Before moving to the United States from China for college, Jiaoying Summers hadn’t even heard of stand-up comedy. Since then, she’s racked up millions of fans across her social media channels, purchased two comedy clubs in LA, and toured her stand-up all over the world. So how’d she go from an aspiring actor, to the cover of Vogue and the LA Times, to anchoring OFTV’s first-ever stand-up special? It’s time to meet Jiaoying Summers: Host of LMAOF.
Aspiring Actor to Comedy Club Owner
It’s easy to see how Jiaoying has built a large following both online and in person: she’s hilarious, and has the unique ability to weave stories from her past into comedic gold. Like the time she auditioned for a John Singleton movie and instead of booking the part, she booked a lunch with him. She’s also very open about her time struggling to break into the entertainment industry as a Chinese immigrant, and how she’s dedicated to helping other “outsider” comedians find their communities.
We got to sit down with Jiaoying while she was putting on her makeup and pick her brain about everything– from her early days in comedy, to filming LMAOF, to advice she has for new comedians, and much more!
(Scroll down to view the transcript)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I just wanted to become somebody who brings other people joy. And who is popular and who is loved, and makes people happy!
How did you get your start in comedy?
I remember I auditioned for John Singleton’s [show] called Rebel. I remember I forgot a line, and I started improving. And the whole team was laughing their asses off. And John Singleton said, “You are so funny. I really like you. You should try stand-up!” And I said, “What is stand-up?”
He walked to me with his phone, showing me a clip of Ali Wong. Just like, in the middle of the audition! He said, “Look at this! You can do this! You’d be so funny!” So I tried one open mic. I bombed! It was so bad! I remember, I was walking out [and] people were like, “Somebody should not be doing comedy.” Somebody? Me. I just had a baby, and I’m pumping the milk, and I’m like “What should I do?” And then, after I bombed, I was like “You know what? I’m going to go back there and show them that I can do it.”
I work 10 hours a day, hosting an open mic, everyday. I [went] on TikTok when the lockdown came, because we closed the club. I had nothing to do, no stage. I just look at the camera, tell the jokes to the camera. I do three videos a day, even when I’m throwing up. Even when I was pregnant with [my daughter], throwing up in the toilet, still making jokes. I just kept doing it, and I pushed a million followers.
What’s it like being a comedian on OnlyFans?
If I go to New York, I have fans in New York from OnlyFans that would like to see me. Because all my fans on OnlyFans come out to see my show, my tour. Because they want to see me in person. And they just want to say “Hi” to me and have a photo, and tell me, “I am from OnlyFans, because I knew you were going to be in New York and we bought tickets to see you.”
How do you feel about sharing so much of yourself through your comedy?
I want to be very vulnerable, to talk with my fans about who I really am. So they can know that they can be anything they want because they’re better [off] than me from the beginning.
I am a fighter. And I’ll always fight for my voice, and for who I am. And as a comedian it is my job to be okay with who I am, and to be willing to share my dark, dark secrets and my past. And to be okay to make it funny.
How has it been going from a comic to a comedy club owner?
I realize that I have the power to create a community that’s giving stage time for minorities that aren’t really getting enough.
So in our shows, they can just be themselves. Because I’m an Asian woman who has this fresh-off-the-boat accent. I don’t belong here! None of us belong. That’s why we belong here.
What advice do you have for stand-ups starting their careers?
You can decide your own future, actually. Because if you have the power to be funny, and you have the power to sell tickets, you are a star.
The fans are not stupid. They are very smart. So I feel like my advice would be to put your content on social media: on TikTok, on Instagram. The good thing about OnlyFans and OFTV is that you can actually get paid.
Writing jokes, watching the classic comedians, and going to open mics. The more open mics you go to, the better you get.
What’s it going to be like to watch LMAOF?
I was talking to our producers for our comedy show. I’m like, “I would love to have a camera follow us comedians in the green room before the show. Because a lot of funny things are happening!”
When people see that, the audience are more likely to engage, to laugh at comedians more. To know what it is to be a stand-up, and how desperate creatures we are to just devote our whole lives to make people laugh. And when we are in the green room, we’re still silly and goofballs!
Tell us about the other LMAOF comics!
There’s some drama! There’s me and Aidan Park. He’s my gay husband. He’s Korean. Then we have Kate Quigley, and there’s some [playful] drama between us. Then we have Matt Rife. He’s literally the young, cute, Marlon Brando of comedy.
It’s just such an amazing show. And we are all very beautiful comedians. We’re very good-looking. For comedians, we are HOT!
Watch LMAOF: Los Angeles now on OFTV!