YouTube personalities The Fung Bros celebrate a night of Asian culture at Northwestern


Jeffrey Wang/The Daily Northwestern

David and Andrew Fung crouch down to take a selfie with Northwestern students. The Fung Bros, a comedic YouTube duo, arrived at Northwestern Friday for a night of jokes and Asian culture.

Alice Yin, Development and Recruitment Editor

YouTube celebrities The Fung Bros visited Northwestern on Friday to perform a comedy routine steeped in Asian culture.

The two siblings, Andrew Fung and David Fung, run a YouTube channel that has more than 820,000 subscribers and almost 83 million views. Their videos blend themes of Asian-American identity, hip-hop and food with a comedic twist.

Taiwanese American Students Club and Asian-interest fraternity Pi Alpha Phi hosted the celebrities for their annual Spring Speaker, which more than 100 people attended. The pair maintained their light-hearted personality as they interacted with the audience, chatting about aspects of Asian-American life.

At the event in Fisk Hall, the duo drew upon their life stories of growing up with Asian immigrant parents. They also played on Asian stereotypes, such as being nerdy, good at bargaining prices and not being interested in sports.

“When I told our dad we were performing at Northwestern, he said, ‘Why do you want to perform at Northwestern? You should want to attend Northwestern,’” David Fung said on stage.

The Fung Bros’ videos, such as “Things Asian Parents Do” and “Bobalife,” often plumb the complexity of the Asian label while also poking fun at common stereotypes.

“We say some things that definitely people would not approve of in that field, but we just do it in our style and we’re glad that we can make it accessible to people,” David Fung told The Daily. “I just think it’s a really interesting point to be Asian in America right now … your guys’ generation is really thinking about these issues and taking them seriously.”

SESP freshman Michelle Lee attended the event and said The Fung Bros “speak about Asian culture before other people can speak about our culture.”

“They try to say things before others can categorize us,” Lee said. “It’s things you already know, but you identify with the culture and you agree with the things in their videos so that’s mostly why I watch them and find them entertaining.”

In the middle of the event, the pair tossed out Asian snacks, to much cheering from the audience. Students whooped while trying to catch Hi-Chews, packaged seaweed, Szechuan peanuts and other emblems of an Asian-American childhood.

“How many of you feel deprived of Asian snacks?” David Fung asked.

Students continued cheering as the Fungs surveyed the crowd and gave shout-outs to the various academic majors, ethnicities and other groups in the room. The YouTube personalities also brought audience members on stage for contests in dancing, basketball dribbling and singing, which featured a range of songs from Beyonce to Chinese ballads.

The two brothers are currently set to debut “What the Fung?,” a show featuring the duo’s travels across America while sampling various cuisines. The show will start next month on A&E Networks’ FYI Network. David Fung said he’s excited for the show because Asians have long been underrepresented in mainstream media.

Andrew Fung said he’s happy to hear that the first discussion of Asian-American identity for viewers sometimes stems from their videos on the issue, and that the conversation is growing.

“It’s getting better every year,” Andrew Fung told The Daily. “Being Asian is different today than 15 years ago … Asian people in general are having a moment. I hope the moment lasts a long time.”

McCormick junior Austen Bhayani, TASC president, said the event, which was planned about a month in advance, drew its appeal from the Fung brothers’ focus on retaining one’s culture.

“They do fun and comedy but they have this underlying base and this serious tone underneath about a message toward young Asian-Americans,” Bhayani said. “They’re so proud of our Asian culture and heritage in this ever-globalizing world and that appealed to us.”

To close the show before a Q&A session, the brothers invited the crowd to huddle near the stage as they handed out more freebies, including boba milk tea, while rapping along to their original songs, “Asians Eat Weird Things” and “626.”

“I would say more than ever Asian-Americans can be proud to be Asian, but in a more broad, educated way,” Andrew Fung told The Daily.

The story was updated April 27 at 12:03 a.m. to reflect Daily style.

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Twitter: @alice__yin