then those would start getting big. And I was like, Oh, they think that's funny. It's like doing stand-up. But for complete strangers and they like it. They like what I have to say, you know, besides the dating shit. Oh my God, yo. And then when I hit a hundred K I live streamed it. At that point, I started crying. I started tearing up cause it hit me. I was like, I have a hundred people. Care about what I have to say or find value in me based off of what I, my words that let me know, Oh, I fucking belong here. Cause I'm not there doing like, not shitting on them, nothing wrong with the dancing stuff, but you know what I'm trying to do? No, no, no, I don't know it. Shut down. Yeah. I gotta follow you. I got to follow you, but, um, Yeah, that those are the two points where I realized I fucking belong here. Yeah. You know, those, those two moments.
Maggie: (00:37:33) Yeah. Yeah. I love how it's just like a prime example of consistency and, you know, just working at it until you actually get to that point where you feel like this is all worth it.
Bryan: (00:37:46) Yeah. We see your girls throughout your entire story too, and not to be creepy, but we would follow you for a little bit now. You know, in all your skin, you follow like all your skin. Absolutely hilarious too, because you know, sometimes you poke at the recently it's like all Asians look alike. We saw that video
Maggie: (00:38:07) or like Asian girls getting with white guys, you know, like pretty controversial stuff.
Bryan: (00:38:12) You like every facet of your personality shine through. And that's awesome.
Mike: (00:38:17) Yeah, I appreciate that. You guys noticed that because that, that's what I'm trying to do. Cause uh, I will put myself into a box at certain times. They can, I just have to be a comedian and I'm like, no, I'm so much more than that. Like, I love deep conversations. I love talking about things that, uh, can unify people or that can heal people, you know, and just being very honest about things. Cause, uh, that's, that's a necessity. And uh, going back to your point before where we talked about, um, No, agent's not really speaking their mind as much. It's we, we need to do that. And we need more people to do that because it's kind of like every time we have somebody that does do that on a regular basis, it's like when you're on a, I don't feel old. And, and the Imperial times, like the swords and shields and whatever, and then you have that person with the flag. So that boosts the morale, even when they're losing, even though they're getting tired, they look at that flag and they're like, no, no, this is why let's go. So that's and I told myself in the beginning, um, I'm not trying to make myself sound like some bad ass initiative, but I, before all this, I was, I told myself in the very beginning, I said, I'm willing to be the Vanguard for the Asian community. Like I'm willing to take the shit if people want to. Crucify me like I'll, I'll, I'll take it because you know what, at the end of the day, when I grew up, when I was growing up, I hated being Asian. You know, I wanted to be everything, but Asian, I didn't like myself and those few people that were on the internet, like just getting films and stuff and Timothy, Della legato, they were the only things I could look up to that. But even then it wasn't that, that wasn't enough. Yeah. But the fact that they were there and helped help so much from just dipping so low, they were just like, boom, boom. It's okay. I still don't like myself, but no, no. They like something about these guys made them able to do what they could do back then. So, um, Yeah.
Bryan: (00:40:30) Yeah. That's, that's so powerful. And thank you for being the Vanguard. You know, we, that was a lot of pressure because we got to
Mike: (00:40:39) you're one of them, there's a lot of Asian, Vanguard's just saying I'm not, you know, I'm not like, you know,
Bryan: (00:40:30) but wait a minute, we're pretty sure it officer S underneath there,
Mike: (00:40:49) like two, two pieces of hair.Not that much.
Bryan: (00:40:52) Not that much. Yeah. I mean, it's. We feel it because we tried to be, I don't know if that the already worded, but we try to be role models for the Asian community. And it's not an easy task, you know, we can speak from our experience. Tila, our community is one of the best communities out there. Barrasso. The first is shit on each other and pull the spend down for these tests.
Mike: (00:41:15) Yeah. Oh my God. That's so true. That's so true. By the way, I love what you're doing and you are literally, you're not even just one of the Vanguards, but you are one of the innovators for sure. Cause you, you created this whole network where people can go to and look at, Oh, I can do this. I can do that. Or like all of these stories that you're putting together. It's going to really sink into, especially the younger generation, because there's going to be common themes amongst each person that they're going to be like, Oh, so it's not just me and this one person on a chant. It's tons of them. Yeah. You know, and that's going to make them realize that it's okay to feel what they feel or that they want to, you know, it's all going to do some of the things that they do. But no, but I mean, anyone's going back to you like that. Like, what you're doing is a very fantastic thing. It it's, I don't really know any other ones. I don't know, stuff like that. So like props to you, like, like really.
Bryan: (00:42:13) Thank you. Thank you. We appreciate that. And we just speaking from experience too. It's not easy, you know,
Mike: (00:42:20) can you talk about the, the, uh, pulling down aspect? Cause I'm, I'm interested in.
