Hustlers and grinders run the world. Jeff Bezos started Amazon on a desk he made out of two filing cabinets and an old door. Yeah, I know that story isn’t new to anyone who knows anything about Amazon.
Bezos is big, but no one grinder is probably more famous than Steve Jobs — the father of the new device-driven world (if you think its Bill Gates don’t @ me). With the rise of Jobs’ legend so rose the “cool factor” associated with the rich nerd culture that makes up the South Bay Area, Silicon Valley.
If it hasn’t clicked yet, Jimmy Yang is the Chinese wild-card app developer Jian-Yang, that moves into Erlich incubator in the hit HBO series Silicon Valley.
Queue the “Ohhhh that guy. Yeah he’s awesome.”
Yeah, he is awesome, but not for the reason you may think (probably for his hotdog identifying app).
“So yeah Jimmy Yang, cool he’s in Silicon Valley. Great.”
No, dude. That’s where he is now. Check out this guy’s resume.
Fact 1: Immigrated to U.S. with his family in 1987.
Ok, that’s no big deal. Chinese immigration was pretty common during this decade. But here’s the kicker.
I bet you can’t name five popular foreign-born actors/actresses under 35. Try it. Here’s the short list:
- Ki Hong Lee – Maze Runner franchise
- Shioli Katsuna – Deadpool 2
That’s all I could think of without trolling through IMDb and not just the cast list for Crazy Rich Asians (good movie, check it out).
As with most Asian immigrant families during this time period, they came over to provide better access to schools and opportunity for their children. Jimmy Yang’s family was no different.
The fact that Yang ended up as an actor/comedian/writer/entertainer is highly unlikely because his family did not support his career. He says as much in his tell-all book How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents.
Fact 2: Yang was once a strip club DJ.
Jimmy graduated with an economics degree from the University of California San Diego where he graduated with Mike Judge, the show-runner for Silicon Valley.
While Jimmy graduated with Judge, it wasn’t until much later that their relationship resulted in Jimmy gaining a role on his show. He would first have to grind out a few years in the cut before he would get his first break.
Yang cut his teeth on the Hollywood circuit by taking on a number of roles so random it would make Jamie Foxx do a double-take. Let’s have a look at Jimmy’s resume.
Jimmy O. Yang’s Hustle List
- Used Car Salesman
- Comedy Club Door Man
- Strip Club DJ
- Appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show
- Writer for the Harlem Globetrotters
- Video Game Voice actor
- “Person in line” on 2 Broke Girls
- “Chinese Teenager #1” on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Not exactly a hit list of major breakthroughs.
But then it came — his first “major” speaking role on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as Tang-See. Freaking hilarious. Watch the episode “Flowers for Charlie”. After that role, it was all up from there, culminating last year (2018) in an appearance on Conan.
Fact 3: Jimmy Yang is only 31.
Damn, now I feel old. Come to this country at 13, bail on your parents, grind out cash as a used car salesman and strip club DJ only to find yourself on a hit HBO series and face-to-face with Conan O’Brien.
Jimmy Yang defines hustle. If only we all could be so persistent.
Jimmy O. Yang owns the house now. Either get on board or get out.
Daniel Samarin is the operator and head blogger of Teachers of a Certain Age, a site helping teachers navigate the profession together.