Yumi Nagashima—Pure Anticipation
Discover the rising stand-up comedian's unique style and touring experiences.
For International Women’s Day, we had the privilege of talking to the three Queens of Asia Comedy. We got to know about how they’re getting back to what they do best—spreading joy — and how they bring a piece of home wherever they go. This is part three of three interviews. You can also read our conversations with Aditi Mittal and Joanne Kam too.
How can one talk about sex? Talking about sex does feel like actual sex (unless you’re that talented). You’re always toeing the line, not knowing what will work. But when Yumi Nagashima takes the stage, she lets you sit in the anticipation of it all. As a stand-up comedian, she describes her own comedy style as ‘intimate, dry and a little dark’. She revels in the tension from noticing the things we don’t really want to think about. She plays with your expectations, your anticipation for the punchline.
But, what’s the weirdest thing that happens to her when she gets back on tour? She could enter Singapore without a visa. What else is new as she gets back to touring? Find out more below.
*The conversation below has been edited for clarity.
I was viewing some of your sets, and I listened to your comedy album ‘My Name is Yumi’. So, in your opinion: which country has the best white men?
“It’s not a country but the restaurant called “White Spot” near my house does.”
So let’s get into it—Why did you choose to tour and travel as a comedian?
“I love traveling and learning about the world! International comedians are the coolest!”
What was it like to make Vancouver your home as an expat? What was the biggest challenge?
“I talk about this in my jokes too, but Vancouver is very progressive and it has a much better society for women than Japan does. It’s been more healing than challenging.”
How did you start touring? What type of traveller do you think you are?
“When my YouTube video went viral I started to get invitations to perform all over the world. I’m pretty skilled at travelling. I travel with style!”
What are some of the weirdest or most unexpected things that have happened to you while on tour, and how did you handle those situations?
“When I entered Singapore without any visa I felt weird! I was like, ‘Are you sure?'”
What are some of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced while on tour, and how have those moments impacted your comedy and career?
“The most rewarding moment is when I eat local food with local comedians. This does inspire me to write more food jokes.”
How has touring changed the way you see the world, and yourself?
“I learned how to let go of control and be more present!”
What are the 3 things you must bring when you go on a tour that reminds you of home?
“Pj’s I wear at home, my favourite face wash, and vitamins I take every day.”
About the Writer: Benedict Lim
As the resident punmaker, Benedict is really bad at making people laugh. They’re much better at diving into the nuances of the things they write about.
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