Bryan: (00:42:23) Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, with the Asian mentality, it's like, We only helped to a certain point. Yeah. Right. Once the goal is accomplished, the job is done and doesn't work that way. You know, it doesn't build any foundations that way, but I wasn't help you get into that leadership position. We stopped supporting you, you know, easily, you there to struggle because to us, it's like, we have other things to worry about here. We got you there. What about your own stuff now? But that's not how you build change. That's not how you build a community. And then with that leader is now struggling. We're just like, damn, we put the wrong person in the wrong positions. He's representing us, screw him, let's pull them down. You know, he doesn't represent us. And that seems to be a common, common trend among Asian politicians, among Asian leaders. That's why. Our parents actually discourage us to be that visible. This is a reason why, like, when we started Asian loss network, people are like, are you sure you want to be that visible?Like just be behind the scenes. But when we talked to other Asian leaders out there through our podcasts or do mentorship, the one thing that keeps saying to us, we regret not putting ourselves out there more. Why? Because we can't because our impact and influences cap by our company's brand. People don't know who we are behind the scenes. No. And that's because we're taught to not stand up to the leadership position because our parents felt it too. Every time they stepped up, every time they spoke out a line or no, not work or keep their head up, like stick out of the bunch that you had called out, you know? So with that mentality, it's like, No one wants to step up, no one wants to do this. And we're also not accustomed to doing that. You know, we're not accustomed to having media, is that correct? Presenting and continuing supporting them. And also the word Asian in America or Western world is Israeli to me, new, you know, a generation goal. Our grandparents were fighting each other in Asia. You know, and when we come over here, it's like, Hey guys, you're, they're all the same. Now
Maggie: (00:44:33) know how to do that? You know, all the ethnicities, they kind of stick with their own little groups. Yeah. Our parents had taught
Bryan: (00:44:46) we're so new. We're so new. Like the Asian word is so new and all we're going through right now. It's normal. It really is really all of us are pioneers because we're still trying to figure out what that even means, because now we're at an awkward stage. It's like, we're Asian, but we're not Asian. You know, you go back to Asia. It's like are obviously not from Asia. We just pointed out, you know, I mean, not from Asia, you want me here? He's like, you're obviously not American enough. It's like, all right, what the hell are we? You know? So we're still building the identity and that's okay. But same time we have to unlearn a lot of things that were taught through us, by our parents, our grandparents. By generational beliefs, because now all of us are responsible for creating this new identity for us to belong to. You know? So people like you, people, like you mentioned before, bar Kwan or all these other YouTubers are pioneers for our generation. Because as we were looking around, there's nothing like us yet. You know, there's nothing like us. So all of this is unique, so thank you for what you're doing. Right. Appreciate that.
Maggie: (00:45:49) I appreciate it. And just to echo off what Brian said, like, we're still learning how to work with each other, you know, all the Asian ethnicities and we're learning every day.We're, you know, we're making improvements while we still have a lot of work to do. You know, like sometimes we see, you know, H and members talk about, you know, business ideas that they have, you know, or business ideas that they want to start and asking like, Oh, if I had. $30,000. What kind of business idea should I start? You know, and there's, sometimes we see like a lot of scarcity mindset inside the group, too. Yeah. And they'll say like, why would I give you my business idea? But we really have to like, shape people's mindset to make them believe like, you know, we can work to together. You know, we're all Asian at the end of the day.Like we all go through the same struggles, you know, Being Asian in America, like finding our Asian identity. It's like really hard. And like one thing that we just have to remember is we are a big team. Like we can work together.
Bryan: (00:46:46) Yeah. I'll take the brunt of a lot of things too, because Asian people are the first to get angry, hella fast.calm down guys. I know that all this repressed anger is chill. I'm on your team. Relax.
Mike: (00:47:02) They'll get mad at you guys?
Bryan: (00:47:03) all the time. So many, uh, mediums make us question.
Mike: (00:47:10) What do they get mad at you for there?
Maggie: (00:47:12) Most of the members are extremely nice. Like, because a lot of people inside the group, they find business opportunities inside Asia and right. And so. The actually, you know, think myself and Brian for even starting the community, because they'll say, you know, during COVID-19, this was really the reason why Asian was really the reason why, you know, I was able to keep my business open and we always really appreciate those, you know, responses, but there are people who, you know, are angry because sometimes we don't approve their posts or, you know, but. A lot of those posts that we don't approve are like promotional posts, like very salesy posts. And we have to keep the quality in the post, you know, good quality. And sometimes they just don't understand it, you know, because they just want to put their business out there to 70,000 people.
Bryan: (00:47:57) Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this is a whole different conversation about the purpose of everything is always driven by that making the world a better place. That's where we're coming from. No one pays us for this, my little make money from this. If we do all this goes back to making it better, you know, this is truly our passion project. It really what it is, you know? And yeah, I just, your story resonates. So that's a lot, like we fully know where you're coming from a lot more than you think, and, you know, We're here as a team. That's the, that's the point. And whoever's listening to this podcast to who resonate. Where's the team, you know, reach out anytime we'll we'll definitely respond.
