photo via AikoTanaka.com/Gallery
I like Aiko Tanaka because she doesn’t care if you think she’s weird. She does, however, care about clicking with her audience. She also cares about her niece and nephew, for whom she wrote a children’s book. Aiko Tanaka doesn’t care what you think, but not so much so that she can’t make digestible, cut-and-dry comedy.
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Natalie Durkin (TribeLA Magazine): Give yourself and your work a tagline and tell us why.
Aiko Tanaka: I am not a threat and I like making people giggle.
ND: What got you started in comedy? What is the reason you are here today?
AT: All my friends were telling that I am weird and I should do stand up. The reason why I am here is that I know that not everyone is [a] confident leader; some people struggle with insecurity – or whatever – and hopefully my existence will help them to go ahead and do what they really want to do despite their weaknesses.
ND: How do you hope to influence your audience?
AT: Answer above.
ND: What do you do when your creativity is blocked?
AT: I make art; try [to make] blood flow to my brain.
ND: What fires you up and gives you energy?
AT: Coffee, cleaning, people telling me that I am great( I know it is shallow but that is the truth)
ND: Can you tell us a little known fact?
AT: I don’t really like to touch door knobs.
ND: Where is your favorite place in Los Angeles and why?
AT: I like staying home.
I hope my answers are not too wild.
ND: Where is your favorite comedy club to perform?
AT: I like performing anywhere. I especially like the [places that are] honest and open and a little bit on the weird side.
ND: Do you engage in other art forms? What mediums of art inspire you?
AT: Thank you for asking.
I love making art and I like writing children’s books for [my] niece and nephew.
I just wrote a book called adventure of panda bear in Africa. I really liked it. My nephew complained that panda bear never went to visit Africa. I told him, ‘don’t judge a book by a cover’. It is more like satisfying for myself but, mostly, all my art is that way. I make things that makes me happy and I chase that.
ND: How do you make comedy? Briefly chronicle your creative process.
AT: I am actually not so great at it, I feel like.
I love performing, though. I wish comedy was me just standing and not talking. At the same time, when I can click with the audience, it is an amazing feeling.
Usually, I just talk to my friends and, if they laugh, I try to bring it to the stage. Some hits, some misses.
ND: What is the best advice you’ve received and the best advice you can impart onto us?
AT: Don’t worry about what anyone else says and stick to your gut.
ND: Any closing words?
AT: Thank you for your questions and I hope this was not too weird but at the same time that is what I aim for.