Her Father Ignored Her For 8 Months When She No Longer Wanted To Be A Doctor

This may have happened to you (maybe not the musical writing part), or you may know someone from an Asian background who is currently struggling as their parents had strongly expected or already had chosen a job for them.

But how many of you have bravely rejected your parents’ desires, and followed your true passion? Take it from this courageous girl, Joy Regullano. You might remember her from the viral YouTube sketch called White Fetish, or various random acting gigs like the TV Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (her line was “Yeah, bitch!”) or Modern Family (with her line was “You fools!”).

That’s right, Joy is quite too far from wearing a white coat. She’s an actress, comedian, and writer — every Asian parents’ nightmare. So when she told her parents that she didn’t want to be a doctor anymore, her father didn’t talk to her for 8 months. Years later, she wrote a comedy musical about it, called Supportive White Parents.

“Working on this musical has been a major part of my healing journey (my parents are imperfect people who were just passing down intergenerational trauma) and maybe it can be part of yours too,” Joy expresses.

Read through as Joy shares how she has discovered her passion for comedy, and her journey to healing and acceptance through her musical.


My parents were born and raised in the Philippines. My dad grew up very poor in one of the provinces, but after scoring in the top percentage of all students across the country on an exam, he got a scholarship to a prestigious science high school in Manila that was all expenses paid. My parents met in medical school, and soon after graduating, they came to the US by way of New York. Eventually, they made their way across the country to Eagle Rock in LA and then Orange County, where I grew up. 

My whole life, I thought I was going to be a doctor just like my parents. I tried my best to be the perfect daughter. I got straight A’s and took piano lessons since I was 3 and violin lessons starting at 8. (Well, actually, I got one B+ in AP/IB Physics, but we don’t talk about that B+) I studied math outside of school at Kumon and played educational computer games because it was a productive use of my time. I read medical books my parents had lying around the house and had subscriptions to science magazines in high school, for fun.

But as I grew older, there was a part of me that was starting to love writing and making people laugh. For 7th-grade vocabulary exercises, I cared more about making my sentences funny than using the word right. My favorite part about English and Spanish group projects was writing the scripts and acting in them. I wrote bad high school poetry. But I didn’t think that was an acceptable thing to want to do with my life, so I shoved that part down, deep inside me. I did write for the school newspaper and compete in speech contests and debate teams, but that was about the extent of my (public) creative life. 

But as I grew older, there was a part of me that was starting to love writing and making people laugh.

-Joy Regullano


I went to UC Berkeley pre-med and was planning to take over my dad’s clinic when he retired. But in the first semester of my freshman year, I got a B on my first math test and a C on my first chem test, and I panicked. After some soul-searching, I realized I wasn’t actually passionate about any of that and ended up cycling through a bunch of different majors before landing on Theater and Southeast Asian Studies.

I wrote a play in college about a friend who had passed away in high school, and when I put it up in front of an audience, I was hooked. I loved feeling like I could make the audience laugh and cry just by telling an honest story. Just by being myself. I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. I loved Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s work so much that I couldn’t even watch them for a long time because it hurt that I wasn’t doing what they were doing. 


I wrote the book and the lyrics to a comedy musical called “Supportive White Parents” about an Asian girl who tells her parents she doesn’t want to be a doctor anymore, and when they’re disappointed, she wishes on a shooting star for supportive white parents. Eventually, she learns to love her Filipino parents for who they are. My friends Sam Johnides and Tony Gonzalez wrote the music.

The musical was inspired by my life. When I told my parents I didn’t want to be a doctor like them and take over my dad’s clinic, my dad yelled at me, called me selfish, and didn’t talk to me for 8 months. I was absolutely devastated, even though I knew that making people laugh and cry was what I had been put on this earth to do. 

I felt so jealous of my white theater classmates with their seemingly endlessly supportive white parents. And funny enough, they were jealous of me because I had something called “discipline”, played multiple instruments, and knew other languages. And thus, the seed of a musical was born.

Eventually, she learns to love her Filipino parents for who they are.

-Joy Regullano


There aren’t many Asian American musicals, let alone comedy Asian American musicals. One of my teachers says that comedy is the back door to the truth. I think that laughing at ourselves can be one of the best ways to heal, as well as realizing that we are not alone. 

We as a generation are going through this together, and also, we, as well as our parents, are the products of society and intergenerational trauma. We are all imperfect people who are trying the best we can with the tools we have. 


I love the serenity prayer. There are some things that we can change, and we should do what we can to change those things. There are some things we can’t change, and it’ll drive you crazy trying to. You can’t control other people. You can only control yourself. The sooner you can accept other people are how they are, the sooner you’ll stop giving your energy away. 

Also, one thing I learned that blew my mind is that it’s actually not love, to wish that your parents or family were different than who they are. If what I was asking from them was to love me for exactly who I am, with all my imperfections, isn’t that what I should be giving them too? Unconditional love and acceptance? (That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have boundaries – that could be a whole other article.) But accepting things you can’t change is the quickest way to sanity and peace. 

If what I was asking from them was to love me for exactly who I am, with all my imperfections, isn’t that what I should be giving them too?

-Joy Regullano

It’s a daily practice. But try it! After reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, I tried to imagine that I only had one f– to give a day. How much energy would I be saving by only getting bent out of shape over the most important things!? I’m not really good at giving only one f– a day. But I’ll keep trying.

One more thing – some people need to be angry before they move to acceptance. I know I did, and I still feel angry sometimes. Accepting yourself and your feelings is part of the process too. Wherever you are in your journey is okay.


Instagram: @supportivewhiteparents @joyregullano

Twitter: @swpmusical @joyregullano

Website: www.supportivewhiteparents.com

Be on the lookout for the upcoming Supportive White Parent concept album, to be released in January 2023, with singles leading up to it!