Interview! Esther Ku reflects on Last Comic Standing

To all of the thousands of you who have reached my site looking for information about Esther Ku, thank you. For those of you who got here via the Google search terms "Esther Ku naked," shame on you. Although I can tell you that I have seen Esther Ku with her pants off, and, um, what? Yes. Really. Ku wanted me to remind you that we did not fornicate. Oh, no. Just another night in a Pan 9 afterparty in the Boston not-so-suburb of Allston. Truth be told, someone spilled wine on Ku’s white pants, and since we were in a house with a functioning washer and dryer, I helped clean things up, and in the meantime, Ku tried to cover up with paper towels. So, so cute. You guys are perverts! No, really. You are. Anyhow. Ku got voted off the Last Comic Standing finals on Thursday night’s episode on NBC, and Ku was relieved to finally be able to talk about what happened. She even held a viewing party at a friend’s house in New York City, with she being the only person who knew that would be her last show on NBC (though she says all of the finalists will return for at least one show once live episodes resume in August).

This is a funny picture of me and Ku outside the Abbey Lounge in Somerville, Mass., in 2006, when Ku opened for Doug Stanhope and performed for a crowd that couldn’t possibly be offended by anything she’d say — and two years ago, her act was much racier than anything you saw on TV. Plus, back then, she sold pens as a day job. How many people could say that? Notice how Judi Brown-Marmel somehow isn’t quite as excited to be in this picture. Fun times.
So. Let’s get to the interview portion of this post.

already know all about your laugh. Do you think, though, that perhaps
you should have warned your fellow stand-ups about it before living
together? Did you warn them or try to explain it so they wouldn’t turn
on you like they did?

Usually my friends perform the duty of
warning newcomers about the Ku laugh so warning them of my laugh never
occurred to me. Do you think I should’ve brought ear plugs for my
roommate? Maybe that’s what I should have spent my per diem on instead
of a curling iron from Planet Beauty. I just wanted to look nice on TV
because usually I am very dirty and sometimes don’t shower being going
to work.  I don’t understand how the comedians in the house don’t enjoy
hearing laughter. The immediate goal of every comedian is to garner
laughs isn’t it? I think this is the greatest paradox of any reality
show yet! The twelve funniest comedians gathered in one house – they
hate laughter! bahahahaha! They’re totally going to miss me!

How surprised were you that Iliza voted against you?

was shocked to see Iliza vote against me!! I felt betrayed.  I should
have known she would turn on me when she converted our dollhouse into
her personal dresser even though we had an entire closet in the bedroom
and another in the hallway. I think she just didn’t like seeing me
having fun. I was planning on having tea time with Paul Foot with the
miniature tea set in the dollhouse. I would’ve felt like I was having
tea in the Hollywood Hills with the lovechild of Willy Wonka and Mr.
Bean. And that would’ve been so cool!!! I would have been in heaven.

that why you picked her for the showdown? And why did you pick God’s
Pottery? If you had it to do over again, would you have chosen
different comics for the live face-off?
Yes that is why I picked her for
the showdown. She had been a cool roommate up until I saw what she did
behind my back. I don’t think we realized they were going to air the
videos that night. I picked God’s Pottery because they reminded me of
the creepy pedophiles who used to live in my parents’ basement growing
up. I was surrounded by perverts that looked and acted just like God’s
Pottery. They would proclaim their devotion to the church but really
they were huge perverts with an Asian fetish. I grew up in a very
bizzare environment – it was like an AA with Jesus. So their presence
in the house made the last comic standing house a haunted house for me.
I am happy with the choices I made! I figured that so long as Iliza was
in the house, I didn’t want to be there. And there was no chance that
God’s Pottery would have won. So with my strategy – whatever the outcome
– I could resume to doing what comedians do best during the day – tap
my own keg. I just wanted privacy to play with myself.  I’m not
surprised that Iliza won. Jews have a longer comedy history than
Asians. Asians have only recently been getting funny. People are still
getting used to it. I think Iliza Sheslinger is Jewish. I don’t know.
I can’t tell them apart from regular people. I grew up in the Midwest! If I had picked Louis Ramey and Iliza, then Iliza and I would have
gone home. And that would have sucked because no body wants to watch a
house full of dudes. I mean Iliza is really hot! So at least the show
will still get ratings.

