Actor And Comedian Michael Yo Predicts Las Vegas To Become The New Hollywood In This Exclusive Interview
Comedian and actor Michael Yo performing
Actor and comedian Michael Yo moved to Las Vegas, Nev. from Los Angeles, Calif. 2 years ago and according to him, his career and life have never been better since his relocation. With major streaming services including Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ showcasing his stand-up specials I Never Thought (2022) and Michael Yo: Blasian (2018) as well as the television series Amber Brown in which he stars, the future for this Las Vegas celebrity is looking especially bright as his national and international exposure continues to grow.
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Yo becomes more deeply involved with the Las Vegas community and his fan base broadens while his presence in the city expands. Nightly stand-up performances at the Comedy Cellar and sell-out shows at Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club keep Yo at peak performance. He shared more regarding his entertainment career, life in Las Vegas and how the city is becoming the new Hollywood.
Q: I am so glad we got to connect at Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club after your show. Your set was so funny! How has life in Las Vegas been treating you and your family since the move?
A: Oh! For two years we have been here and we absolutely love it! I love how family-oriented it is believe it or not. There's so many parks and the people we meet here are very nice. It's very normal compared to L.A.
I'm in the industry—some hosting, acting and stand-up. Everybody talks about the same thing [in Los Angeles, Calif.] It's like if everyone at a restaurant wanted to be the GM.
Here, I get done with an audition and people don't care so much, it's more about family here. [In L.A.] everyone's invested in the industry and that's why they live there and it's all that's [talked about.]
I am so glad people have a misconception about Las Vegas. I'm happy about that because it won't get overcrowded. When you say Vegas to people they think of the Strip.
Q: Were you surprised by the family-oriented aspect?
A: Las Vegas you think about the Strip but 20 minutes away from the Strip it almost looks like Denver. I had no idea that this side of Las Vegas was available.
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My wife and I got married on Valentine's Day. On our anniversary coming up we are going to go watch a show, have dinner and come home. That's what's so awesome about Vegas.
We are going on seven years now; we met nine years ago. Two years after that we got married and now we have a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.
Actor and comedian Michael Yo
Q: How has the relocation been for your career?
A: Amazing! Everything in Vegas is amazing! I get to practice at Comedy Cellar every night. It's a world-famous comedy club out of New York and I am lucky enough where I live here and they have me every night.
They pay you here [in Las Vegas] as an entertainer and in L.A...[not quite.] Everything is working out so beautifully here...The opportunity is just massive! It’s the best! I’m a lifer now.
I know so many people that are about to move out here within the next year. Like Mark Walbergh made it here last year. I hope we can make it like L.A.—the entertainment portion, not the people.
Q: Do you return to Los Angeles often?
A: What I love is I'm close enough to L.A. I'm shooting this show in L.A. that I can't announce [just yet]. I fly there, shoot four episodes and fly back home.
Q: How have the Vegas comedy audiences been for you? Any noticeable differences with the Vegas audiences as opposed to other cities you perform?
A: It's completely different. Your comedy has to be much broader to perform in Vegas because you are appealing to an audience from all over the world. It makes you solid in your comedy that it's funny for everyone because you have different countries and states.
It's made me a better comic. If you can make it in Las Vegas with comedy you can make it anywhere. You've got tons of red, tons of blue.
Anyone I watch at Comedy Club it's like you can go anywhere. You can be funny in Los Angeles and New York but are you funny in Alabama or those fly over states?
Q: What has been one of the most exciting points in your entertainment career so far?
A: My comedy special I Never Thought. I am so proud of the comedy special. In March it will be a year since it came out. People are recognizing me everywhere.
Q: Yes, I recognized some of the material from that comedy special during your Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club set like the bit about your dad and your mom. What are some of your favorite bits to revisit from that special?
A: In every show I have to do the dad pointing finger joke. People recognize their favorite parts of the comedy special during my sets and it's great. You heard a lot of the new jokes that night too!
That "[Men] don't make women better" skit is so fun! The women in the audience don't applaud at first because they're sitting right next to [their man.] But then as the joke progresses the women in the audience realize I am on their side and they can't stop laughing.
Michael Yo laughs with his audience.
Q: Can you share your creative process for coming up with new material?
A: It's a lot like you with your writing. It starts with an idea, interview, write then print. Mine starts with an idea, to a funny line and then to the next funny line. It can be stressful sometimes because I always got to come up with new stuff but my comedy is about my life and life happens everyday. It's easy to come up with material, I just have to keep my eyes and ears open for it.
Q: I see you on Apple TV+ with Amber Brown, such a cute adaptation! I loved reading the book series when I was a kid. Can you tell me more about how filming that has been for you?
A: First of all, let me tell you something. This show is not about race at all but it's so great to be a part of this show because when I was growing up you didn't see mixed race couples on the TV. To be part of a show that's so positive on Apple is incredible!
Bonnie Hunt produced, wrote and directed it. You've got Carsyn Rose that plays Amber Brown...I tell you Carsyn is going to be big, she is going to blow up! The cast is so good which is great.
Bonnie did this on purpose—Sarah, my ex-wife in the show has a new fiance but she still has feelings for [my character]. Bonnie made both guys very likable. It's so great because both guys aren't bad. You don't have to make somebody bad. You can have some good people in your life but still have to make a hard decision.
What I'm excited about is fingers crossed for a 2nd and 3rd season. Does Sarah Drew, my ex-wife in the show, go with me or go with the fiance? We don’t even know! We don't know which direction it's going because basically Bonnie Hunt writes week to week. She’ll actually watch that week of shooting and say, "Oh, maybe I should take the character like this."
Q: Do you miss the cast and crew when you are not on set?
A: I used to interview celebrities and they would be like, “We’re family" and it's like come on, eye roll. I'd be thinking, "Aw that's BS" but we are still in touch and so close. It was like a master class to be on set with [such talented people.]
Q: Well I am so happy for you that life in Las Vegas is going so well! With Vegas being such a culinary mecca, I have to ask, what are some of your favorite dining spots to visit here?
A: Our favorite restaurant because we lived in Miami is Joe's Stone Crab. My wife loves crab and I love the stone crab, the hashbrowns and the green tomatoes.
It's the best! It's our favorite. We aren't going as often now because of the kids but hopefully soon.
My wife [and I] went to The Palms for the buffet crab. We [were] there for the whole hour and half throwing down. Anything that has to do with seafood is definitely [my wife and I.]
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I'm still looking for a burger place because I love gourmet burgers. Because we are just out of the pandemic, just 6 months, we didn't get to try a whole lot when we moved here. I'm not a bar person so it's more like burgers and pizza for me.
My wife loves the Mexican restaurant in Resorts World Las Vegas...Viva baby, yes yes yes! Man, let me tell you.
For family time, when we have the kids, it's Flaming Fajitas. The food is so good. They bring out the fajitas with the whole fire and everything so the kids are like, "Woah!"
I eat pretty healthy. I only spend money on dinner for special occasions. I'm really a Skinny Fats person. I'll grab a salad or a curry. That’s how I eat on the daily but if I go out with the fam it's the other spots.
Q: Any other exciting new things on the horizon in addition to hopefully another season of Amber Brown and the super secret project you are filming right now that you can't share with us just yet?
A: We are pitching a sitcom in September so we are super excited about that. Fingers crossed! We are making it happen! Stay hungry.
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Photography by: Courtesy of Michael Yo