GS: What are your career goals for the next five years?
HC: My ultimate goal is to be in a position to produce family quality films
and television. I'm tired of having to mute or turn off the TV because my 3 1/2
year old is in there. I'm not talking about cable, I'm talking about network
programming in the early evening. I can't have my kid watching the stuff they
put out there. In Hollywood there are no scruples, we all know that. When there
is some gratuitous language on some 8 p.m. sitcom I'll ask the producer or
someone of authority and they always say, "That's American television." I say
that's not the way it was when I grew up and it reflects our society as a whole.
If I have to be the creator/writer/producer/star to make the initial show
happen so be it, then I can get into position to do the types of projects I've
dreamed about, the whole reason I got into this silly business to begin with.
GS: Has standup comedy lived up to your original vision of the career you were seeking?
HC: My standup career has blown me away. We all have great expectations going in, most don't pan out. A pinnacle for a comic is doing network TV. I've done the Tonight Show many times, Arsenio Hall back in his heyday. I hosted NBC's Friday Nite Videos for 2 years. I've performed for Bob Hope and the leaders of our country. I think the most amazing thing is, by doing standup I've got to also pursue another passion I have... golf. I've played with many top Tour players and I"ve played probably 70% of the top courses here and abroad. I've played Augusta National, home of the Masters, twice...only because I've done standup. Toiling on the road all those years, all those miles, all those good and lousy clubs has been a great life.
I've been dearly blessed that I can pick and choose where and when I want to work. Not many comedians can say that and I'm very lucky. I know that. My career so far has been wonderful. If I had to
quit now, sure hope not, but if I had to I could hang it up and feel really proud of my accomplishments. To be a comedian you have to have a certain amount of confidence, but you also have to be a realist. I couldn't fathom the things
I've done and seen due to standup. Nothing like getting paid to travel the
country and play golf all day and tell jokes at night. It's the best gig if you're fortunate, and I am.
GS: What role has race played in your career as a standup comic?
HC: Being Corean has separated me from most comedians in a positive way. Being from the south has separated me from all the Asian comics... and there aren't that many of them to begin with. My race has been the biggest asset as a comic.
As an actor it's been beneficial, but also a liability. Roles for Asian men are
few and far between for a guy like me who refuses to do any stereotypical
roles. Over half of the roles I played were written for a white guy and the
others were rewritten or originally written just for me. As far as comedy though, being Asian and from Tennessee is the best hook since Rodney
Dangerfield. That's been said by many people in the industry.
GS: How has having a family affected your career focus?
HC: My family is number one in my life. I'll blow off writing or just about
anything to make sure I take my son to preschool or watch him at his swimming
lesson. My managers and agents know this so it's never a conflict, it's a no
brainer for me. I know I'll miss out on things occasionally due to shows out of
town. I still have to pay the bills and put food on the table, but if at all
possible I stay at home as often as I can. Even turning down work that pops up if I've just returned from a 2 or 3 day trip. I waited a long time to have my own family and I know the sacrifices that must be made to raise good human beings.
My own family life wasn't the best. My parents did their best I guess, but it
wasn't the greatest. I strive to make our homelife the best so my children
and my wife won't have to make comments like that later in life. When I have to
focus to write for certain projects or shows I make my office at home like an
office away from home. The door is shut and I'll have office hours, 2 hours
at a time. Of course if one of my boys needs me, I can easily drop what I'm
doing to help explain something or change a diaper. We eat dinner at our table
around the same time every day so we can have as stable of a life as we can in
my profession. My family is more important than any movie, sitcom, or gig. If I
was good at anything else I may try that if I thought it would help our
family life, but our life is really good and I happen to believe that doing what I do is the best way to secure my family's financial future.