Do you have any funny stories from the whole experience (not just last night) that didn’t make it on camera?

was weird actually living in the house. I would wake up and there are
eleven other comedians eating breakfast with me. I’m used to seeing
comedians only at night after it’s already dark out. I know things
about these comedians that most the world does not. Like what their poo
smells like.  Aren’t you jealous! So come out to your local comedy club
and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to stand nearby when they fart. And
then you’ll know how I felt and understand why getting kicked out of
the house was more of a triumph for me. I don’t want your pity! Pity
…it’s such a waste of emotion.

It’s still early, but how has being on primetime network television changed your career?

Being on primetime network might not have been so
good. People keep calling me Esther which sucks because you know from
Boston that I prefer to go by ‘Ku’.  I’ve been called Ku since high
school. And I have friends who called me up and said they never knew Ku
wasn’t my first name. But I couldn’t just go by one name. I mean who do
I think I am?
Oh and I’ve been getting tons of requests to sell a
ringtone of my laugh! That is such a good idea. One time in high
school, I recorded my laugh onto all the macs in the computer lab so
that when you made a mistake, I was laughing at you. It drove my
teachers crazy.

Do you feel like NBC portrayed you fairly? How much do you think
participating in NBC’s Stand-Up for Diversity helped prepare you, or
even simply helped you with the network?

I think NBC gave an accurate depiction of all of us. I
didn’t see any of the people from the diversity show at last comic
standing. It is such a huge company, I don’t think all the
departments talk to each other.
do you have to say to all of your new fans, as well as to people who
now don’t like you (what’s that like, anyhow)? I know you held live
chats on your site. How did those go? And there seems to be quite a
reaction from Korean-Americans. What do you make of that?
To all my new fans – Thank you for letting me
bring laughter into your homes, dorms, wherever you are. Thanks for all
the invitations to dinner you guys emailed me!!!  Maybe they can mail
in gift certificates to restaurants, there’s kind of a long list. Or
should I do a raffle?
In addition to a new fan base, I now have people
who don’t like me.  Oh, I am very used to that!  I was made fun of as a
kid for asking my classmates to Bible Study. I think if you can handle
being called a goat-burning cult member at age 8, then people not
laughing at your jokes seems like a breeze. 
Chatting live with my fans was fun. I want to
apologize to all those who couldn’t get on. A few hundred got turned
away due to my server thinking they were spammers.

I know some Korean-Americans are reacting
negatively to my comedy. And to them, I want to tell them to stop! They
are embarrassing me. By getting angry about my jokes reinforces the
stereotype that Asians don’t have a sense of humor. It’s comedy!  The
goal of the material I did on LCS was to parody people’s notions of
these antiquated beliefs – not espouse them.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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9 thoughts on “Interview! Esther Ku reflects on Last Comic Standing

  1. Hey,
    “I’m not surprised that Iliza won. Jews have a longer comedy history than Asians. Asians have only recently been getting funny. People are still getting used to it. I think Iliza Sheslinger is Jewish. I don’t know. I can’t tell them apart from regular people.”
    I’m not sure if she meant that as funny, but it reads funny…or at least bizarre.
    Rock On,

  2. Ok, so God’s Pottery is parodying Christians, and so therefore they are “perverts”? And she doesn’t know if Iliza S is Jewish because she “can’t tell them apart from regular people”??
    Ku, you’re an ignorant a**hole and you offend me. I’m glad you’re gone.

  3. I don’t understand why God’s Pottery acting Christian makes them perverts? Is that a joke, or is she really that dumb?? If she’s serious, she offends me more than God’s Pottery’s act ever could.

  4. I think Ku’s jokes about Asain speach is hirarious! JK, I think it’s ethnic hack. But clearly it’s about a product and that’s what the entertainment industry is today. Can Britney sing? No but she’s a good product. Can Haden Christianson act? Not really, but he’s marketable. Are jokes about Asian stereotypes that have been a zillion times funny? You decide.

  5. To Dave and Michelle,
    God’s Pottery reminded her of specific people she once knew who happened to be Christian.
    Sounds like she actually chose them because they reminded her of pedophiles.

  6. yeah, and if she smoked up in a room full of white people, she’d be a tokin’ minority. haha

  7. I don’t get it. If are Asian and find Ku’s joke offensive, it re-inforced the stereotype that Asian are not funny? To whom?
    Are Asians suppose to be silent to pander to white’s stereotypes of Asians. Obviously, Asian can be funny, because Asian have their own sense of humor – otherwise there wouldn’t be any comedy section in Asia.
    For Esther to say that Asian needs to lighten up and understand that it is a just a “joke” sounds like a white people telling people minority shouldn’t be so sensitive. It speaks to the kind of audience Ku wants – all white.

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