Marvin Yueh’s Top 5 Podcasts Hosted by Asian Americans in 2015

Marvin Yueh is the Associate Director for the Kollaboration Global Organization, Managing Editor for the Kollaboration Blog, Host/Producer of the KollabCast, and Producer of Kollaboration’s video projects. In between those responsibilities, he manages to squeeze in time for food, sleep, and the occasional trip, and yup he really did just write his own intro in third person.

It’s no secret that I love podcasts. As an Angeleno, I spend a lot of time in my car, and I’ve found that having people talk at me is a great way to pass the time. That’s part of the reason I was excited to launch the KollabCast this year, throwing my own hat into this emerging media format. Besides the KollabCast, 2015 has been a really great year for podcasts featuring Asian American hosts and it’s been great having more APA perspectives out in the world for people to consume. Here’s my top 5 (in no particular order) podcasts that I think followers of Kollaboration should check out!

1. Bullet Train


Ada Tseng, the mastermind behind the Haikus with Hotties calendar and Managing Editor of Asia Pacific Arts, hosts this fun and informational podcast that launched earlier this year. Ada provides narration on an interesting topic in Asian American pop culture, ranging from gender representation all the way to dating sims. Along the way, we hear excerpts from interviews with other subject matter and pop culture experts while Ada refuses to apologize for anything. We’re still waiting for episode 5, but if you have a few hours to kill, you can’t go wrong with this podcast.

2. What Just Happened


David Chang started as a fan of podcasts like Serial, eventually deciding to launch his own. The premise is simple. Pick a topic David wants to learn more about, and then research the crap out of it. The result is a very informative, easy to listen to podcast that leaves listeners better informed. David’s clear articulation and neutral perspective is a breath of fresh air in today’s media environment. Need a primer on the “Black Lives Matter” and California’s common core so you can sound smart at parties? Give What Just Happened a listen!

3. Drunk Monk


Re-watch podcasts, where pocasters recap already departed shows episode by episode in real time,  have started to become quite popular as streaming services have started to bulk up their TV catalog. This podcast, which recaps the Tony Shaloub neurotic detective show Monk, is hosted by improv partners Keiko Agena (of Gilmore Girls fame) and Will Choi (who had never watched Monk prior to the podcast). As the title suggests, Adult beverages are consumed in the course of recording, and hijinks ensue. You won’t need to even like Monk to listen to these two riff on each other.

4. Good Muslim Bad Muslim

The Good Muslim Bad Muslim podcast started with a hashtag conversation discussing what makes a good and bad Muslim in the eyes of society. Writer/activist Taz Ahmed and actor/comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh host this monthly podcast where they fearlessly shatter preconceptions on what a Muslim American, and specifically a Muslim American woman, can be. With some comedy, some social commentary, and a whole lot of attitude, this podcast is a refreshing look into a uniquely American story that isn’t seen much in mainstream media.

5. Explain Things to Me


Ever wonder what a professional Santas does or how some people remember stuff better than others? Internet personality Anna Akana and her partner Brad Gage host this podcast where they find an expert to explain these things to them. The result is an always fascinating conversation where listeners learn about cool stuff happening in the world of entertainment, science, art, and more from awesome and interesting people who made them their life’s work.

Honorable Mentions

Of course these aren’t the only podcasts out there hosted by Asian Americans. I’ve limited my top 5 list to Podcasts that launched this year, but there are a few other great shows in my podcatcher hosted by Asian Americans that I wanted to give a shout out to!

This is Only a Test


The official podcast of, This is Only a Test is an awesome podcast about tech, pop culture, and science hosted by Norman Chan that’s been running for 332 episodes (that’s almost 5 years). This was the second podcast that I started to listen to regularly and it’s been fascinating watching Tested go from an indie tech website to being attached to Adam Savage and Jamie Hyman of Mythbusters fame. One of the founding members, Norm Chan recently ascended from co-host to host when longtime host and co-founder Will Smith (the tech editor, not the actor) decided to leave Tested to pursue a personal startup project in VR.

