On this day in comedy on June 16, 1972 Actor, John Yohan Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea.
Cho grew up in Los Angeles and began acting while at the University of California, Berkeley. He got with the East West Players’ theater in downtown L.A. and appeared in several Asian films before moving into the mainstream. In the latter they were mainly background parts as Cho liked to call them; roles like “Aide #3”, “Man #1” or “The Nightclub Cleaner”. He was getting seen (in the background) and getting paid, but not getting far. Then he got a part in American Pie; that teen flick where a guy discovers the joys (and lack of drama) of screwing pastry. Suddenly Cho received cult status as “MILF Guy #2”. They made several more.
John Cho gain international status when he co-starred in the hit Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Cho swam against the stereotypical tide (which he personally despised) and played an Asian-American who unapologetically smoked weed. The part was written specifically for him and Cho loved the role of Harold because it was different than the whitewashed parts Hollywood wrote for those of Asian descent. The accent written for him in his film Big Fat Liar was so offensive Cho refused to do it and the part had to be reworked. Whereas the part of Harold just plain worked and there were several sequels.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe racial pioneering is still being made in the 21st century, but oh – it is and Cho was on the front line for male actors. Besides puffing herb and not bucking his teeth, he was the first Asian-American romantic male lead on American TV (Selfie). His other television credits include FlashForward, Off Centre, Sleepy Hollow, Kitchen Confidential, Ugly Betty, How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock. Cho’s film career was also an active one. He’s Sulu in the new Star Trek films; where he was praised by critics. He was also featured in Total Recall, Identity Thief, Grandma, Down to Earth, Evolution, Bowfinger, Better Luck Tomorrow and American Dreamz.
Cho is part of a garage rock band, Viva La Union, won the Boston Film Critics Award for Star Trek (Best Cast) and he was voted as one of the sexiest men alive by People Magazine. That last entry is here because we sometimes like to end with a joke and that’s a hot one.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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