Mike: (00:48:42) So do you guys do all this work and you got barely make shit basically now. Yeah. Okay guys. So what does listening to this fucking appreciate these guys like, Oh, wow.That was quick. You guys get it more now, but we definitely have an understanding there in terms of like, you know, the STEM. Okay. Yeah. When you know that people, when people are fucking need to know that shit.
Bryan: (00:47:57) Don't worry. Don't know, as long as, as long as we know inside, it was great.
Mike: (00:49:19) Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah, no, but I do want to touch upon the whole, like Asian on Asian thing. That's why I made that one video, um, about why people don't take Asian seriously because we, he brought up great points about yet different, uh, ethnicities and you know, we're new here, but still amongst Asian Americans, there are still a lot of this. Division. And, uh, even when I made that video, um, a lot agreed with me because the main point of the video that I made was to unify.But there was a lot, a lot that we're like, that's just you, like, you don't know what you're talking about or you were raised bad or didn't that, you know, people were just really went, went, went off on me and I was like, damn dude. Even just not even just tick talk, man, just like in other platforms that I was like, I was like, Oh shit, Yeah, totally.
Maggie: (00:50:13) So people who like don't have a profile picture to
Mike: (00:50:22) Yeah. Like when I'd be on live stream in a day, they come in and they say like, Oh, you didn't know, you started coronavirus. I'd be like, Hey man, give me your Instagram and let's go live. If you're really that bad-ass, let's go live. Let's roast each other in person. Yeah. And they would all leave. Yeah, let's do it right now. Give me your Instagram. Let's fucking go. Yeah. 10 out of 10 times always leave. It never bothered me again.
Bryan: (00:50:53) Yes. I'll take you up on the offer girls each other
Mike: (00:51:01) positive, bro. Yeah. Yeah. You, you are passionate about what you do and you may not, but you help people.
Bryan: (00:51:11) You too passionate about you do my God damn near,
Mike: (00:51:14) too. Nice.
Maggie: (00:51:15) Mike. You're too funny.
Mike: (00:51:18) You guys look really cool. Like what's your clothes and hair,
Bryan: (00:51:23) but we'll call it the 1960 lives.
Mike: (00:51:25) That's true. I know you guys do look cool, but you guys have like a cool, like modern, uh, Like aesthetic. Yeah.
Maggie: (00:51:37) Likewise.
Mike: (00:51:39) Yeah. Yeah. Well,
Maggie: (00:51:46) Awesome. So we have one last question for you, Mike, and that is what advice can you give to someone who is trying to
Bryan: (00:51:56) keep me from their career,
Maggie: (00:51:57) trying to make the jump pretty much.
Mike: (00:52:04) Was a water break. Um, I would say, forget, forget what you think your friends are gonna think about. You forget what your family is going to think for doing what anybody thinks, because at the end of the day, it's just you, because if you're going to live your life for these society and these thoughts of, you know, appease into your parents and other people. When they pass away, all you have left is resentment and pain and sadness. So you gotta be selfish because then when it can be selfish, you can give back in the way that you want to give. Um, like now I have more love to share with people versus before I was just kind of clinging onto whatever little I could just to protect myself because of the misery.So, you know, Think about that, think about what really makes you happy.] And, um, don't be afraid to go back home. If you have to, if I didn't go back home and move out of the place I was living at and leave all that shit behind and then live off my savings to figure out my, this, you will, that that can haunt you the rest of your life. And it'll basically your mental health and the way you view yourself. And how you accept yourself is going to dictate every single decision you make in your life, relationships, business, whatever. So, um, don't be too prideful focus on what really matters, which at the end of the day, again, it's you, your mental health and what makes you happy? So then don't feel guilty about it by the way people are going to kill you. I've had friends that guilted me or their friends that didn't like the fact that I was getting better. They didn't like that I was getting happier. They wanted somebody to complain with. Even family. People are not going to understand and it's okay. And you're going to feel more lonely than they have ever felt in your life. In fact, I've lost about 95, 90, 95% of the friends I had before, but it's okay. Because once I got over that hump of being alone, I learned to love myself even more. And then I made better friends. So, um, keep that in mind as you make that jump.
Maggie: (00:54:22) Thank you so much, Mike. And how can our listeners find out more about you online?
Mike: (00:54:26) So, uh, everything I have is under the handle of Mike Kim comedy, M I K E K. I am a comedy, one word. That's my YouTube, uh, where I podcasts and you know, a bunch of other content. Um, uh, my Instagram, Twitter, tick-tock everything is Mike Kim comedy. So yeah, check me out. And then the podcast name is called the set breaker three words, the set breaker. Uh, you know, you'll find that again on YouTube and on audio, all audio streaming platforms, iTunes, Google play, Spotify, all that stuff.
Maggie: (00:54:22) Awesome. Awesome. Well, we have that all in the show notes. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, Mike. It was awesome having you on the show.
Bryan: (00:55:06) Thank you, Mike. Appreciate it, man.
Mike: (00:55:08) Thank you guys for having me here. Appreciate it.
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