Sound and Fury


The official podcast of Angry Asian Man, this is an interview-style podcast a la Marc Maron, where host Phil Yu (the eponymous Angry Asian Man) conducts a intimate one-on-one interview with esteemed members of the APA community from what one can only assume is his kitchen table. Phil’s been in the game a long time and it’s telling how much respect his guests have for him. Listen to this podcast to learn more about the man behind the blog as well as interesting stories from his amazing guests.

Pop Rocket


Pop Rocket, part of the NPR affiliated Maximum Fun network, is a podcast that brings you hot takes on current pop culture trends and news from a variety of minority perspectives. While not exactly hosted by Asian Americans, Pop Rocket features one of our community’s coolest (and smoothest) voices in Oliver Wang as one of their regular panelists. An academic, author, and DJ, Oliver brings a cool and collected persona to an otherwise fiery panel, and always seems to have the hottest of jams to contribute during their weekly “What is your Jam” segment. Host Guy Branum and the two other regular panelists Wynter Mitchell and Margaret Wappler are no slouches neither, each bringing a unique perspective from their own backgrounds and areas of expertise, and listeners are always left with a more well-rounded understanding of current pop culture issues.


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This is a shameless plug, but it’s my list so deal with it. The KollabCast, hosted by myself and Kollaboration Executive Director Christine Minji Chang, is a podcast about pop culture and social commentary from an Asian American Perspective. We talk about a wide variety of topics and it often turns out to be interesting. You should listen in sometime!


Nicole Arca’s Top 5 Moments of 2015

Nicole Arca is a writer for the Kollab Blog and current 4th year media and communications student at UC Berkeley. Originally from West Covina (in the heart of the SGV/626), Nicole has a passion for Asian American issues and a pen that spits hot fire. Check out her list of her top 5 moments in Asian America!

From institutional recognition to representation on broadcast TV, 2015 was a pretty important year for Asian Americans. But I’m hoping that my favorite FilAm artists (featured in this list) will hit the airwaves or the silver screen in 2016!


24th FPAC (Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture) at El Pueblo – At the 24th FPAC in November, tons of FilAm artists, like Odessa Kane,Karen JoyceManila Rice slayed the stage or showcased dope art. Traktivist was there spinning some beats as well! Overall, FPAC was just a really good time.


Vincent Rodriguez III in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend -Filipino American actors taking a leading role on national TV? What a time to be alive.


First School In the Nation to be Named After Filipino Heroes – A school in Union City was the first to be named after Filipino-Americans – a momentous moment for representation and institutional recognition of FilAms everywhere.


Master of None – Aziz Ansari touches on some pretty important subjects in a palatable way that makes this show super easy to binge watch.


Bambu’s The Comrade Sessions EP – Announced stealthily in the music video for his song “Comrades” (off his album Party Worker), this EP is required listening.


Lily Rugo’s Top 5 Asian American Entertainers of 2015

Our next year-end list comes from Kollab Blog Associate Editor, Lily Rugo. Lily is a 2nd year journalism student at Emerson College and a member of the Kollaboration Boston Team. As one of our youngest editors, she offers unique perspectives to the blog team. In addition to Kollaboration, she’s also been published in USA Today and the multiple Emerson publications.

In 2015, I felt that Asian Americans finally started to enter mainstream media, change the game, and take names. Fresh Off the Boat started this wave earlier this year, and I’m happy to see it spread out to new media, streaming video, books, TV and movies. This year more and more Asian American figures became everyday names and played roles that went beyond old stereotypes. Here are my top 5 rising Asian American names who helped Asian Americans break through in 2015.

5) Eugene Yang & Ashley Perez, BuzzFeed

As BuzzFeed begins to create more original videos and content, Yang and Perez have become some of the most recognizable faces for trendy videos, social causes, and more BuzzFeed content. Perez and Yang are silly, honest, and relatable and made waves in new media during 2015.

4) Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? and The Mindy Project

Releasing her second book and bringing The Mindy Project to streaming service Hulu, Kaling had a pretty great 2015. As a fan, I usually think Kaling goes unrecognized for the work she does in the entertainment industry, but in 2015 that changed. Releasing Why Not Me? played a big part in that and it’s nice to see Kaling’s rise and talent getting noticed.

3) Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Mention Master of None, and the first question is “Have you watched it?”. One of the most popular shows of the year, Master of None made news with its cast, story lines, and how it resonated with millennials. I heard so many stories about how after the second episode, “Parents,” my friends were emotional and called home. Ansari made headlines for creating a show that was much needed, and shouldn’t have taken so long to get.

2) Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead

I don’t even watch The Walking Dead, yet I knew that something huge had gone down when fans thought Yeun’s Glenn Rhee died. From AngryAsianMan to the New York Times, the show’s plot twist made headlines and spoke to how important Yeun’s character was to the show and its audience.

1) Constance Wu & Randall Park, Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat’s debut earlier year created a lot of buzz and kicked off 2015 as the year for breakout Asian American talent. Despite some controversy and tweaks in the first season, I think the show’s second season really established its presence on TV. The kids of Fresh Off the BoatHudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, and Ian Chen— all do great work on the show, but for me it’s Wu and Park who complete it. Now Park and Wu are up for Critics’ Choice Awards, working the late night circuit, and on the cover of magazines. Only on the up and up from here, I hope Fresh Off the Boat is around to stay.

2015 was a big year for Asian Americans, entering the mainstream online, on TV, in movies, and more. Hopefully this momentum won’t stop and only grows until names like these become part of the norm.


Lauren Lola’s Top 5 Positive Moments of 2015

This year, the Kollab Blog is closing out the year by asking our editors (and a few friends) to call out 5 things they’d like to recognize in the landscape of Asian America. Our first list comes from our Associate Editor, Lauren Lola, a writer and novelist based out of California’s Bay Area.

2015 oversaw an increase in better representation of Asians and Asian Americans in the mainstream media. At the same time, we also had a turnout of viral videos and momentous happenings that weren’t scripted in advanced or, at the very least, expected. With the year drawing to a close, in no particular order, let’s look back on the top 5 positive moments of 2015.

1. The 6-year-old girl who drops some wisdom for recently divorced mom.

If this little girl ever decides to run for president one day, she already has my vote. In the wake of her parents’ divorce, she sits her mom down for a very serious talk about how she wants her and her dad to be friends and how she simply wants everyone to get along and smile. This girl defies what it means to be a peacekeeper and the 7 million views this video has since received can only encourage the likelihood that many viewers agree.

2. Two fans ask J.J. Abrams about potential Star Wars Asian characters at Comic-Con panel.

Ever since the first teaser trailer dropped last year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become one of the most anticipated films of the year. Naturally, the franchise would be featured at this past summer’s San Diego Comic-Con and as one would at these panels, questions of high anticipation would be asked. Two fans came up to the mic at one point and rather than prodding George Lucas’s replacement for what he can reveal, they instead addressed the very prevalent issue about diversity in movies and asked if we can anticipate Asian characters in the film at all.

3. 5-year-old boy reenacts Bruce Lee nunchuck scene from The Game of Death.

If Bruce Lee were still alive today, then this kid may as well have him on a run for his money. With The Game of Death playing in the background, complete with Lee’s iconic yellow jumpsuit, the boy performs the nunchuck scene from the film, in perfectly precise precision. The video has gotten over 9 million views since first being posted in May and if you see it, you’ll see why. The boy’s got SKILLS!


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4. Ruthie Ann Miles accepts Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

At the 69th Annual Tony Awards, the revival of Roger and Hammerstein’s The King and I brought in four wins that night; one of which went to Broadway newbie Ruthie Ann Miles for her role as Lady Thiang. Evidently moved to have won, she turns to her iPhone (“Please recycle”) as she reads out in a shaky voice her witty acceptance speech and thanks the people who have helped her get to this point in her career. It’s rare to see Asian and Asian American actors on Broadway, and so to see one other than Lea Salonga win a Tony was remarkable to see.

5. “They might have guns, but we have flowers.”

The world was blatantly shocked when the terror attacks in Paris took place in November. Within the days following, flowers and candles appeared near the places where the shootings took place, including outside the Bataclan Theatre. In a moment captured by Le Petit Journal, a father tells his young son that there’s no need to move away because France is their home, and despite the violence brought upon them, love will always prevail. This guy definitely wins Father of the Year in my book, for what he said brought forth a light in darkness.


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