There are just not enough complex roles for white men, it seems. At least not in this comedy sketch from YouTube star Anna Akana, which reverses roles in an improv comedy class. The class, made completely of Asian women, backs a white man, Brad, into a stereotypical corner every chance they get while improvising sketches.
In the first scene, an Asian woman plays a cop arresting Brad for embezzlement. He plays along.
Meanwhile, the class erupts in laughter.
Next, an Asian woman pretends to be a German citizen speaking to a Nazi officer — Brad.
Another woman calls Brad out for his character's samurai collection and his "yellow fever" — a slang term that usually applies to white men who fetishize Asian women.
And then Brad plays the role of frat boy getting a beer can crushed on his head.
Finally, Brad breaks when he is forced to play a pedophilic priest, bringing the class to a halt and asking why he's been typecast in these bad roles.
"The initiations are pretty stereotypical," Brad says. "Frat bro, embezzler, pedophile priest. I mean, I know these are the only portrayals of white men in the media, but that doesn't mean that they're all like that."
He adds, "It's just a little frustrating to not see someone who looks like me in class or on this stage. Even at the higher levels, it's all just Asian women."
To which one Asian woman responds, "Funny is funny, dude. Its not our fault that most people in improv are Asian women."
Brad responds, "Funny is also subjective. You guys have a very particular sense of humor and you're going to identify with other Asian women."
To which the Asian women respond in the class respond defensively:
"No, not racist. Maybe unconsciously biased?" Brad says.
The teacher asks everyone to "keep the politics" out of the class and let's Brad initiate the next scene. After he initiates a scene in a gym, his scene partner asks him to wrap it up because they both have places to be.
Dismayed, Brad leaves the class.
Since the tables were turned throughout the entire video, the larger point is that Brads everywhere — in the real world, Asian women and other women of color — are often discouraged from entering the comedy world because of casual racism that goes unaddressed.